New Delhi: India summoned Monday the Pakistan charge d’affaires (CDA) and lodged a strong protest to him. This is regarding the reported arrest of two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Pakistani media had earlier reported that two Indian staffers, who went missing Monday morning, were arrested by Pakistani authorities. They have been booked for their alleged involvement in a ‘hit and run accident’.
Official sources said the Pakistan charge d’affaires (CDA) was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs. A demarche was issued to him over the reported arrest of the two officials.
In the demarche, it was made clear to the Pakistani CDA that there should be no interrogation or harassment of the Indian officials. The responsibility for their safety and security lay squarely with the Pakistani authorities.
The sources said the Pakistan side was asked to return the two officials along with the official car to the High Commission immediately.
In the morning, the two staffers in Islamabad went missing. Once the news surfaced India took up the matter with the Pakistan Foreign Office. The two staffers went out of the High Commission in a vehicle for official duty at around 8.30am (IST). However, they did not reach their destination, the sources said.
The incident comes two weeks after India expelled two Pakistan High Commission officials here on charges of espionage. India had declared Abid Hussain and Muhammad Tahir as ‘persona non grata’. This was after they were found obtaining sensitive documents relating to movement of Indian Army troops from an Indian national.
Following their expulsion, Pakistani agencies started harassing a number of Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad. Among the officials harassed were charge d’affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia.
Ahluwalia’s car was aggressively tailed by Pakistani agencies on at least two occasions. India then had lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan Foreign Office.
After the expulsion of the two Pakistani officials, it was expected that Pakistan would also resort to a tit-for-tat response. , going by similar episodes in the past.
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