2 ‘missing’ Indian staffers released by Pakistan, have visible injuries: Official

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COURTESY BY: https://www.hindustantimes.com/

Two Indian high commission staffers who went missing on Monday morning have been handed over at Islamabad’s secretariat police station, barely 2 km from the Indian mission. The two staffers have visible injury marks, people familiar with the development told Hindustan Times.

They were handed over to two Indian high commission officials who had gone to Islamabad’s Secretariat police station to take their custody. The two staffers, who had gone missing soon after they stepped out of the high commission on Monday morning, shall undergo a medical examination to confirm that they are well and record their visible injuries.

Pakistan had claimed, nearly seven hours after the two staffers had gone missing, that they had been arrested in a “hit and run” road accident case.

For most of Monday, Pakistan’s foreign office and its diplomats in the Indian capital told New Delhi that they were “looking into the matter”.

The claim that the embassy staffers – a driver and a Central Industrial Security Force personnel – had been detained in a road accident case was reported in the Pakistani media several hours later. Quoting police sources, Pakistan’s SAMAA TV said the high commission car had been involved in a road accident and the two occupants were caught by the public when they were trying to get away.

It is after reports in Pakistani media on these lines emerged that New Delhi decided to summon Pakistan’s charge d’affaires Syed Haider Shah to the external affairs ministry and reminded him that it was the responsibility of the government of Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of the diplomatic mission’s personnel.

Haider Shah was also told that there should be no interrogation or harassment of the Indian officials.

“The Pakistani side was asked to return the two officials along with the official car to the High Commission immediately,” a government source said.

Indian officials said the sequence of events that led to the arrest of the two staffers would be available only after their de-briefing. “We will then also know if they were mistreated by Pakistani security officials,” one official said, adding that prima facie, the staffers appear to have been assaulted.

The detention of the two staffers is seen as a retaliation for the expulsion of two officials posted at Pakistan’s high commission in Delhi on a charge of espionage a fortnight back. The three Pakistan high commission staffers were caught in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh market for trying to procure classified information relating to the movement of army troops.

Already, Pakistan’s security personnel had been harassing and obstructing Indian diplomats in Islamabad from discharging their duties after the expulsion of its staffers for espionage. Pakistani security and intelligence personnel have been aggressively tailing vehicles of Indian diplomats including chargé d’affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia, and behaving in an intimidating manner outside their residences in Islamabad.

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