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Representative image (Photo: HT)
Representative image (Photo: HT)

Two Indian High Commission officials allegedly detained by Pakistan in Islamabad released

The two staffers had been involved in a road accident, said Pakistani authorities who were quoted by Indian officials

NEW DELHI: Two Indian High Commission officials, who had gone missing early Monday while on official work in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, have returned to the Indian High Commission (embassy), a person familiar with the development said.

The two staffers had been involved in a road accident, said Pakistani authorities who were quoted by Indian officials.

News reports said that the two had injury marks and it seemed that they had been assaulted.

India suspects that the two missing men were in the custody of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).

The release of the two comes after India lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi. New Delhi summoned the Pakistani charge d’affaires (CDA) Syed Haider Shah to lodge the protest, the person cited above said.

“The demarche to the Pakistan CDA made clear that there should be no interrogation or harassment of the Indian officials. The responsibility for the safety and security of the concerned diplomatic personnel lay squarely with the Pakistani authorities," the person said.

“The Pakistan side was asked to return the two officials along with the official car to the High Commission immediately," the person added.

The incident comes weeks after two Pakistani officials at the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi were accused of espionage and deported. The two worked in the visa section in Delhi and were allegedly caught in the act of spying. One was posted at the Pakistani mission in December 2018, while the second has been at the mission since October 2015.

In recent days, several Indian diplomats in Pakistan have been aggressively tailed by men on motorcycles in Islamabad. The official car of India's Charge d'affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was closely followed by people suspected to be from the ISI.

In March, the Indian High Commission in Pakistan sent a strong protest note to the foreign ministry in Islamabad protesting against the harassment of its officers and staff. In the note, India had cited more than a dozen instances of men on motorcycles and cars aggressively tailing Indian diplomats. The government also said Pakistan should "investigate the incidents urgently and instruct the relevant agencies to ensure that these do not recur," the person cited above said.

Ties between India and Pakistan have been severely strained over the past few years and have worsened with recent incidents of firing at the border and terror strikes in Kashmir.

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