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Islamabad/New Delhi, June 15, 2020
Two Indian High Commission staffers in Pakistan, who were presumed missing since Monday morning, have been handed over to Islamabad's secretariat police station late on Monday night. They were arrested by Pakistani police for their alleged involvement in a road accident in Islamabad.
The staffers were handed over to Indian High Commission officials, who had gone to take their custody.
The two staffers went missing at 8:30 a.m. and since then they were untraceable. India has taken up the matter with its Pakistani counterparts to ensure the safety of the Indian officials.
Sources in Islamabad said "two Indian diplomats have been arrested by police authorities" after they were allegedly "involved in a road accident". Both are security officials of India's Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), assigned as security to the High Commissioner and other diplomats. The officials, as per police sources, "were overspeeding when the accident occurred."
However, there was no official communication from Pakistan.
At least one person has been injured in the accident, sources said, adding that as the two Indian staffers tried to flee, the locals stopped them. Later the police arrived and arrested both of them.
Sources said that both the Indian High Commission staffers were out on duty in Islamabad and did not reach their destination.
Sources in New Delhi said that Pakistan's charge d'affaires Syed Hyder Shah was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and issued a demarche on the reported arrest of two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
India, in its protest against the arrests, has made it 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 government had conveyed to Pakistan.
Pakistan's spy agency ISI has been harassing and intimidating India's top diplomats in Islamabad ever since two officials of the Pakistan mission in New Delhi were deported for indulging in espionage activities.
The ISI has deployed several spies in cars and bikes outside the residence of India's charge d'affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia. Since May 31, after the two Pakistani mission officials were caught spying and were deported from New Delhi, ISI spies began chasing Ahluwalia's vehicle.
Indian law enforcement agencies had caught red-handed two Pakistani officials, Abid Hussain and Mohammad Tahir, for spying on the Indian Army on May 31. The duo used to meet Indian defence personnel as "businessmen" to get information. Both were declared persona non grata and were expelled from India.
Amid this, the Indian High Commission in Islamabad is finding it difficult to resume normal functioning as Indian diplomats and consular officials are facing aggressive tailing and surveillance.
Last Friday, India registered a protest in the form of a note verbale to Pakistani authorities. India asked Pakistan to ensure the safety and security of the Indian High Commission and its staff and to allow them to resume their activities in keeping with the Vienna Convention.