The Indian government on Monday summoned Pakistan's Charge d'affaires and lodged a strong protest to him over the reported arrest of two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. It is suspected that the two staffers may have been picked up by Pakistani security agencies to frame them as spies, sources had earlier told CNN-News18.
Pakistani media reported the two Indian staffers were arrested by authorities for their alleged involvement in a "hit and run accident".
Officials sources in Delhi said Pakistan's Charge d'affaires Syed Hyder Shah was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and demarched on the reported arrest of the two officials as reported in the Pakistani media.
"The demarche to the Pakistan CDA made clear 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," said the sources. "The Pakistani side was asked to return the two officials along with the official car to the High Commission immediately."
Sources said they have been now released and are back at the Indian mission.
According to information available so far, the two were CISF drivers who didn't reach their destination after stepping out for some work in the same vehicle around 8 am on Monday.
The Pakistani move is seen as tit-for-tat over the expulsion of two Pakistan high commission officials caught spying two weeks ago.
Several top Indian diplomats in Pakistan have since then been aggressively tailed over the last several days and India has even protested against the excessive surveillance.
Pakistan apparently is keen to "level the score" by expelling Indian officials on similar charges as those faced by its staff here, who were declared persona non grata. The last time India expelled a Pakistan official for espionage, Islamabad managed to restore parity in 3 days by doing the same to an Indian official.
India had on Friday registered a protest with Pakistan authorities in the form of a note verbale against the surveillance. The government has conveyed to Pakistan that the behaviour of its agencies violated Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and also the bilateral 1992 Code of Conduct which the 2 countries signed to provide diplomats immunity from hostilities in ties.
India had 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. Pakistan has said that activities have been curtailed keeping in mind the Coronavirus threat.