India on Tuesday summoned Pakistan High Commission Charge d’Affaires Haider Shah and filed a strong protest over the alleged abduction of two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad by Pakistani security agencies.
“Two officials of the Indian High Commission were forcibly abducted by Pakistani agencies on 15 June 2020 and kept in illegal custody for more than 10 hours,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement issued on Tuesday. “They were released only after strong intervention by the High Commission of India in Islamabad and the Ministry of External Affairs in Delhi. The two Indian officials were subjected to interrogation, torture and physical assault resulting in grievous injuries to them.”
The ministry alleged that the unidentified Pakistani agencies videographed the officials and forced them to admit to a “litany of fictitious allegations and concocted charges”. It said that the vehicle of the Indian High Commission in which they were travelling was damaged. One of the staff members is reportedly a Central Industrial Security Force official, while the other is a driver.
India claimed that the action against the officials had been a “premeditated, grave and provocative action on the part of the Pakistani authorities, preceded by intensified surveillance, harassment and intimidation of High Commission personnel over the past several days”, and was intended to disrupt the normal activities of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.
India said the actions of the Pakistani agencies are a major violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961, as well as a code of conduct the two countries signed in 1992, and reaffirmed in 2018, on the treatment of each other’s diplomatic and consular personnel. India said it is also concerned by reports that the Pakistani secret agencies intend to harm more officials of the Indian High Commission.
“Such continued unilateral actions by Pakistan, aimed at escalating tensions, will not succeed in diverting attention from the core issue of Pakistan’s continued hostile activities and sponsorship of cross-border terrorism against India,” the Ministry of External Affairs concluded.
The disappearance of Indian staff members in Pakistan came over two weeks after India accused two officials of the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi of espionage and asked them to leave the country within 24 hours.
On Monday, reports had said that the two staff members had gone missing. The reports added that Ministry of External Affairs had said the government declared both these officials persona non grata for “indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission”. Pakistan’s foreign ministry, meanwhile, claimed that the Indian’s action was a clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.