Report By: Nandika Chand | Last Updated June 16, 2020
India is most likely to reduce its diplomatic presence in Pakistan after two High Commission staffers were allegedly picked up and tortured by the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI).
Government sources said two staffers were ‘abducted’ by about 15 armed men from a petrol station in Islamabad’s upscale locality, which is a short distance from the Indian High Commission. They said the staffers were ‘tortured for hours’ and ‘framed for a road accident’ before being released. According to Pakistani media reports, two officials of the Indian High Commission were held over a hit-and-run incident and later released due to their diplomatic status.
A case had been filed against the Indian officers for running over and critically injuring a man before allegedly trying to flee from the site of the accident. A FIR was registered against them in the Secretariat Police Station with charges of negligence, reckless driving and overspeeding. Eyewitnesses said a pedestarian walking on the Embassy Road was hit by a BMW. A huge crowd of people stopped the car and handed over the two men to Islamabad. It later came to be known that these two men were officials of teh Indian High Commission. Sources believe the abductors were from Pakistan’s ISI. They said the Indian officials spoke extensively about their torture, the scripted confessions that they were forced to record on video and the threats hurled at them.
“If the government of Pakistan cannot deliver on its commitment under the Vienna Covention to ensure the safety of Indian diplomats, Indian diplomats cannot possibly discharge their responsibilities,” a government source said. “It would be natural under such circumstances to consider if India should scale down its presence to the bare essentials.”
This incident comes weeks after India declared two officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi ‘persona non grata’ and ordered them to leave the country within 24-hours. India’s National Security Intelligence (NSA) has found the two Pakistani officials ‘guilty of espionage’. However, Pakistan claimed this was part of India’s ‘persistent anti-Pakistan propaganda’. Pakistan had downgraded its diplomatic presence in India following the scrapping of J&K’s special status in August 2019.