Road accident in Islamabad triggers India-Pakistan spat

Updated 16 Jun 2020

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Indian high commission officials held, freed after abortive hit-and-run in capital; Pakistani diplomats in Delhi harassed by security men. — APP/File
Indian high commission officials held, freed after abortive hit-and-run in capital; Pakistani diplomats in Delhi harassed by security men. — APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Detention of two Indian High Commission employees after a road accident by the federal capital police sparked off a diplomatic row between the two estranged neighbours.

The two Indians, who were driving to the high commission in a dark coloured car early in the morning hit a pedestrian, who was crossing the road, according to the first information report registered with the Secretariat Police Station.

The pedestrian, who has not been identified in the report, was seriously injured and shifted to the Poly Clinic hospital by the passersby, the police said.

The two persons in the car, police said, tried to flee after the accident on Khayaban-i-Suhrawardy, but were stopped by the people who had gathered at the scene. They were handed over to the police and were later shifted to the police station for interrogation. According to the FIR, fake currency notes worth Rs10,000 were seized from them during their search.

Indian high commission officials held, freed after abortive hit-and-run in capital; Pakistani diplomats in Delhi harassed by security men

Deputy Superintendent of Police Iqbal Khan said the Indians were detained and shifted to the police station for completing the legal process.

The two employees of the high commission were identified in the FIR as Paul Selvadhas, who was driving the car, and Dwimu Brahma.

The two reportedly belong to India’s Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). A sixteen-member specialised security unit from CISF has been deployed at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad since 2009 for the protection of the high commission and diplomats posted here.

Both were booked by the police for reckless driving, causing injury due to negligent driving, and possessing fake currency.

India’s electronic media soon after the accident claimed that two of the high commission employees had gone missing in Islamabad. The episode was made to look like a tit-for-tat response by Pakistani authorities for the detention and expulsion of two Pakistan High Commission staffers by India on May 31.

Meanwhile, in Delhi Indian security officials started harassment of Pakistani diplomats by chasing their cars and police deployment was increased outside Pakistan’s High Commission on the pretext of security of the mission. A Pakistani diplomat, speaking over the phone from Delhi, said that these were usual Indian tactics for harassing the diplomats and employees of the high commission.

Pakistan’s Charge d’Affaires Syed Haider Shah was summoned to India’s External Affairs Ministry and served a demarche on the detention of the two high commission employees. The Pakistani diplomat, according to a diplomatic source, was asked to ensure safety and security of the personnel and was told that Pakistani law enforcement agencies should not interrogate them.

Pakistan was further asked to return the two Indian staffers along with the official car to the high commission.

Deputy Inspector General of Police Operation Waqaruddin Syed, later in the evening, told Dawn that both of the detained Indians were hours later released from the police custody after confirming their status from the Foreign Office. He said they were non-diplomats.

Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2020