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Pakistan asks 12 Indian High Commission officials to quarantine

Islamabad: Pakistan has asked 12 officials of the Indian High Commission (IHC) here to quarantine, along with their family members and drivers, after one of them tested positive for the coronavirus since their arrival from India last week, the Foreign Office said.

A group of 12 officials and their family members crossed over to Pakistan through the Wagah Border on May 22, Foreign Office Spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said.

All 12 passengers carried negative Polymerase Chain Reaction COVID-19 reports but they were re-tested in line with the laid down COVID-19 safety protocols in Pakistan.

“The wife of an official tested positive on a rapid antigen test conducted by Pakistani health officials,” the spokesperson said.

Pakistan’s top body on the pandemic, National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) reviewed the case and advised all 12 officials, their family members, and drivers to undergo the mandatory quarantine.

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India Latest News

Pak rejects India’s statement on High Commission officials’ harassment

New Delhi: On a tragic day when Indian soldiers were involved in a violent border skirmish in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, almost in parallel the Pakistan foreign office lashed out at India.

The Pakistan foreign office, exposing its usual Janus face, categorically rejected Indian MEA’s statement on the involvement of Indian High Commission officials in the “hit-and-run” incident and possession of fake currency.

In a typical diplomatic double speak, Pakistan directed its ire at the supposed irresponsible statement and ‘baseless allegations’ made by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs in the matter relating to the involvement of Indian High Commission officials in a “hit-and-run” incident and possession of fake currency.

It went on to say that the MEA’s statement was a reprehensible attempt to distort facts and deny the culpability of these officials in criminal offences.

Then Pakistan double speak claimed that two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, Dwimu Brahma and Selvadas Paul, were over-speeding and crashed their car into a pedestrian. The pedestrian was seriously injured and taken to the hospital for treatment.

The officials attempted to flee from the scene; however, some passersby who witnessed the incident stopped them from fleeing and informed the Police. The police rushed to the scene and took the officials to the police station.

During the course of investigation, Pakistan claimed that fake currency was also recovered from the afore-mentioned officials. After it was confirmed that the said officials were from the Indian High Commission, they were released and handed over to a senior diplomat from the Indian High Commission.

The litany of woes continued with the Pakistan foreign office adding, “The senior Indian diplomat was reminded that possession of fake currency and ‘hit-and-run’ after an incident are serious offences. Such illegal actions and reckless conduct by the officials of the Indian High Commission are against the law and established diplomatic norms…”

According to the Pakistan foreign office: “The Indian MEA’s litany of baseless allegations is yet another attempt to malign Pakistan and a part of desperate efforts to divert attention from India’s state-terrorism in Indian occupied Jammu & Kashmir.”

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India Latest News

Two Indian High Commission staff in Pakistan missing

New Delhi: Two Indian High Commission staff in Pakistan capital Islamabad went missing under mysterious circumstances early Monday and remain untraceable, the media reported citing sources.

India has since taken up the matter with Pakistani authorities to ensure their safety.

“Two Central Industrial Security Force drivers had gone out for duty in a vehicle but did not reach their destination. Since then they are missing,” the sources were quoted as saying.

“There has been no word from the Pakistan officials on the missing staff’s whereabouts so far,” they added.

It comes just days after India’s Charge d’affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was chased and intimidated in Islamabad by motorcycle-borne persons suspected to be from the Inter-Services Intelligence on June 4.

The harassment of Indian High Commission officials and obstruction in the discharge of their normal functioning was thereafter taken up through established diplomatic channels.

Ahluwalia and other Indian High Commission officials have been chased and harassed in Pakistan following India’s expulsion of two Pakistan Embassy officials in Delhi after they were caught red-handed for espionage.

Thereafter, Pakistan has been trying a tit-for-tat action, targeting to expel Indian High Commission officials from the country for one reason or another.

Amid all this, the Indian High Commission is finding it difficult to ensure normal functioning. The Indian diplomats and consular officials are facing aggressive tailing and surveillance.

Last Friday, India registered its protest through a note verbale to Pakistan authorities and asked Islamabad 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.

India told Pakistan that the behavior of its agencies violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, 1961 and also the bilateral 1992 Code of Conduct signed to provide diplomats immunity from hostilities in ties.

On May 31, in New Delhi, India declared two Pakistan High Commission officials as persona non grata on charges of espionage and ordered them to leave the country within 24 hours.

Also Pakistan Charge de’affairs was issued a demarche in which a strong protest was lodged over the activities of these two officials against India’s security.

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