India accuses Pakistan of ‘kidnapping,’ ‘torturing’ two diplomats

New Delhi, Jun 16 (efe-epa).- India on Tuesday accused the government of Pakistan of “kidnapping and torturing” two employees of its High Commission in Islamabad a day earlier, calling it an “egregious violation” of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

“The Charge dā€™ Affaires of the High Commission of Pakistan, Mr Haider Shah, was summoned today and a strong protest lodged on the issue of the abduction and torture of two officials of the High Commission of India in Islamabad by Pakistan security agencies,” the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

According to India, the two diplomatic employees were “forcibly abducted” by the agencies in Islamabad on Monday while they were traveling in a vehicle which was “extensively damaged,” and later kept in “illegal custody” for more than 10 hours.

The statement said that both the diplomats were freed only after a “strong intervention” of the High Commission and the Indian foreign ministry, without providing further details.

New Delhi claimed that the two officials were “subjected to interrogation, torture and physical assault resulting in grievous injuries to them” and that they were “video-graphed and coerced” to accept “a litany of fictitious allegations and concocted charges.”

The Indian government called the alleged kidnapping “a premeditated, grave and provocative action” preceded by “intensified surveillance, harassment and intimidation” of its diplomatic staff, and violation of the Vienna convention and bilateral agreements. It added that such actions contribute to escalating tensions between the two countries.

The incident comes after India on May 31 expelled two officials of the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi after briefly arresting them and accusing them of spying.

The expulsion of each other’s diplomats has been a frequent action for both the governments, which have witnessed high level of tensions for decades.

Bilateral ties between the two neighbors have deteriorated further since last year, after their air forces carried out cross-border bombings and strikes on each other’s territory in February during the worst military escalation in more than a decade.

Then in August, the Indian government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to suspend the semi-autonomous status of Kashmir, a region disputed between the two sides, and divide it into two union territories directly administered from New Delhi.

The decision led to a furious reaction from Pakistan, which expelled the Indian high commissioner and suspended bilateral trade. Since then, both the country’s high commissions in each other’s territories have functioned without ambassadors, with the deputy high commissioners remaining in charge.

The two nuclear powers have fought three wars and multiple minor conflicts over Kashmir since the partition of the subcontinent by the British at the time of relinquishing their colonial control in 1947. EFE-EPA


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