The two staff members of the Indian mission in Islamabad, who were kept under detention for almost 12 hours, were picked up from a petrol station close to the high commission, people aware of the development said.
These embassy staffers were picked up at 8.30 am Pakistan time on Monday by a group of around 15-16 armed people who came in six vehicles, the people cited above said on condition of anonymity. They were blindfolded with a rucksack thrown over their heads and handcuffed, they added.
The two staff members were then taken to an unknown location about 10 minutes from the place where they were picked up and interrogated for about six hours. They were repeatedly beaten with rods and wooden sticks and made to drink filthy water.
Giving further details, the people said that the two Indian staffers were interrogated regarding the specific role and function of all high commission officials.
Reports in the Pakistani media had claimed that the Indian officials had been arrested after their car allegedly hit a pedestrian near the diplomatic enclave. The Indian officials told Hindustan Times that their kidnappers made multiple videos in which these staffers were forced to confess under duress that they had committed an accident.
They were also threated and told that this is how the other members of the high commission would be treated in the future, the officials said.
The two men were handed back to the Indian high commission at around 9 pm. They were released after the Pakistani charge d’affaires in New Delhi was summoned to the foreign ministry for lodging a strong protest.
Though they were able to walk, the people said that the two Indian staffers carried extensive injury marks to their neck, face and thighs indicating extensive manhandling.
No life threatening injuries have been detected so far in their medical examination.
A first information report (FIR) by Islamabad Police, accessed by HT, claimed fake Pakistani currency with a face value of Rs 10,000 was found in the car they were travelling in. These allegations were dismissed by the people cited above, who described them as false and baseless.
The incident was widely seen in New Delhi as retaliation for the Indian government’s decision to expel two officials of the Pakistan high commission who were apprehended on charges of spying on May 31.
India had expelled the two officials of the Pakistan high commission in New Delhi after they were detained by security agencies while trying to obtain classified materials on Indian security installations. Both men were declared “persona non grata for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission” and asked to India within 24 hours.