‘Missing’ Indian embassy staff in Pak released

Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao today spoke to Salman Bashir regarding the `missing` official.

Updated: Apr 02, 2011, 00:12 AM IST

New Delhi: Even as India and Pakistan were basking in the Mohali spirit, a driver of the Pakistan High Commission was detained by Indian security agencies at Chandigarh airport, and in an apparent tit-for-tat action, an official at India`s Islamabad High Commission went missing the next day. The Indian official was released Friday.

While the Pakistani driver was released on Thursday, the Indian official was handed over to the Indian High Commission Friday evening.
Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao Friday spoke on phone to her counterpart Salman Bashir on the hotline to ask for the early "release" of the Indian official, whose name and designation has been withheld so far.

According to sources, on March 30, a driver working with the Pakistan High Commission was found near a prohibited area at Chandigarh airport and detained by Indian security agencies. On that day, India and Pakistan were playing the cricket World Cup semifinal match at the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali, about 10 km from Chandigarh

The match was being watched by the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his invited guest, Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

"The driver tried to escape and sustained minor injuries during the process," said the sources.

He was questioned overnight and released to the custody of the Pakistan High Commission Thursday. "Before he was released, a medical check-up was done and it was certified that he was fit," said sources.

A few hours after he was released, an Indian High Commission official in Islamabad went missing at around 5.30 p.m. March 31, when he was returning home from office.
The Indian High Commission immediately contacted the Pakistani authorities and asked them to trace the Indian official, and ensure his "safety and well being". The Ministry of External Affairs also took up the matter with the Pakistan High Commission here.

According to sources, there was no official intimation that the Indian official had been picked up by Pakistani authorities, with only Pakistani media carrying reports about his detention.