Pakistan's intelligence officials publicly intimidated two diplomats from India on a street in the Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad just a day after an Indian Air Force (IAF) MiG 21 Bison aircraft was shot down by a fighter jet of the neighbouring country.
New Delhi on Wednesday lodged a strong protest with Islamabad over recent incidents of harassment and intimidation of diplomats and other officials of the High Commission of India in the capital of Pakistan. The High Commission of India in Islamabad sent a note verbale to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Government demanding an investigation into the incidents. It also pointed out that incidents of harassment of the family members of diplomats were in violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention of Diplomatic Relations.
Two officials of the High Commission of India in Islamabad went to the embassy of another foreign country in the Diplomatic Enclave in the capital of Pakistan on February 28 – just a day after Pakistan Air Force (PAF) aircraft had intruded into the airspace of India and Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter jets had scrambled to intercept and chase them away.
A dark green car – with registration number RIU 2858 – “aggressively tailed” the official vehicle of the diplomats of the High Commission of India (HCI). It zigzagged around the HCI's vehicle from both sides, before overtaking it and coming to a halt on the middle of the road. The HCI vehicle also stopped. Pakistani intelligence officials got off the car and one of them angrily told the Indian diplomats, “We have taken two of you down and you people are creating problems and not behaving”, said sources in New Delhi.
Pakistani intelligence official was apparently referring to the IAF's MiG 21 Bison Aircraft, which had been hit during the early morning dogfight with PAF jets along the Line of Control. The IAF pilot, Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, had ejected before the aircraft had crashed in the territory under control of Pakistan. He had been detained by Pakistan Army, but released and repatriated two days later. A spokesperson of Pakistan Army had on Wednesday initially claimed that two IAF aircraft had been shot down. He, however, corrected himself later to state that only one aircraft had been brought down – the one Wing Commander Varthaman had been flying.
Two other officials of the HCI in Islamabad were also aggressively tailed by the intelligence agents of Pakistan when they were driving to the residence of one of them on February 28 itself. The Pakistani agents also photographed the Indian officials in an intimidating manner. Another Indian official was also aggressively followed by a bike-borne intelligence agent of Pakistan when he was going to market. The agent loudly communicated the location of the HCI official over the phone – apparently to his colleagues in the agency.
New Delhi reminded Islamabad that the safety and security of the High Commission of India, its officers, staff members and their families is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan.