ISLAMABAD - Pakistan has released two employees of rival India’s embassy in Islamabad after briefly detaining them in connection with a hit-and-run road accident in the capital.
A city police report noted the Indian officials were taken into custody on Monday morning after their “reckless driving” injured a pedestrian.
The report identified the men as Paul Selvadhas and Dwimu Brahma, saying they also tried to flee but their car was stopped by a crowd of people gathered at the site.
Pakistani authorities familiar with the incident argued the detainees were released to the Indian High Commission in Islamabad within hours because they held diplomatic immunity.
The Indian Foreign Ministry on Monday summoned the deputy chief of the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi to protest the detention of its officials and demanded their immediate release.
Late last month, India expelled two Pakistani diplomats, accusing them of espionage. Islamabad rejected the allegations as baseless and part of a "persistent anti-Pakistan propaganda” by the neighboring country.
New Delhi has since alleged its diplomats in Islamabad have been harassed by Pakistani intelligence operatives.
Both the countries routinely level such allegations against each other and tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats have been a hallmark of historically acrimonious bilateral ties.
The tensions mainly stem from the long-running Kashmir territorial dispute and they have exacerbated since last August when the Indian government unilaterally stripped its part of the divided Himalayan region of its semiautonomous status.
Pakistan rejected the move as a violation of a pending United Nations resolution, which declared Kashmir as an internationally recognized dispute.
Islamabad swiftly downgraded already limited diplomatic and trade ties with New Delhi. Indian officials reject objections to their Kashmir-related actions, saying they are an internal matter.
Military clashes between Indian and Pakistani border forces across the Line of Control, the de facto Kashmir frontier, have since intensified.
New Delhi controls two thirds of the region while Islamabad controls the rest, with both the countries claiming Kashmir in its entirety.