Road rage: Pakistan summons Indian diplomat expresses ‘serious concerns’

Islamabad/New Delhi, June 4 (IANS) Pakistan Tuesday summoned the Indian Deputy High Commissioner to express “serious concerns” over the manhandling of its official in New Delhi following a traffic accident, hours after the Indian foreign secretary called up his counterpart “to express his regrets” over the unfortunate incident.

The Indian Deputy High Commissioner Gopal Baglay was summoned in the afternoon in Islamabad to register their protest and say that “such incidents are uncalled for, unnecessary and do not augur well for the overall bilateral relations, especially at a time when the leadership of the two countries is desirous of improving and normalizing relations”, the Pakistan foreign office said in a statement.

Zirgham Raza, first secretary (trade) and his driver Haider Zaman suffered “minor bruises” in a scuffle that followed after his car hit a motorcycle in south Delhi Monday evening.

The motorcycle driver and a woman pillion rider were arrested Tuesday.

In a statement, the Pakistan foreign office said: “The Indian Foreign Secretary had also called Foreign Secretary (Jalil Abbas) Jilani to express his regrets over this unfortunate incident and assured him that the matter would be thoroughly investigated.”

“In this regard he informed Foreign Secretary Jilani that two persons involved in this incident had already been arrested and an FIR had been lodged,” the statement said.

But New Delhi said the issue of expressing regret “did not arise”.

The ministry of external affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai had called up Jilani and said that “it was a traffic accident” and “and that their concerns about security will be addressed”.

Mathai told him that “action has been taken” in the case, he told IANS.

According to him, Baglay was summoned to reiterate the same concerns.

The Pakistan foreign office said that Zirgham Raza, first secretary (trade) and his driver Haider Zaman were “physically abused.”

The Pakistan foreign office called upon India “to ensure that such incidents do not recur and reminded the Indian government of its obligation under diplomatic conventions and norms of providing adequate safety and security of all Pakistan High Commission personnel, premises and vehicles.”

The Indian side said Mathai also informed Jilani that action had already been taken in the traffic accident with the arrest of two people.

“The call was made in the context of need to ensure high-level contact at a time when the Pakistani High Commissioner to India was in Islamabad and the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad was in Delhi for consultations,” the statement said.

The Pakistan High Commission had lodged a strong protest on Monday calling it “most unfortunate and regrettable”.

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