Pakistan claims mission staffer arrested in New Delhi

Islamabad/New Delhi: Pakistan on Friday claimed that a driver of its mission in New Delhi was "arrested" for unspecified reasons earlier this week, a charge denied by Indian security agencies which said that he was detained for questioning for 15 minutes after he entered a restricted area.

"A driver from the High Commission was arrested. (He) has been released. We have protested," Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson Tehmina Janjua told PTI here, without giving details.

However, sources in India`s security agencies said in New Delhi that there was no arrest but only detention for just 15 minutes.

"The driver had entered the Cantonment area for which he was not authorised. He was questioned for 15 minutes and then let off," a source said.

Pakistan`s Dawn newspaper, in its report on the incident, quoted unnamed sources as saying that the particular staffer had been under surveillance for some time and was detained by Indian security agencies on Wednesday. The man was released yesterday.

The incident occurred at a time when the Pakistani and Indian Prime Ministers were in Mohali, the venue of the cricket World Cup semi-final between the two countries, to "discuss ways to strengthen the nascent process of re-engagement by steering it clear of likely hurdles", the paper said.

Both sides kept the incident under wraps to "prevent it from queering the peace pitch", it claimed.

Nothing has emerged about the circumstances surrounding the Pakistani driver`s detention or the charges against him.