Delhi says they crossed over by mistake, Islamabad was informed.
New Delhi: The Pakistan police in Cholistan on Monday claimed to have arrested two Indian nationals — Warilal and Prashant Vaindam — for allegedly entering the country illegally. Pakistani media speculated saying these men may have come for terror attacks.
However, Warilal and Prashant are among 12 names that India had shared with Pakistan earlier this year, saying all have crossed over to the other side inadvertently and should be returned when found.
India had mentioned the name of Darilal, who hails from Hyderabad, in its Note Verbale issued on December 2018 while in May 2019 India alerted Pakistan about Prashant, who is from Madhya Pradesh.
While there was no response from Pakistan all these days, Pakistani media on Monday carried out reports claiming these two men were arrested for entering Pakistan without proper documents. “One of those apprehended is a software engineer, raising suspicions that he could have been sent to Pakistan to carry out some sophisticated terror attack,” Geo News said.
The Indian side is intrigued by such claims given the fact it had already brought this to the notice of Pakistan. “All these days Pakistani side was silent and today we suddenly hear about these men in their custody over suspicion of terror,” sources said.
Sources added that Pakistan is using these two men as a ploy to divert people's attention from internal isssues.
“Pakistani foreign ministry had been officially informed about the possibility of these two Indian nationals having inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side several months back by the Indian side. In the case of Prasanth Vaindan, it was conveyed as early as in May 2019 that he is reported to have inadvertently crossed over in 2017 and possibly apprehended by Pakistan Rangers. He personal details along with photograph was also shared with the Pakistan side,” sources said.
Besides, the case of Bari ( Wari) Lal has been taken since December 2018 when reports were received that he may have crossed into Pakistan inadvertantly and arrested by Rangers in 2017.
Sources added that Pakistan was asked to confirm the detention of the two Indian nationals by Pakistani authorities, and if confirmed, sought consular access to them.
“Despite several requests, no response has been received from the Pakistani side so far. The sudden announcement of the apprehension of two persons, who are believed to have inadvertantly crossed over into Pakistan in 2017 through the media is a matter of surprise. It is hoped that these innocent persons would not become victim of some malicious propagandistic exercise,” sources said.
They added that Indian High Commission in Islamabad had approached the Government of Pakistan to provide immediate consular access, ensure safety of the two individuals and their early repatriation so that they could be united with their families back in India.
"There are similar cases of inadvertent crossers who are believed to be in Pakistan custody since 2016/ 2017. These include Ramdas from Rajasthan and Jassi Singh from Rajni Goth. Their case is being pursued with Pakistan through diplomatic channels. It is hoped that they would be located and returned to India too. It is to be noted that since August 2019, Pakistan has held up release and repatriation of about 5 Indian nationals and hundreds of Indian fishermen, whose nationality has been verified and have completed their sentence. Two of the Indian nationals who were about to be repatriated on 5 August and had reached Attari border were taken back into custody and are yet to be released even after their case continue to be relentlessly pursued with Pakistan," sources said.
India had in the past handed over several of Pakistani nationals who had entered India by mistake. India expects similar reciprocity on humanitarian issues.