NEW DELHI: Expressing shock over the arrest of two Indians, who inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan in 2016-17, the Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday requested Islamabad to provide consular access to two of its nationals and sought their repatriation.
"We have seen reports that there were two Indian nationals who inadvertently crossed over to Pakistan sometime in 2016-17. We had informed the Pakistan officials. Since then, we did not get any response. The sudden announcement of arrest is a matter of surprise to us," MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a weekly briefing.
Kumar said, "We hope that these two Indian nationals (Prashant & Bari Lal) are not used or they do not become a victim of Pakistani propaganda. We have approached the govt of Pakistan and requested for immediate consular access."
Islamabad authorities have reportedly said that the two Indian citizens namely Prashant Vaindam and Bari Lal from Bahawalpur - a city in West Punjab province, had entered Pakistan without carrying any valid travel documents.
Both Indians, as per police, entered Pakistan without proper documentation. Police in Cholistan said, Pakistani media reported.
One of the two Indians arrested in Pakistan is a software engineer from Telangana and had gone missing from here two years ago. Prashant Vaindam is from Telangana while Bari Lal belongs to the state of Madhya Pradesh.
India raised the case of Prashant in May 2019 and Bari Lal's case in December 2018 with Pakistan through diplomatic channels and had sought consular access both times but got no response, the MEA said.
Several other cases of people inadvertently crossing over to Pakistan had happened in the past, and India has also asked consular access and early repatriation of those Indians, Kumar added.