At least 39 officials from the Pakistan High Commission returned home on Tuesday, diplomatic sources have confirmed. This development came a week after India asked Pakistan to reduce the staff strength in the mission by 50%.

By Tuesday afternoon, a total of 143 Pakistani nationals, including the officials and family members, left through the Wagah-Attari border. India also evacuated 38 officials from the High Commission of India in Islamabad who reached Wagah on Tuesday afternoon.

Mutual acrimony and tit for tat allegations had increased in recent weeks involving the officials posted in the missions. In the last week of May, India expelled two officials from the visa section of the Pakistan mission after the Delhi police accused them of espionage.

On June 15, two officials employed at the High Commission of India in Islamabad were kidnapped allegedly by the local security agencies. The two persons employed as drivers, Dwimu Brahma and Paul Selvadhas were, however, released the same day though India accused Pakistan of assaulting them in custody.

Both Mr. Selvadhas and Mr. Brahma returned to India on June 22.

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