Diplomacy

India expels two Pakistan embassy officials for spying

New Delhi: In a strong message, India today asked two Pakistan High Commission staffers to leave the country over spying charges and has lodged a stern complaint with the neighbouring nation’s charge de’affaires here.

The move came after security forces caught two Pakistan High Commission officials, Abeed Hussain and Tahir Khan, indulging in anti-Indian activities in central Delhi’s Karol Bagh area.

The Pakistan charge de’affaires has been asked to ensure that no member of its diplomatic mission should be found indulging in such activities or conduct themselves in a manner that goes against India’s national security.

The Special Cell of the Delhi Police had apprehended the two Pakistan High Commission staffers, who used to work in the visa section, as they were found involved in spying activities against India.

The two were working for the Pakistan spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, and used to move around with the help of fake identity papers.

Hours later, the Ministry of External Affairs issued a demarche to the Pakistan charge de’affaires registering a strong protest over the development. The two staffers were immediately declared persona non grata and asked to leave India by tomorrow.

“The government has declared both these officials persona non grata for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave the country within 24 hours,” a statement from the Ministry of External Affairs said.

“Pakistan’s charge de’affaires was issued a demarche in which a strong protest was lodged with regard to the activities of these officials of the High Commission of Pakistan against India’s national security,” it said.

As expected, Pakistan cried wolf and condemned the Indian government, which has come in the wake of increased tension between the two countries. The neighbouring country has been trying its best to stoke militancy in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and disrupt peace along the Line of Control through extensive shelling.

Pakistan has been specifically upset since August 2019 when Indian scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution that had prevented the complete integration of the erstwhile state into the Indian Union. Soon after, Pakistan had downgraded diplomatic ties with Indian by expelling the then Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad Ajay Bisaria.

Spy games are not new for Pakistan. In 2016 too, India had caught and asked Pakistan High Commission staffer, Mehmood Akhtar, to leave within 48 hours over espionage charges.

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