Two Pakistani officials, working for the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), were asked to leave the country within 24-hours after they were apprehended for carrying out out espionage in the country, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday (May 30).
The accused were identified as Abeed Hussain and Tahir Khan.
“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 twenty-four hours,” ANI quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying.
“Pakistan’s Charge de Affaires was issued a demarche in which a strong protest was lodged concerning the activities of these officials of the High Commission of Pakistan against India’s national security,” NDTV quoted the ministry as saying.
“Pakistan’s Cd’A was asked to ensure that no member of its diplomatic mission should indulge in activities inimical to India or behave in a manner incompatible with their diplomatic status,” it said.
Initially, they declared themselves as Indian nationals and upon checking it was discovered that they were employed with the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission. During interrogation by the Delhi Police special cell, they confessed that they were working for the ISI. They also had had fake identity papers which were used to help them move around.
In response, Pakistan on Monday (June 1) summoned a senior Indian diplomat to register strong protest over India’s decision to expel the two officials on charges of espionage. Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) said the Indian Charge d’ Affaires was summoned for a “strong demarche”, conveying Pakistan’s condemnation of the decision to declare two officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi persona non grata and rejection of all “baseless” allegations against them.
Pakistan also conveyed that the Indian action was in “clear violation” of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the diplomatic norms, the FO said. Earlier, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said that the two staff members of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were lifted by the Indian authorities on May 31 on “false and unsubstantiated charges”. They were, however, released on the High Commission’s intervention, it said.