Pakistan summons senior Indian envoy over expulsion of 2 officials on espionage charges

11:21 AM | 1 Jun, 2020
Pakistan summons senior Indian envoy over expulsion of 2 officials on espionage charges
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ISLAMABAD - Pakistan on Monday summoned a senior Indian diplomat to register a strong protest over India's decision to expel two officials of its High Commission in New Delhi on charges of espionage.

India on Sunday declared two officials of the Pakistan High Commission as "persona non grata" on charges of espionage and ordered them to leave the country within 24 hours, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

The two officials, Abid Hussain and Muhammad Tahir were allegedly caught by Delhi Police while they were obtaining sensitive documents relating to India's security installations from an Indian national in exchange for money, official sources said in New Delhi.

"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 four hours," the MEA said in a statement.

Pakistan's Foreign Office (FO) said early on Monday that 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".

It said the action was "clearly aimed" at shrinking diplomatic space for the working of the Pakistan High Commission in Delhi.

"Pakistan strongly rejects the baseless Indian allegations and deplores the Indian action which is in clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as the norms of diplomatic conduct especially in an already vitiated atmosphere," it said.