Pak embassy officials expelled for alleged spying

India expels two officials of Pakistan High Commission for spying

Representative image. (Credit: iStockPhoto)

India has expelled two officials of the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi, after they were found to be working for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) – the military spy agency of the neighbouring country.

The two officials – Abid Hussain and Muhammad Tahir – were working in the visa section of the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi. The probe by the counter-espionage agencies of the Government of India, however, found them to be undercover ISI agents. They were apprehended by the law-enforcement agencies in New Delhi on Sunday “for indulging in espionage activities”.

Islamabad has dismissed New Delhi’s allegations against its officials as “false and unsubstantiated”. “We condemn the detention and torture as well as threatening and pressuring of the diplomatic officials to accept false charges,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Government said in a press-release issued in Islamabad.  

The Government has declared both the officials of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi “persona non grata” for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave India within 24 hours, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated in a press-release.

Hussain and Tahir were caught red-handed by the police from Karolbagh in Delhi when they were obtaining documents related to security establishment of India. They were obtaining the documents from an Indian, whom they gave money and an I-phone, sources told the DH.

They initially claimed that they were citizens of India. They even showed Aadhaar Cards, which were later found to be fake.

But, while being interrogated by counter-espionage agents, both Hussain and Tahir confessed they were officials at the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi and worked for the ISI.

The MEA also issued a démarche to the Charge de Affaires (acting High Commissioner) of the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi, Syed Haider Shah, lodging a strong protest over the activities of the two officials against the national security of India.  

Shah was asked to ensure that no member of Pakistan’s diplomatic mission to India should indulge in activities inimical to India or behave in a manner incompatible with their diplomatic status, the MEA said in its press-release.

India had in 2016 expelled another official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi – Mehmood Akhter – after he had been found involved in espionage activities. Pakistan had retaliated by expelling an officer of the High Commission of India in Islamabad.

Hussain and Tahir were later handed over to the representatives of the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi, as both of them enjoyed diplomatic immunity and hence could not have been arrested or prosecuted.

Pakistan, however, rejected what it called “the baseless allegation” against the two officials of its High Commission in the capital of India. It also described the action by the Government of India, as a “clear violation” of the 1961 “Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations” as well as the “norms of diplomatic conduct”.

“The High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi has always worked within the parameters of international law and diplomatic norms. The Indian action is clearly aimed at shrinking diplomatic space for the working of Pakistan High Commission,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the neighbouring country’s government said in Islamabad. It accused New Delhi of trying to escalate the tension between India and Pakistan to divert attention from the “ongoing internal and external issues faced by” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government or “from the worsening situation and gross human rights violations being perpetrated” in Jammu and Kashmir.

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