Diplomat was not manhandled, says MEA spokesman

India on Thursday dismissed Pakistan’s charges of violating the Vienna Convention for protection of diplomats after it expelled a staffer posted in the Pakistan High Commission.

Pakistan had accused India of violating the Convention after India declared the staffer as persona non grata and accused him of running an espionage ring in India triggering a new round of war of words.

“First thing that the Pakistan press release alleges is that he [the staffer] was manhandled. Let me deny this categorically. He was treated with courtesy befitting his diplomatic status,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs.

Pakistan denies charges

The crisis over the detention of the diplomat snowballed after Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to lodge a strong protest over Pakistan’s espionage activities in India. Following the meeting in South Block, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad, issued a strongly worded statement and accused India of violating the Vienna Convention.

“We reject the Indian allegations and deplore the Indian action which is indeed a violation of the Vienna Convention as well the norms of diplomatic conduct especially in an already vitiated atmosphere,” said a release from the office of the Spokesperson of MoFA, Pakistan.

A Pakistani official said that India has given 48 hours to the staffer to return home. “He will go back to Pakistan by October 29,” he said elaborating that the staffer was picked by the Delhi Police on Wednesday but was released due to diplomatic immunity that he enjoys.

The latest episode in the ongoing war of words began on Thursday with MEA spokesperson announcing on Twitter, that the staffer had been involved in espionage activities. “FS summons Pak. High Commissioner to convey that Pak. High Commission staffer has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities,” Mr. Vikas Swarup said.

This came in the backdrop of repeated summoning of Deputy Chief of Mission of India in Islamabad over the last three days by MoFA, Pakistan. Indian diplomatic sources said that summoning was aimed at conveying Pakistan’s concerns about firing across the International Border (IB) and the LoC and expected that Pakistan is expected to take tit-for-tat measures after the expulsion of the Pakistan diplomat.

The detention came three years after a senior Pakistani diplomat was assaulted in Delhi in an apparent road rage-related incident. Pakistan continues to hold former naval official Kulbhushan Jadhav, and a soldier who reportedly strayed to the Pakistani side in the last week of September.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 12:02:29 am |