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Pakistan recalls six staffers from its New Delhi mission

Last week, India declared Pakistani official Mehmood Akhtar persona non grata for espionage activities, triggering a tit-for-tat action from Islamabad.  

Days after India expelled Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar on espionage charge, Islamabad on Wednesday recalled six staff members from its High Commission, including at least four diplomats.

In a related development, sources in the Ministry of External Affairs said Pakistan had put out details of eight Indian diplomats in the Indian mission in Islamabad in the public domain, compromising their security.

The departure of Pakistani diplomats amounts to downgrading the neighbouring country's diplomatic presence in India.

Sources in the Pakistan High Commission said the decision was taken after it became impossible for their officials to work in a “vitiated” atmosphere. “The Indian government is threatening and blackmailing our diplomats. So, in this condition, it is impossible for us to stay in this country and work,” one source said.

The officials who left include commercial counsellor Syed Furrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Hussain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal. Their names, according to the High Commission sources, were mentioned by Mr. Akhtar during his interrogation in connection with the spying scandal.

Mr. Akhtar, who worked in the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission, was detained by the police last Thursday for possessing sensitive documents and was declared persona non grata and expelled from the country. Following this, Pakistan expelled a staff member of the Indian High Commission.

(With inputs from PTI)


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Printable version | Jan 28, 2022 11:47:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Pakistan-recalls-six-staffers-from-its-New-Delhi-mission/article16091660.ece

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