India expels two Pak High Commission officials for spying
New Delhi: 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 said.
The two officials, Abid Hussain and Muhammad Tahir, were caught by police while obtaining sensitive documents relating to Indian security establishment from an Indian national in exchange of money, official sources said.
The officials, working at the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission, confessed during the interrogation that they worked for Pakistani spy agency ISI, the sources added. The MEA said the two officials were apprehended by Indian law enforcement authorities for indulging in espionage activities.
“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.
The punitive action against the two officials came in the midst of frayed ties between the two countries over reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir by India. Pakistan had downgraded diplomatic ties by expelling the Indian High Commissioner in Islamabad following India’s decision to withdraw special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the State into two Union Territories in August last year.
The MEA said a strong protest was lodged with the charge d’affaires of the Pakistan High Commission over the activities of its two officials against India’s national security.
“Pakistan’s charge d’affaires 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.
The sources said the two officials, working at the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission, were handing over Indian money and an iphone for providing them the documents. The officials initially claimed that they were Indian nationals and even produced fake Aadhaar cards, the sources said.