India expels Pakistani High Commission Staffer, Pakistan condemns

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Pakistan on Thursday condemned the Indian action of declaring Pakistani High Commission Staff member as ‘persona non grata’ after New Delhi decided to expel Pakistani Embassy Staffer Mehmood Akhtar for espionage activities.

In a statement issued in Islamabad, the Foreign Office said that Pakistan’s High Commissioner in New Delhi Abdul Basit was called in by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Thursday morning (October 27, 2016) to convey the decision of the Indian government that one of the staff members of the High Commission has been declared persona non grata and should leave India by October 29.

“The Indian action has been accompanied by an extremely negative and orchestrated media campaign,” the foreign office said.

The foreign office said that a staff member of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi was lifted by the Indian authorities on Wednesday (yesterday) on false and unsubstantiated charges. However, he was released in about three hours on intervention by our High Commission.

“We condemn the detention and manhandling of our diplomatic official,” the foreign office said.

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

“Pakistan High Commission has always been working within the parameters of international law and diplomatic norms.”

The foreign office further said that this act clearly reflects Indian actions to shrink diplomatic space for the working of Pakistan High Commission.

It said that the Indian attempts to escalate the tensions and divert the international attention from the grave human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir can never succeed.

“Pakistan urges the international community to take notice of the Indian designs,” it added.

In a tweet earlier in the day, the Spokesperson of Indian Ministry of External Affairs Vikas Swarap said that the Indian Foreign Secretary summoned Pakistani ambassador to India to inform him that a Pakistan High Commission staffer had been declared persona non grata for espionage activities.