India condemns Pakistan's act of expelling its High Commission staffer in Islamabad

India on Friday condemned the expulsion of its High Commission staffer in Islamabad, saying Pakistan has not given any justification.

Updated: Oct 28, 2016, 13:33 PM IST
India condemns Pakistan's act of expelling its High Commission staffer in Islamabad
Mehmood Akhtar, the Pakistan High Commission staffer, was briefly detained by police for accessing sensitive defence documents while running a spy ring for Pakistan's Inter-State Intelligence.

New Delhi: India on Friday condemned the expulsion of its High Commission staffer in Islamabad, saying Pakistan has not given any justification.

The Ministry of External Affairs said that Pakistan's action further confirms that it continues to be in denial of its anti-India activities, including cross-border terrorism.

"Government notes with regret the government of Pakistan`s decision to declare Surjeet Singh, Assistant Personnel and Welfare Officer in the High Commission of India, in Islamabad, persona non grata and expel him and his family members," the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement. 

"No justification has been provided by the government of Pakistan except for the completely baseless and unsubstantiated allegation that his activities were not in keeping with diplomatic norms," it stated.

"The government condemns Pakistan`s step." 

In a tit-for-tat action, Pakistan on Thursday declared an Indian High Commission official as persona non grata and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours.

Earlier yesterday, India had declared a Pakistan High Commission staffer 'persona non grata' for spying and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours after he was caught by Delhi Police with sensitive defence documents, including those about deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border.

"It is obvious that the step is an afterthought following yesterday`s apprehension of Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar in Delhi while indulging in anti-India activities," the External Affairs Ministry statement said today. 

"Pakistan`s action further confirms that it continues to be in denial of its anti-India activities, including cross-border terrorism," it added.

On Thursday, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Vikas Swarup had said: "The Pakistan High Commission has been informed that Mehmood Akhtar and his family must return to Pakistan by October 29. The Foreign Secretary also strongly conveyed to the Pak High Commissioner that the Pak High Commission must ensure that none of its members indulge in activities inimical to India, or behave in a manner that is incompatible with their diplomatic status."

Also Read: How Delhi Police busted Pakistan espionage ring - Know the details here

Swarup had said that Akhtar told the police that he had joined the Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army in 1997 and came on deputation to the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) in 2013 and posted in September 2013 to the Pakistan High Commission where he is presently working as Assistant to Farukh Habib, Counsellor (Trade).

Asserting that terror has become the "central motive" in India's interactions with Pakistan, Swarup said it was important that Pakistan takes action to honour various commitments it has made, including at the highest level, that it will dismantle the terror infrastructure and will not allow its soil to be used for such activities against any country, including India.