'Act of espionage': India asks Pakistan High Commission to cut staff strength by 50%
New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: India on Tuesday once again summoned Pakistan's Charge d' Affaires Syed Haidar Shah and informed that New Delhi has repeatedly expressed concern about activities of officials of his High Commission, said the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
In a statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said that the officials of Pakistan High Commission have been engaged in espionage and dealings with terror organisation while adding that two of its officials were caught red-handed and expelled on 31 May which was an example.
The Ministry of External Affairs further said that the central government has decided to reduce staff strength in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by 50 per cent. "It would reciprocally reduce its own presence in Islamabad to the same proportion," it said, as reported by news agency ANI.
Pakistan is engaged in sustained campaign to intimidate officials of Indian High Commission in Islamabad, said the Ministry of External Affairs.
Last month, India had expelled two Pakistan High Commission officials here on charges of espionage. Following their expulsion, Pakistani agencies started harassing a number of Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad including charge d'affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia.
The MEA also cited the recent abduction of two Indian officials in Islamabad and the "barbaric treatment" meted out to them by Pakistani agencies. "The behaviour of Pakistan and its officials is not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials. On the contrary, it is an intrinsic element of a larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism," the MEA said.
India's expulsion of the two Pakistani officials and subsequent harassment of Indian High Commission staffers in Islamabad by Pakistani agencies came in the midst of frayed ties between the two countries over the 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 in August last year.
(With agency inputs)
Posted By: Aalok Sensharma