India expells Pak embassy staffer for spying


New Delhi, 28 October 2016: India on Thursday expelled an official of the Pakistan High Commission after police said they had found him spying for his country’s military intelligence agency.

 

Delhi declared Mehmood Akhtar, assistant to the trade counsellor at the high commission, persona non-grata, a day after the police caught him at the Delhi zoo, where they said he was receiving “sensitive documents” from two
Indians.

 

 

Both his Indian accomplices were arrested, but Akhtar, who enjoys immunity in accordance with the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, was handed over to the high commission. He was asked to leave India with his family by Saturday.

 

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Abdul Basit, Islamabad’s envoy to Delhi, to his office in South Block and told him that diplomatic officials “should not indulge in activities inimical to India”.

 

Vikas Swarup, official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, told journalists Akhtar had been intercepted by crime branch policemen who had been working on ‘intelligence inputs’ suggesting snooping on “vital installations of (the) army and paramilitary forces”. Akhtar was receiving documents from Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, both residents of Rajasthan.

 

Akhtar initially claimed to be a citizen of India and introduced himself as Mehboob Rajput from Chandni Chowk area of Delhi, and also showed the police a fake Aadhaar card.

 

However, he revealed his identity after the sleuths took him to a police station and started grilling him. He later admitted he was an assistant to Counsellor (Trade) Farukh Habib at the High Commission.

 

According to Swarup, Akhtar told the police he had joined the Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army in 1997, and was assigned to work for Inter Service Intelligence, Pakistan’s spy agency, in 2013, months before was posted at the High Commission in Delhi.

 

“In keeping with the accepted norms for treatment of members of the Diplomatic Mission, he was treated with utmost courtesy and handed over to a diplomat of the Pakistan High Commission soon thereafter,” said the MEA spokesperson.

 

Swarup quoted Jaishankar as conveying to Basit that the Pakistan 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”.

 

In 2003, India had expelled Pakistani diplomat Jalil Abbas Jilani, then Islamabad’s acting envoy to Delhi, after he was found providing funds for Kashmiri separatists.

 

Akhtar’s expulsion comes at a time when India’s relations with Pakistan have worsened following the September 18 terror attack on an Indian Army camp at Uri in north Kashmir.

 

The terrorists, who carried out the attack, had sneaked into India from areas under the control of Pakistan. Nineteen soldiers were killed in the attack, prompting Delhi to to step up pressure on Islamabad to stop terrorism emanating from Pakistan.

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Comments

Bruno Richard D'Souza, Chennai

 It is common among the diplomats that they spy for their country especially when there is some dispute with the host country.! It is the same with the western countries too.!! They expel one diplomats and in retaliation the other country will expel one diplomat. Tit for tat.!!!

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