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Pakistan retaliates, expels Indian official Surjeet Singh

Abdul Basit_AFP Pakistan High Commisioner Abdul Basit. |AFP
Remigio Civitarese | 29 Ottobre, 2016, 01:44

India will expel a Pakistani visa official for "espionage activities", the foreign ministry said Thursday, with tensions between the nuclear-armed neighbours already running high.

Congress today expressed disappointment over government action of merely declaring a Pakistan High Commission staffer "persona non-grata" for spying and asking him to leave the country within 48 hours.

"The Indian High Commissioner has been asked to make urgent necessary arrangements for Surjeet Singh and his family to leave Pakistan by 29 October 2016", it added.

Yadav said two Indian nationals from the northern state of Rajasthan were also arrested, and that Akhtar had planned to meet his Indian co-conspirators at the Delhi zoo to exchange the information and cash.

Acting on inputs, Delhi Police crime branch took the staffer identified as Mehmood Akhtar in custody after he was found in possession of certain defence documents.

Indian foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said the official was "caught literally red-handed while accepting sensitive documents pertaining to vital national security". This latest diplomatic incident must not be used by India to up the ante, and Pakistan would be well advised to stick to its line of constructive restraint. "Pakistan's action further confirms that it continues to be in denial of its anti-India activities, including cross-border terrorism", the MEA statement said.

The men who were booked, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, accessed sensitive defence-related documents and information for Akhtar.

It said its elite troops crossed into Pakistan territory in Kashmir and killed suspected militants who were allegedly planning strikes in major cities in India. "He is serving with Pakistan ISI and has got diplomatic immunity since he is posted in the Pakistan High Commission (PHC) of Delhi".

Since the militant attack on the Indian army camp, New Delhi has led a campaign to diplomatically isolate Pakistan.

"We condemn the detention and manhandling of our diplomatic official", a statement said. The BSF said on Friday it had killed 15 Pakistani Rangers while retaliating to shelling and firing in which two Indian civilians were killed and two injured in the Jammu region.

"Pakistan High Commission has always been working within the parameters of global law and diplomatic norms", the statement claimed.

The Pakistani foreign ministry said a staff member had been held for 3 hours before being returned to the embassy.

The two countries have been at loggerheads over Kashmir since 1947, when India was partitioned, and fought their first war over the Himalayan province they both claim in full but rule in part.

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