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A DAY after Pakistan expelled an Indian High Commission staffer, India on Friday condemned Pakistan’s decision and said that the action further confirms that Pakistan continues to be in denial of anti-India activities, including cross-border terrorism. The Ministry of External Affairs’ official spokesperson Vikas Swarup said no justification has been provided by Pakistan, barring the “completely baseless and unsubstantiated” allegation that his activities were not in keeping with diplomatic norms.
“(The) government notes with regret 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 government condemns Pakistan’s step,” Swarup said.
He also said, “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. Pakistan’s action further confirms that it continues to be in denial of its anti-India activities, including cross-border terrorism,” Swarup said.
Within hours of India expelling Akhtar on Thursday, Pakistan declared Singh as persona non grata and asked him to leave the country within 48 hours.
The Pakistan Foreign Secretary, who had summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale to convey the decision, “expressed deep concern over the activities of the Indian official that were in violation of the Vienna Convention and the established diplomatic norms”, the Pakistan Foreign Office said in a statement.