The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Thursday said Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar has been asked to leave India within 48 hours. “Akhtar has been declared Persona Non-Grata and he along with his family has to leave India by this Saturday. He stated that he had joined Baloch regiment of the Pakistani Army in 1997. He came on deputation to the ISI in 2013. In fact, it was Mehmood Akhtar, who resorted to subterfuge by concealing his real identity. Mehmood Akhtar was posted in September 2013 to the Pakistan High Commission, where he is currently working,” MEA official spokesperson Vikas Swarup told the media here.
Responding to the allegation by Pakistan Foreign office about manhandling of Akhtar, Swarup said the staffer was treated with diplomatic courtesy even though he did have a diplomatic passport. He asserted that India has not violated any provision of the Vienna Convention.
“The denial that has come out from Pakistan (on Mehmood Akhtar) would say that this is something which has by now become quiet characteristic. If today Pakistan is feeling isolated, it’s because of its misguided policies. The people of Pakistan should urge the government to adopt policies that favour peace,” he added.
Swarup said that Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar asked Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to restrain the staffers of the Commission from indulging in anti-India activities. Basit, who was summoned by the Foreign Secretary, said that India had intercepted Akhtar in the pursuit of espionage.
Following intelligence inputs relating to espionage on vital installations of army and paramilitary forces, Akhtar was caught by the Delhi Police yesterday while receiving sensitive documents pertaining to India’s national security from two persons hailing from Rajasthan.
Initially, Akhtar masqueraded as an Indian national and even produced a fake Aadhar card but when confronted by the police, he admitted that he works in the Pakistan High Commission.
At his request, the High Commission was informed and he was handed over to the Commission’s officials.
Akhtar also admitted that he is from the Baloch Regiment of the Pakistan Army and came on deputation to the Inter Service Intelligence in 2013 and was posted in the Pakistan High Commission in September 2013.