India on Friday dismissed as “totally speculative and nonsensical” a Pakistani media report that the two countries were planning to recall their respective High Commissioners temporarily in the backdrop of continuing slide in the ties. Government sources were totally dismissive of the report in Pakistani daily ‘Express Tribune’ which said Pakistan and India may temporarily recall their envoys and scale down the size of diplomatic staff in each other’s missions. “It is totally speculative and nonsensical,” a source said.
The report comes in the wake of Pakistan pulling out six of its senior officials, including diplomats, after Pakistan High Commission staffer Mahmood Akhtar was expelled last week after being caught running a spy ring. He had also named four Pakistan diplomats as being part of the spying operations in India.
India is also mulling withdrawal of eight of its diplomats from Islamabad as their security has been “completely compromised”. It had strongly protested against the manner in which their names and photos were published. According to sources, these diplomats were likely to return by Sunday.
Pakistan had claimed that these Indian officials were involved in “espionage, subversion and supporting terrorist activities in Balochistan and Sindh, especially Karachi, sabotaging China Pakistan Economic Corridor, and fuelling instability in the two provinces”.
Reacting sharply to Pakistan’s charge, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the allegations against Indian officials represent an “after-thought” and a “crude attempt” to target them for no fault of theirs, after the Pakistan High Commission staffer was caught.
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“We completely reject the baseless and unsubstantiated allegations made by Pakistan against certain officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. The Government categorically denies those allegations. “It is especially regrettable that Pakistani authorities have chosen to level these allegations after deciding to recall, on their own, six officials of the Pakistan High Commission, some of whom may have been named to Indian authorities by Mehmood Akhtar – Pakistan High Commission official caught red handed,” Swarup had said.