Four Pakistan High Commission officials, named by Mehmood Akhtar, may have to leave India

In February 2003, India and Pakistan expelled five diplomatic staffers each, including Deputy High Commissioners.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | Aanchal Bansal & Mandakini Gahlotnew Delhi | Published:November 2, 2016 3:55 am
espionage, espionage case, spy, pakistan spy, pakistan high commission, pakistan envoy, mehmood akhtar, vikas swarup, Pakistan High Commission, espionage ring, Pakistan embassy espionage ring, espionage delhi, pakistan embassy, india news, latest news, indian express Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit outside South Block. (Express Photo: Renuka Puri)

India and Pakistan are bracing for another showdown, this time over the expulsion of diplomats in the wake of an alleged spy ring that has led Delhi Police to the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi.

Before he was ordered out of the country by the Ministry of External Affairs, Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar, in a videotaped statement to police, named four officials of the Pakistan mission — commercial counsellor Syed Farrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Hussain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal — as being part of the alleged spy ring.

WATCH VIDEO: Pakistan High Commission Staffer Caught With Defence Documents: What It Means For India & Pakistan

On Tuesday, Pakistani daily Dawn reported that Islamabad was considering pulling out the four officials. “This is under consideration. A final decision will be taken shortly,” a source at the Pakistan Foreign Office was quoted saying by the Dawn.

In New Delhi, sources told The Indian Express that South Block was collecting information from the Ministry of Home Affairs and intelligence agencies. Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar, sources said, was in touch with his Home counterpart Rajiv Mehrishi on the matter.

“We are still weighing the pros and cons of these disclosures. A course of action will be taken in the next few days,” a top source said.

The Indian establishment expects Pakistan to hit back in the coming days by claiming that three-four Indian diplomats posted in that country were intelligence officials. “The gloves are off,” a source said.

The Pakistan High Commission, in the meantime, is learnt to have asked South Block to ensure security and safety of its diplomats and their families. “Such naming of diplomats in public, without proper investigation, jeopardises their safety and that of their families,” a Pakistan diplomat said.

South Block officials said tit-for-tat responses may lead to considerable reduction in the number of diplomats. “There are about 15 diplomats on both sides… if four are expelled from each side, that will hamper the functioning of the mission,” a source said.

While rules say a diplomat can be replaced immediately by another, it has always been a practical problem, given the nature of scrutiny in grant of visas to each other’s diplomats.

In February 2003, India and Pakistan expelled five diplomatic staffers each, including Deputy High Commissioners.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App

  1. L
    Lumdheeng
    Nov 2, 2016 at 3:03 am
    stan High Commission has become "den" of ISI activities. Amir Zubair Siddiqui stani diplomat in Sri Lanka was expelled for recruiting terrorists. lt;br/gt;Fareena Arshad.stani diplomat expelled from Dhaka for "terror links" with outlawed Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh. lt;br/gt;Mohamad Mazar Khan, another stani diplomat expelled from Dhaka, for smuggling fake counterfeit currency, funding terrorists.lt;br/gt;Any going to comment behind my back then you’re in a perfect position to kiss my a**!
    Reply
    1. A
      Amit Mukhopadhyay
      Nov 2, 2016 at 6:54 am
      Even the rest of them should be chased out of India. What business do they have over here for what's happening in the border area? Just chase them away.
      Reply
      1. C
        Chetan
        Nov 2, 2016 at 6:30 am
        Why there is "may" in the headlines .Just be ertive and Say "Leave India "
        Reply
        1. M
          mort
          Nov 4, 2016 at 6:48 am
          AKHAND BHARAT KI JAI
          Reply
          1. M
            mort
            Nov 4, 2016 at 6:47 am
            BJP is the BEST. SP and Congress are sold out to Muslims
            Reply
            1. M
              mort
              Nov 4, 2016 at 6:48 am
              SP - Spies for stan
              Reply
              1. P
                periyar thevadiyapayyan
                Nov 2, 2016 at 2:34 am
                shut the emby in indialt;br/gt;karan johar, SRK, Om Puri, Burqa Dutt can function as stani staffers in India
                Reply
                1. A
                  Anand Ch
                  Nov 3, 2016 at 5:03 am
                  Why the HC is still around. First pack him back.
                  Reply
                  1. Load More Comments