India Thursday completely rejected as “baseless and unsubstantiated” allegations like espionage and supporting terror activities levelled by Pakistan against eight Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad which left New Delhi with no option but to recall them immediately.
In a sharp reaction, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said the allegations against the Indian officials represent an “after-thought” and a “crude attempt” to target them after a Pakistan High Commission staffer was caught red handed here last week while indulging in anti-India activities. India also strongly protested the manner in which names and photos of eight Indian officials, four of them hold diplomatic passport, were published, compromising their security.
Pakistan Thursday claimed that the Indian High Commission 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”.
Asked whether the Indian officials are being recalled, Swarup said it is procedural matter and government will take necessary steps keeping in view all aspects of the situation. He added that their security was a priority. “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 said.
It is learnt that India will withdraw the eight diplomats as their security have been compromised with. Swarup said the Indian officials “falsely implicated” were working in the fields of promoting people-to-people and trade and economic contacts between the two countries. “Pakistan’s false allegations against them have the potential to adversely affect the corresponding activities of the High Commission,” he said.
He said the government “protests strongly the manner in which names and photos of the eight Indian officials, – four of them holders of diplomatic passport- have been published. This is against basic norms of diplomatic practice and courtesy.”
The MEA Spokesperson said the allegations against the Indian official are prejudicial to their safety and security. “We expect the government of Pakistan to take all necessary steps to ensure the security and safety of not only these eight diplomats and officials but all other members of the High Commission and their families while they are in Pakistan,” he said. Pakistan had Wednesday pulled out six of its officials in the wake of a spy scandal involving staffers of its High Commission.