Pakistan eyeing tit-for-tat action with false charges: India | India News

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NEW DELHI/ ISLAMABAD: After Pakistan “condemned” India’s decision to declare two high commission officials persona non grata for espionage activities, the government on Monday accused Islamabad of making false allegations possibly to prepare the ground for tit-for-tat action. Official sources expressed fear that Pakistan could torture Indian officials.
Following India’s move, much like its reaction in 2016 when India had declared a Pakistani official persona non grata for the same offence, Islamabad is likely to expel two Indian officials from the Indian mission there in a retaliatory move. Pakistan on Monday summoned India’s charge d’affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia for a “strong demarche”, rejecting all “baseless Indian allegations”. It also alleged India’s action violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Official sources described the assertions of the Pakistan foreign office as false, saying the two officials were caught red-handed while indulging in espionage activities.
“They did not disclose their identity that they were high commission officials. When they were taken into custody and questioned, they confessed to indulging in espionage and also informed that they were high commission officials,” said a source, responding to Pakistan’s allegations.
The Pakistan high commission, the source said, was immediately informed and the two handed over.
“They were never subjected to any torture. They have also undergone medical examination. Pakistan appears to be making false accusations and possibly creating ground for some tit-for-tat reaction and torture of Indian officials in Islamabad,” added another source. Pakistan had on Sunday accused Indian authorities of torturing the Pakistani officials to make them accept “false charges”.
The officials were identified as Abid Hussain Abid, 42, and Mohammad Tahir Khan, 44, an assistant and a clerk respectively. They were expected to arrive in Pakistan via the Wagah border crossing on Monday night.
Islamabad condemned the move, called the Indian charge d’affaires to the foreign office and handed him a demarche in this regard. Aamir Ghauri, a prominent Pakistani analyst on South Asian affairs, said New Delhi and Islamabad had regularly indulged in such practices and following the rule of reciprocity, Pakistan is expected to send back two junior staffers of the Indian high commission in Islamabad soon. “I am sure Pakistan must be assessing the right response and would act accordingly,” he said.
Official sources here said the espionage activity by Pakistan was not a one-off thing. After the developments on Sunday, official sources said the government was following reports which suggested anti-India subversive activities by Pakistani officials in neighbouring countries. Such activities had been noticed in countries like Sri Lanka, a source said.
In a statement, the Pakistan foreign office said it was conveyed to the Indian diplomat that Delhi’s action was in clear violation of the Vienna Convention and diplomatic norms.
Pakistan’s foreign office had said on Sunday said the two were lifted by Indian authorities on “false and unsubstantiated charges”. Sources had claimed the Pakistani staffers were physically tortured.
“They were, however, released on intervention by the high commission. We condemn the detention and torture as well as threatening and pressuring of diplomatic officials to accept false charges,” the foreign office said.
The Indian action and Pakistan’s reaction is seen as yet another event adding to the already frozen relations between the two nuclear neighbours.
In Novembers 2016, both countries had expelled each others’ officials at high commissions in New Delhi and Islamabad over similar charges.



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