Pakistan said on Thursday it condemned the “detention and manhandling” of its diplomat after the Delhi Police announced it had temporarily detained a Pakistani high commission staffer for allegedly running a spy racket that accessed sensitive information about Indian security operations.
“The Indian action has been accompanied by an extremely negative and orchestrated media campaign,” Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said.
The Delhi Police said the man, Mehmood Akhtar, was caught on Wednesday outside the Delhi Zoo, where he had met two Indian men police believe he had recruited to spy for Pakistan.
The Indian citizens and the diplomat, who worked in Pakistan high commission’s visa section, were found with forged documents, as well as defence-related maps, deployment charts and lists of officers working along India’s border with Pakistan, the police said.
India said the diplomat, who was later released under diplomatic immunity rules, had been declared a “persona non grata for espionage activities” and they had summoned the Pakistani high commissioner to make their case.
“We reject the Indian allegations and deplore the Indian action which is indeed a violation of the Vienna Convention as well as the norms of diplomatic conduct especially in an already vitiated atmosphere,” Pakistan’s ministry of foreign affairs said. “This act clearly reflects Indian actions to shrink diplomatic space for the working of Pakistan High Commission,” it added.
India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since militants killed 19 Indian soldiers in September at an army camp in Kashmir, an attack India blamed on Pakistan-based militants. India said it had sent special commandos into Pakistan to kill militants in a retaliatory operation that sharply soured relations between the neighbours.
“The Indian attempts to escalate the tensions and divert the international attention from the grave human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian occupation forces in Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir can never succeed. Pakistan urges the international community to take notice of the Indian designs,” Pakistan said on Thursday after its diplomat was asked to leave India by October 29.
With inputs from agencies