Pakistani media on Thursday named eight staffers at the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and accused them of carrying out ‘anti-Pakistan activities’, in the latest tit-for-tit action amid raging Indo-Pak tensions.
After Pakistan pulled out six of its officials in the wake of a spy scandal involving staffers of its high commission in New Delhi, sources in the external affairs ministry on Wednesday said India was mulling withdrawal of eight of its diplomats as their security has been “completely compromised”.
Pakistan media had named two Indian officials on Wednesday afternoon.
The Dawn reported that the alleged Indian intelligence personnel, whose cover was blown off in the media leak include commercial counsellor Rajesh Kumar Agnihotri, first secretary, press and culture Balbir Singh, first secretary, commercial Anurag Singh, visa attache Amardeep Singh Bhatti, visa assistants Dharmedra, Vijay Kumar Verma and Madhavan Nanda Kumar, and assistant, personnel welfare office Jayabalan Senthil.
The media leak claimed that the officials were working for either RAW or for the Indian Intelligence Bureau.
The names have, however, not been officially confirmed by the Foreign Office.
The Indian ‘agents’ were found to be involved in “subversive activities’, including attempts to disrupt the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and create fear and chaos in the country”.
They are also alleged to have been building a network of informants within Pakistan and fabricating evidence for tarnishing the country.
The Dawn said these Indian officials could be declared persona non-grata by Pakistani authorities in the coming days or India might withdraw them.
The leak - that has taken the confrontation between the two countries to a new peak -- came after Pakistan was forced to pull out six of its officers and staff posted at the high commission in New Delhi because of Indian claims that four diplomats were working for Pakistani intelligence services.
The withdrawn officers and staffers reached Lahore on Wednesday.
Last week, Pakistan had declared Indian High Commission official Surjeet Singh persona non grata and given him 48 hours to leave the country. Singh’s expulsion followed that of a Pakistani High Commission official in New Delhi, Mehboob Akhtar, on charges of working for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
In March, Pakistan said it had arrested a “serving Indian naval intelligence officer” Kulbhushan Jadhav in Balochistan for allegedly working for RAW.
Relations between the two rivals have been strained since the past few months, following the January 2 terror attack on the Pathankot air base, which India has blamed on militants from Pakistan, and the long unrest in Kashmir Valley, which India has accused Pakistan of fomenting.
The September 18 terror attack on an army camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir, that left 19 soldiers dead further flared tensions, an attack that India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
India has said it carried out “surgical strikes” on terror launch pads in Pakistan as retribution.