India has rejected Pakistan’s contention that two high commission staffers were detained on unsubstantiated charges and tortured, people familiar with developments told Hindustan Times, adding that the officials “were caught red-handed while indulging in spying”.
New Delhi on Sunday expelled two junior officials of the Pakistan High Commission after they were detained during an operation by the Delhi Police and Military Intelligence while allegedly trying to obtain classified documents on security installations.
The officials were identified as Abid Hussain Abid, 42, an assistant in the Pakistani mission, and Mohammad Tahir Khan, 44, a clerk.
Pakistan condemned India’s decision to declare the two officials persona non grata and to expel them, saying they were detained on false and unsubstantiated charges. A statement from Pakistan’s Foreign Office (FO) also contended that the two men were tortured and threatened to “accept false charges” despite identifying themselves as diplomatic staff.
The FO said the Indian action was in clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as the norms of diplomatic conduct.
“The High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi has always worked within the parameters of international law and diplomatic norms. The Indian action is clearly aimed at shrinking diplomatic space for the working of Pakistan High Commission,” it said.
The FO said that the Indian ploy to heighten tensions would fail in diverting attention from the ongoing internal and external issues faced by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government or from the worsening situation and gross human rights violations being perpetrated by the Indian forces in occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
It again called on the world to take note of the Indian designs and play its role in ensuring peace and security in South Asia.
“The assertions of the Pakistan FO are false. The two officials were caught red-handed while indulging in espionage activities,” said one of the people cited above, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“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,” the person added.
The Pakistani mission was immediately informed and the two men were handed over, the person said.
“They were never subjected to any torture. They have also undergone medical examinations. Pakistan appears to be making false accusations and possibly creating ground for some tit for tat reaction and torture of Indian officials in Islamabad,” they said.
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