1. Espionage row: Pakistan media leaks identities of 8 Indian High Commission officials

Espionage row: Pakistan media leaks identities of 8 Indian High Commission officials

It is no secret that Pakistan has opted for a tit-for-tat strategy even as diplomatic tension between India and the neighbouring country has escalated.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: November 3, 2016 4:57 PM
It is no secret that Pakistan has opted for a tit-for-tat strategy even as diplomatic tension between India and the neighbouring country has escalated. (Reuters) It is no secret that Pakistan has opted for a tit-for-tat strategy even as diplomatic tension between India and the neighbouring country has escalated. (Reuters)

It is no secret that Pakistan has opted for a tit-for-tat strategy even as diplomatic tension between India and the neighbouring country has escalated. Now Pakistani media on Thursday has leaked the identities of at least eight officials of the Indian high commission in Islamabad and accused them of carrying out ‘anti-Pakistan activities’. Dawn reported that the alleged Indian intelligence personnel, whose cover was blown 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 either for RAW or for the Intelligence Bureau. The names have, however, not been officially confirmed by the Foreign Office.

Earlier, the Nawaz Sharif government has now asked 3 Indian officials to leave the country, a report said. Earlier, media reports emerging from Islamabad said Pakistan may ask at least two officials of the Indian High Commission to leave the country for their alleged involvement in subversive activities. This has come after as many as six officials in the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi on Wednesday returned home amidst growing tension between the two countries after a Pakistani Mission staffer was caught in an espionage ring and expelled. Though there was no official confirmation on the number of diplomats leaving India, according to Pakistan High Commission sources there were six mission officials who have left or were in the process of leaving.

“The decision has been taken after it became impossible for the officials to work in this vitiated atmosphere,” a source said. “Indian government is threatening and blackmailing our diplomats. So in this condition, it is impossible for us to stay in this country and work,” the sources alleged. According to the sources, those who have left include commercial counsellor Syed Furrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Hussain, Mudassir Cheema, and Shahid Iqbal.

The Pakistani action comes days after India declared Pakistani official Mehmood Akhtar persona non-grata for espionage activities, triggering a tit for tat action from Islamabad, which also expelled an Indian High Commission official there.

Meanwhile, the two officials were identified and their photographs were being flashed by different TV news channels. Geo TV reported that commercial counsellor Rajesh Agnihotri and press counsellor Balbir Singh may be expelled. Citing sources, the channel claimed that Agnihotri was directly linked with RAW while Singh was working for Intelligence Bureau (IB) and they were allegedly using their positions in Pakistan as cover to hide their real identities. The report claimed Singh was also running a network of militants in Pakistan and expelled High Commission official Surgeet Singh was also part of his network.

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