In an apparent retaliatory move, Pakistan on Thursday declared Indian High Commission staffer in Islamabad Surjeet Singh as persona-non-grata. The move comes less than 24 hours after India detained a Pakistani official on espionage charges. Pakistan government’s decision was conveyed to Indian High Commission in Islamabad in the evening. Earlier today, Delhi Police had arrested Pakistani High Commission official Mehmood Akhtar for possession of defence papers regarding the deployment of BSF among other subjects. However, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit denied the charges. He asked the Indian government to ensure that no such ‘harassment’ should happen in the future. Mehmood was later released as he was in India on a diplomatic passport. He was also asked to leave the country immediately.
Basit protested with FS Jaishankar against the “detention and manhandling of Mehmood Akhtar” and said that that it was in direct violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police said that Mehmood Akhtar was earlier a havildar in the Baloch regiment of Pakistan Army and was later hired by the ISI. He was working with the visa department of the Pakistan High Commission.
The move by Pakistani authorities against the staffer of the Indian High Commission there is in retaliation for the Indian government’s earlier action.