India orders Pakistani embassy staffer to leave for ‘spying’
Pakistan embassy staff member Mehmood Akhtar is declared persona non grata for 'espionage activities' as New Delhi police detain two Indian nationals
India told a Pakistani high commission staff member to leave the country for “espionage activities” after he was found in possession of defense-related documents, a foreign ministry official said on Thursday.
Two Indian nationals, who were suspected to have passed these documents to him, have been arrested.
India on Thursday summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to inform him that the staff member Mehmood Akhtar has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities.
“The Foreign Secretary has summoned the Pakistani High Commissioner to convey that a Pakistani High Commission staffer has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities,” the foreign ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup said.
Local media reported that New Delhi police detained Akhtar before letting him off due to diplomatic immunity.
The two Indians arrested, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir hailing from Rajasthan state, had been working for Akhtar for more than one year, said Ravindra Yadav, Joint Commissioner of Police (crime)
Ramzan and Jangir were apprehended by police at the Delhi zoo on October 25 as they were about to pass documents to Akhtar.
When questioned, Akhtar initially claimed that he was an Indian citizen and even produced a fake ID card bearing the name Mehmood Rajput. When questioned further, he admitted that he was working with the Pakistan High Commission.
Ramzan and Jangir were booked under the Official Secrets Act for passing on documents related to defense strategies to the Pakistan High Commission and were being questioned at Chanakyapuri police station in Delhi.
Akhtar was released because he had diplomatic immunity.
Yadav said the two arrested men were allegedly working for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency and passing defense-related information to Akhtar who has been working with the Pakistan High Commission in India for the past three years.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs expressed its concern to Basit over repeated ceasefire violations committed by the Pakistan army along the border.