Miffed India tells Pakistan: Downsize High Commission staff within one week
New Delhi: Retaliating to the illegal custody and “barbaric treatment” last week of two Indian High Commission staffers in Islamabad by Pakistani security agencies after being “abducted at gunpoint”, India — during a major decision on Tuesday — asked Pakistan to scale back its staff at its High Commission in New Delhi by half within every week . New Delhi said it might reduce its own staff in Islamabad by an equivalent 50 percent proportion.
The decision was communicated to Pakistani Charge d’Affaires Syed Haidar Shah, who was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) on Tuesday. This marks an extra sharp downward spiral in Indo-Pak ties. New Delhi seems to possess been infuriated by the “graphic details of the barbaric treatment” that the 2 staffers narrated after their return to India through the Attari-Wagah land border in Punjab on Monday. the 2 had been abducted and tortured in illegal custody for several hours by Pakistani security agencies last Monday and therefore the MEA had said last week that the 2 had suffered grievous injuries while being physically assaulted.
Pointing out how two Pakistani High Commission officials had been expelled from India late last month after being caught red-handed while completing espionage, New Delhi mentioned the “sustained campaign”of Pakistani agencies to intimidate the officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad from carrying on with their legitimate diplomatic functions. India also pointed how such behaviour by Pakistan was “not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials” but rather “an intrinsic element of a bigger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism”. New Delhi also accused officials of the Pakistan High Commission of maintaining dealings with terrorist organisations.
On Tuesday, the MEA said, “The Charge d’ Affaires of Pakistan was summoned today to the Ministry of External Affairs and informed that India had repeatedly expressed concern about the activities of officials of his High Commission . they need been engaged in acts of espionage and maintained dealings with terrorist organisations. The activities of the 2 officials caught red-handed and expelled on 31 May 2020 was one example therein regard.”
The MEA added, “While their officials indulged in actions that aren’t in conformity with their privileged status within the High Commission , Pakistan has in parallel engaged during a sustained campaign to intimidate the officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad from carrying on their legitimate diplomatic functions. The recent abduction at gunpoint of two Indian officials and their severe ill treatment underlines the extent to which Pakistan has gone therein direction. These officials who have returned to India on 22 June 2020 have provided graphic details of the barbaric treatment that they experienced at the hands of Pakistani agencies.”
New Delhi further said, “The behaviour of Pakistan and its officials isn’t in conformity with the Vienna Convention and bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials. On the contrary, it’s an intrinsic element of a bigger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism. Therefore, the govt of India has taken the choice to scale back the staff strength within the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by 50%. it might reciprocally reduce its own presence in Islamabad to an equivalent proportion. This decision, which is to be implemented in seven days, was conveyed to the Pakistani Charge d’Affaires.”
In a late-evening reaction, Pakistan rejected India’s allegations and successively summoned the Indian Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad to ask New Delhi to also reduce the Indian High Commission’s staff in Islamabad by 50 percent as a “reciprocal measure” within every week . Incidentally, New Delhi had already declared earlier within the evening that it might also reduce the Indian High Commission’s staff by half in Islamabad. consistent with sources, both the diplomatic missions currently have about 110 personnel each in each other’s Capital.(FA9News)