Pak mission staffer declared persona non-grata over espionage

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India today declared a Pakistan High Commission staffer as persona non-grata for espionage activities after he was caught by Delhi Police with sensitive defence documents including deployment details of BSF along the Indo-Pak border.

Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to his office to convey India’s action following brief detention of the staffer who was later released.

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“Foreign Secretary summoned Pak High Commissioner to convey that Pak High Commission staffer has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities,” said Vikas Swarup, spokesperson of Ministry of External Affairs.

Basit strongly protested with Indian Foreign Secretary the “detention and manhandling” of Pakistan High Commission staffer yesterday in violation of 1961 Vienna Convention, according to Pakistan Foreign Office.

The Pakistani envoy also strongly rejected the accusations, terming them “false and unsubstantiated”.

Acting on inputs, Delhi Police crime branch took the staffer identified as Mehmood Akhtar in custody after he was found in possession of certain defence documents. Akhtar was released after questioning as he enjoys diplomatic immunity, police said.

The crime branch has also arrested two persons, residents of Rajasthan, for allegedly passing on sensitive information to Akhtar, they said.

“The alleged spies are residents of Rajasthan working for Pakistan’s ISI. They were in touch with the staff here at Pakistan High Commission and were providing sensitive information,” said a senior police officer.

Those arrested have been identified as Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, he said.

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