Pak likely to pull out 4 high commission staffers from India: Report

Akhtar, who was allegedly procuring details about the deployment of Indian security forces, told Dawn News that his statement had been recorded under duress. In photo: The Pakistan high commission in New Delhi. Photograph:( Others )

PTI New Delhi, India Nov 02, 2016, 07.05 AM (IST)

Pakistan is considering pulling out four officers posted at its high commission in New Delhi days after India declared one of its officials persona non grata for espionage activities, a media report said on Tuesday.

“This is under consideration. A final decision would be taken shortly,” a source at the foreign office was quoted as saying by Dawn News.

The names of the officers — commercial counsellor Syed Furrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Hussain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal — were made public after a recorded statement of high commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar was released to the media, the report said.

Akhtar was expelled from India after being declared persona non grata. Akhtar told Dawn News that he had given the statement under duress.

In a tit-for-tat action, Pakistan had also declared an Indian high commission official as persona non grata after New Delhi’s action against Akhtar following Indian police’s busting of an ISI-run spy ring.

Akhtar, who worked in the visa section of the Pakistan high commission and had diplomatic immunity, was allegedly procuring critical details including about deployment of BSF personnel along the Indo-Pak border from two other accomplices who were arrested in Delhi.

Akhtar and two others — identified as Subhash Jangir and Maulana Ramzan — were picked up from Delhi Zoo last week.

Akhtar was released after about three hours of interrogation since he enjoys diplomatic immunity.

A fourth person, Shoaib, a Jodhpur-based passport and visa agent, was detained by Rajasthan police later.

(PTI)