File photo Photograph:( Reuters )
Abid Hussain and Tahir Hussain, working in the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission, were nabbed while they were engaged in an unwanted anti-India activity.
Two officials at Pakistan High Commission in Delhi were caught spying by Indian authorities on Sunday.
Abid Hussain and Tahir Hussain, working in the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission, were nabbed while they were engaged in a unwanted anti-India activity. They used to roam around assuming fake Indian identities.
India has declared them persona non grata and has asked them to leave the country within 24 hours.
Explaining how the two officials were apprehended by "Indian law enforcement authorities for indulging in espionage activities", the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in a release said, "The Government has declared both these officials persona non grata for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission and asked them to leave the country within 24 hours."
The Pakistani Charge de Affaires was issued a demarche in which India strongly protested "with regard to the activities of these officials" and "asked to ensure that no member of its diplomatic mission should indulge in activities inimical to India or behave in a manner incompatible with their diplomatic status."
The last time such an incident happened was in 2016.
India had then declared one Pakistan High Commission official Mehmood Akhtar as persona non grata after he was apprehended by Indian law enforcement authorities while receiving sensitive documents.
During his interrogation, Akhtar revealed that he belonged to Baloch Regiment of Pakistan Army and joined Pakistan's spy agency Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) on deputation. He had been posted at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi since September 2013.
The Pakistan High Commissioner was then summoned by the Foreign Secretary with India registering a strong protest on the activities of Mehmood Akhtar.
That day itself, in an apparent tit-for-tat, Pakistan declared an Assistant Personnel and Welfare Officer in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad Surjeet Singh as persona non grata.
(The story has been updated.)