India asks Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi to reduce staff strength by 50%

New Delhi (NVI): India has decided to reduce the staff strength at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by 50 per cent, days after two Pakistani officials at the embassy were caught red-handed for their involvement in espionage activities and were deported.

The Indian foreign ministry today summoned the Charge d’ Affaires of Pakistan here and informed that India had repeatedly expressed concern about the activities of officials of his High Commission, the MEA said.

“They have been engaged in acts of espionage and maintained dealings with terrorist organizations. The activities of the two officials caught red-handed and expelled on 31 May 2020 was one example in that regard,” the MEA said in a statement.

India would reciprocally reduce its own presence in Islamabad to the same proportion. The decision, which is to be implemented in seven days, was conveyed to the Pakistani Charge d’Affaires Haider Shah.

In an official statement, MEA said that While Pakistani officials indulged in actions that are not in conformity with their privileged status in the High Commission, Pakistan has in parallel engaged in 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 in that 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,” the foreign ministry said.

The behaviour of Pakistan and its officials is not in conformity with the Vienna Convention and bilateral agreements on the treatment of diplomatic and consular officials. On the contrary, it is an intrinsic element of a larger policy of supporting cross-border violence and terrorism, it added.