Pakistan, India may recall envoys, says Pakistani daily

Islamabad/New Delhi, Nov 4 (IANS) Adding to the already frayed bilateral relations, a Pakistani daily on Friday said that India and Pakistan may temporarily recall their High Commissioners from either country in the wake of a diplomatic stand-off. However, Indian official sources have dismissed the report as “pure fabrication”.

The bilateral diplomatic tension intensified over allegations of espionage levelled against some officials posted in the respective high commissions in New Delhi and Islamabad, the Express Tribune quoted an unnamed official as saying.

Reacting to the Pakistani media report, official sources in New Delhi dismissed it as “pure fabrication”.

The Pakistani daily said the downslide in ties, which have already deteriorated since the attack on an Indian military base in Uri town of Jammu and Kashmir in September, could also lead to a “scaling down” of the strength of diplomatic staff by the two neighbours.

The bilateral spat started after an official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi was detained for questioning over espionage charges last week. Mahmood Akhtar, a visa officer, was later termed persona non grata.

Akhtar’s recorded confession was later leaked to the media, which implicated other Pakistani staffers in the High Commission, the daily said.

The identities of at least six Pakistan High Commission officials was revealed in the Indian media, jeopardising their security, the daily said. The move prompted Pakistan to withdraw them from New Delhi on Wednesday.

Pakistan retaliated by naming eight Indian High Commission officials, accusing them of working for the Indian spy agency RAW and for the Intelligence Bureau and indulging in “subversive activities”.

India has termed the naming of the officials as a “tit for tat” move.

New Delhi has withdrawn the officials from Islamabad.

–IANS

ahm/sar/rn

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