Pakistan retaliates, asks Indian official to leave

Islamabad, Oct 27 (IANS) In a tit-for-tat measure, Pakistan on Thursday night declared Indian High Commission official Surjeet Singh as persona non grata and asked that he leave the country by Saturday.

In a statement, the Foreign Office said that Pakistan Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry had summoned Indian High Commissioner Gautam Bambawale and conveyed the decision to this effect.

The Foreign Secretary also expressed “deep concern” over the activities of the Indian official, which he said, was in violation of the Vienna Convention and the established diplomatic norms.

The Indian High Commission was asked to make necessary arrangements to make Surjeet Singh and his family leave Pakistan by October 29.

The move comes hours after Indian authorities detained a Pakistani High Commission official, Mehmood Akhtar, in New Delhi on charges of running a spy network. The Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar summoned the Pakistani envoy Abdul Basit and asked that Akhtar, a visa officer, be sent back within 48 hours.