New Delhi: India today told a Pakistani diplomat to leave the country by Saturday for running a spy ring after he was caught receiving secret information about Indian military deployments from two Indians who were arrested. A third accomplice was caught later.
Pakistan denied the espionage charges as “false and unsubstantiated”, alleging that Indian police “manhandled” Mehmood Akhtar, a visa officer at the Pakistan High Commission. His expulsion could deepen tensions between the two countries over Kashmir and cross-border terrorism.
External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar summoned Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit to inform “that India had intercepted an official of the High Commission in the pursuit of espionage and that he was being declared persona non grata”.
“The Pakistan High Commission has been informed that Akhtar and his family must return to Pakistan by October 29 (Saturday),” Swarup said.
Akhtar, detained on Wednesday and let off because of diplomatic immunity, had served in the mission for over two years during which he recruited Indians to spy for Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Delhi Police Joint Commissioner Ravindra Yadav said.
He was caught near the Delhi Zoo receiving defence-related vital information from two Indian nationals, Maulana Ramzan and Subhash Jangir, who were also allegedly working for the ISI, Yadav said.