NEW DELHI: India on Tuesday announced a reduction of staff in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by half within seven days as India is concerned over their conduct. According to MEA officials, the staff at the Pakistan High Commission has been "engaged in acts of espionage and maintained dealings with terrorist organizations". Earlier, the Indian authorities have caught two Pakistan High Commission officials who were trying to spy sensitive documents. Both Abid Hussain and Mohammad Tahir have been declared persona non grata and expelled from India.
MEA officials said that "While their 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 representatives further quoted that the "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."
They said,"Therefore, the Government of India has taken the decision to reduce the staff strength in the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi by 50 percent. It would reciprocally reduce its own presence in Islamabad to the same proportion. This decision, which is to be implemented in seven days, was conveyed to the Pakistani Charge d’Affaires."
Earlier, two Indian High Commission officials who were CISF drivers went missing in Islamabad. Sources say that the Pakistani agencies harassed the officials. The government said, "The officials who have returned to India on June 22, 2020, have provided graphic details of the cruel treatment that they have experienced by the Pakistani agencies."
The ties between India and Pakistan have been severely worsened over the past few years. In 2002, India has taken a similar step and has cut staff strength at its mission in Islamabad and directed Pakistan to reduce its strength in New Delhi.