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Persona non grata declared Indian diplomat leaves Pakistan

Persona non grata declared Indian diplomat leaves Pakistan

Expelled Indian diplomat of the Indian High Commission, Surjeet Singh, left Pakistan to return to India on Friday night.

Foreign Secretary Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry had summoned the Indian High Commissioner earlier this week to convey the decision of the Government of Pakistan to declare Indian diplomat Surjeet Singh as persona non grata.

Aizaz had expressed deep concern over the activities of the Indian diplomat that were in violation of the Vienna Convention and established diplomatic norms.

The decision to expel Surjeet Singh had come a few hours after India decided to expel a Pakistani high commission staff member, Mehmood Akhtar, for “espionage activities”.

The Indian foreign secretary had summoned Pakistani ambassador to India Abdul Basit to inform him that a Pakistan High Commission staffer has been declared persona non grata for espionage activities.

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit “strongly protested with Indian Foreign Secretary at the detention and manhandling of Pakistan High Commission staff,” a spokesperson of the Pakistan High commission in Delhi said at the time.

The high commissioner also said the detention contravened the 1961 Vienna Convention.

Tense relations amid expulsion of Indian diplomat

The expulsion of the two officials comes amidst soaring tensions between Pakistan and India in the wake of a spate of cross-border firing which has caused casualties on either sides.

The Indian prime minister stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically after the Uri army base attack last month.

Hours after the attack occurred, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed Pakistan a ‘terrorist state’. India also accused Pakistan of involvement in the attack.

The Uri attack occurred days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was set to address the United Nations General Assembly regarding Indian human rights violations in held Kashmir.

Following the attack, India claimed to have conducted a cross-border ‘surgical strike’ against ‘launch pads of terror’ in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan has strongly rejected.

Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert the world’s attention away from ‘atrocities’ committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.

Pakistan and India have locked horns over the Kashmir issue since Indian forces stepped up a crackdown against protesters after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by government forces in July.

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