Five more Indian High Commission officials have left Pakistan, Islamabad’s security officials told PTI on Thursday. The development follows reports that three Indian High Commission officials left Islamabad by flight to return to India via Dubai on Tuesday. The officials are among the several Indians diplomats accused by the Pakistani government of being agents of India’s intelligence agencies.
The announcement comes amid speculation that India and Pakistan are planning to recall their envoys as a result of the fracas that began with India declaring Pakistani High Commission official Mehmood Akhtar ”persona non grata” on October 27. He was subsequently expelled from the country.
On November 3, Pakistan had listed eight Indian High Commission staffers as members of New Delhi’s intelligence agencies and accused them of indulging in “subversive activities”. Pakistan had alleged that the eight staffers were “supporting terrorist activities in Balochistan and Sindh, sabotaging the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, and fueling instability in the two provinces”. The announcement came after India declared four Pakistani High Commission employees spies, which Islamabad claims compromised their security.
On Wednesday, the spokesperson for the External Affairs Ministry, Vikas Swarup, had said that India had lodged a protest with the Pakistani deputy high commissioner regarding the country prominently displaying photographs of the eight officials in newspapers “in the wake of the factually incorrect allegations made by the government of Pakistan”. He emphasised that it was “against basic norms of diplomatic practices and courtesy”, in addition to potentially endangering the security and safety of the officials in Islamabad.
Relations between India and Pakistan have worsened since the militant attack on the Indian Army’s camp in Kashmir’s Uri sector on September 18. Also, incidents of ceasefire violations have increased since the Indian Army said it conducted surgical strikes along the LoC, targeting terror launchpads in Pakistan.