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June 2, 2020

Expulsion of Pak HC staff: Pakistan condemns detention, torture of its officials

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June 2, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Monday summoned India’s acting high commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia to hand over a protest note in the wake of New Delhi expelling two Pakistani diplomatic staff against Vienna Convention, foreign media reported.

“The Indian Charge d’Affaires was summoned to the Foreign Office for a strong demarche, conveying Pakistan’s condemnation of the Indian decision to declare two officials of the high commission for Pakistan in New Delhi persona non grata and rejection of all baseless Indian allegations against the officials," a statement from the Foreign Office said.

“It was conveyed that the Indian action was in clear violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the diplomatic norms," the statement said.

"Two staff members of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi were lifted by the Indian authorities today (31 May 2020) on false and unsubstantiated charges," the statement said.

"We condemn the detention and torture as well as threatening and pressuring of the diplomatic officials to accept false charges."

Pakistan's foreign ministry said the decision to declare the two persona non grata was "accompanied by a negative pre-planned and orchestrated media campaign, which is a part of persistent anti-Pakistan propaganda."

Tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats between India and Pakistan are common, particularly when tensions over the Indian Occupied Kashmir are high.

Meanwhile, retired Pakistani army officer, Lt. Gen. Talat Masood said that the practice of expelling diplomats has moved into a "more severe dimension."

"It's a time when both countries should be focusing on the pandemic, on the crisis within. Instead hostilities are now broadening and becoming more regional," he said.

The move comes as relations between the nuclear-armed South Asian neighbors remain fraught.

On Monday, Pakistan sought to frame the move against the High Commission officials as an attempt on India's part to divert attention away from domestic political issues and the situation in Kashmir. "Indian attempts to escalate the tensions will not succeed," the Pakistani foreign ministry statement said.