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39 Pakistani diplomats, 104 staff and family members return home

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New Delhi: Thirty-nine Pakistani diplomats and 104 staff and family members crossed over to their country through the Wagah border on Tuesday, after India scaled down diplomatic ties last week and announced a reduction in staff by 50% in seven days. India recalled from Pakistan a total of 38 individuals, including diplomats, their family members and staff. Among the diplomats India recalled from Islamabad were a first secretary, two second secretaries and three attaches, ET has learnt. The Indians travelled in hired vehicles from Islamabad to Wagah and immediately crossed over.

Pakistan furnished passport details of 143 individuals to facilitate their travel from Attari to Wagah. In the wake of the pandemic, its high commission requested for additional immigration counters for staff and custom clearances of household items. Islamabad asked its diplomatic staff to make own transport arrangements from Wagah to their homes. They have been given a month’s leave from duty.

The move to downgrade diplomatic ties followed repeated concerns India had raised about espionage activities of officials in the high commission. On May 31, two officials were declared persona-non-grata after they were caught spying in the Capital. The suspects identified as Tahir Khan and Abid Hussain worked as visa assistants and were held while meeting contacts in Delhi. They tried to extract information on the Indian Army and railways, it is learnt. Tahir had arrived to India in 2016 and Abid joined the visa facilitation team last year. Soon after the two were deported, two officials at Indian high commission in Islamabad were harassed and abducted at gunpoint.


Source :economictimes.indiatimes.com

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