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Archive for Pakistan

Newsline: 38 Indian embassy officials in Pakistan reach border to return home

After India asked Pakistan to reduce its diplomatic staff in India by half following the detention of two Pakistani spies this month, Pakistan sent back over three dozen Indian officials to India in a clear tit-for-tat response. As many as 38 Indian High Commission officials, including six diplomats, reached the Wagah border to return home. The officials reached the border in two buses and a truck. Among them were a first secretary, two second secretaries and three attaches. (https://www.timesnownews.com/india/article/38-indian-embassy-officials-in-pakistan-reach-attari-wagah-border-to-return-home/614170) Meanwhile, around 143 officials of Pakistan High Commission in India also reached the Attari-Wagah border to return to their own country. While speaking to media, Protocol Officer Arun Pal Singh said, “As per our information, 143 people have reached Wagah Border to go to Pakistan. They are Pakistani citizens, who used to work at the Pakistani Embassy in New Delhi.”

Newsline: India, Pakistan to expel embassy staff in tit-for-tat spy row

India said it would expel half the staff in Pakistan’s embassy in New Delhi over alleged spying by officials there, prompting Islamabad to say it would respond in kind. Relations between the nuclear-armed rivals are strained and tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats, often on charges of espionage, are common. Neither country has a permanent ambassador in place and in the last month each country has accused the other of illegally detaining and torturing its diplomats. “They (Pakistan) have been engaged in acts of espionage and maintained dealings with terrorist organisations,” the Indian foreign ministry said in a statement. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-india-pakistan/india-pakistan-to-expel-embassy-staff-in-tit-for-tat-spy-row-idUSKBN23U1XR) In response, Pakistan’s foreign ministry said its staff had acted lawfully, and that it would expel half of India’s embassy in Islamabad “as a reciprocal measure”. India earlier said it intended to voluntarily cut staff at its embassy in Islamabad by the same amount. Both countries said the affected officials had been asked to leave within a week.

Newsline: Pakistan summons Indian diplomat to condemn truce violations

Pakistan on Sunday summoned Indian top diplomat and registered a strong protest over ceasefire violations by the Indian forces along the Line of Control (LoC), leaving one civilian martyred and two others critically injured. According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Indian Charge d’Affaires Gaurav Ahluwalia was summoned by Director General (South Asia and Saarc) Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri to protest the “indiscriminate and unprovoked” firing by the Indian forces in in Hajipir and Bedori sectors of the LoC. (https://tribune.com.pk/story/2247490/1-pakistan-summons-indian-diplomat-condemn-truce-violations/) The Indian forces along the LoC and the Working Boundary (WB) have been continuously targeting civilian populated areas with artillery fire, heavy-caliber mortars and automatic weapons, the FO said, adding that India has committed 1,440 ceasefire violations to date, resulting in 13 shahadats and serious injuries to 104 innocent civilians.

Newsline: Pakistan releases Indian diplomats but claims they had fake currency

In a day-long drama, two Indian High Commission staffers who had gone missing while on official duties on Monday morning in the Pakistani Capital Islamabad in what is believed to be retaliatory action by the Pakistani establishment were released late in the evening and handed back to the Indian High Commission after claims by the Pakistani police that they were involved in a road accident or hit-and-run case. The Pakistani Police claimed that they caused injuries to a person and were also in possession of fake currency to the tune of Rs 10,000. The fake currency charge against them is being seen as the “serious” one that will make it untenable for them to stay in that country further. There were also some reports that the two staffers may have sustained some injuries while being in the custody. Hours before their release, India in the evening had summoned Pakistani Charge d’Affaires Syed Haidar Shah and issued a demarche, demanding their immediate return along with the car of the Indian High Commission, with Government sources saying the demarche “made clear that there should be no interrogation or harassment of the Indian officials” and that “the responsibility for the safety and security of the concerned diplomatic personnel lay squarely with the Pakistani authorities”. (https://www.deccanchronicle.com/world/neighbours/160620/pakistan-releases-two-missing-indian-staffers.html) The Pakistani action is being seen as retaliation by Islamabad after two Pakistan High Commission officials were asked to leave India late last month after being caught carrying out espionage activities. According to some reports, the two Indian High Commission staffers belonged to the paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and were on deputation.

Newsline: MEA summons Pakistan diplomat after two Indian embassy officials go missing

India on Monday summoned the Pakistan charge d’affaires and lodged a strong protest to him over the reported arrest of two officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad. Pakistani media reported that two Indian staffers, who went missing on Monday morning, were arrested by Pakistani authorities for their alleged involvement in a “hit and run accident”. Official sources said the Pakistan charge d’affaires (CDA) was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs and a demarche was issued to him over the reported arrest of the two officials. (https://www.business-standard.com/article/current-affairs/mea-summons-pakistan-diplomat-after-two-indian-embassy-officials-go-missing-120061501019_1.html) The sources said the Pakistan side was asked to return the two officials along with the official car to the High Commission immediately. In the morning, the two staffers in Islamabad went missing following which India took up the matter with the Pakistan Foreign Office. The two staffers went out of the High Commission in a vehicle for official duty at around 8:30 Am (IST), but did not reach their destination, the sources said. The incident comes two weeks after India expelled two Pakistan High Commission officials here on charges of espionage.

Newsline: India accuses two Pakistan embassy officials of spying

Two Pakistani embassy staff accused of spying have been expelled from India, Indian officials said. Two officials of the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi were apprehended today by Indian law enforcement authorities for indulging in espionage activities,” a statement from the Indian external affairs ministry said. The statement added that the officials had been declared persona non grata “for indulging in activities incompatible with their status as members of a diplomatic mission.” They have been asked to leave the country within 24 hours. (https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/01/asia/india-pakistan-diplomats-expelled-spying-intl-hnk/index.html) The ministry also issued Pakistan’s charge d’affaires with a demarche — a formal diplomatic message — lodging a strong protest against the two officials and asking to ensure that “no member of its diplomatic mission should indulge in activities inimical to India or behave in a manner incompatible with their diplomatic status.” Pakistan’s foreign ministry in Islamabad swiftly condemned the diplomats’ expulsion and accused India of violating the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. “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.” The statement did not go into details about the torture it alleged took place. Pakistan’s foreign ministry said the two men had since been released “on intervention by the High Commission.” 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.” It said the Indian envoy was summoned and issued a demarche of its own, condemning the “baseless Indian allegations.”

Newsline: Pakistan Embassy in UAE warns community against agents selling ‘special flights’ ticket

The Pakistan Embassy has warned community members of a ticket scam as some unscrouplous travel agents are offering to book tickets on ‘special flights’ from the UAE to Pakistan. “Flights between the UAE and Pakistan are suspended and there is no announcement of any special flights from UAE to Pakistan so far,” said a statement issued by the Embassy. The statement says that the embassy would announce if there is any plan to operate any special flights. There will also be a formal announcement whenever the normal flight operation between the UAE and Pakistan resumes. “This is to inform Pakistani community members in the UAE that some agents are offering tickets for ‘special flights’ from the UAE to Pakistan. Beware of such people and instead contact the respective airlines to confirm the flights before purchasing any tickets,” the embassy statement further read. (https://gulfnews.com/uae/beware-pakistan-embassy-in-uae-warns-community-against-agents-selling-special-flights-ticket-1.70850628) The Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai also warned the community on its twitter handle. “Pakistan Consulate General in Dubai has not announced any special flight to Pakistan of any airline yet. The consulate will not be responsible for any such ticket purchases,” the Consulate tweeted both in Urdu and English.

Newsline: 75 staffers of US Embassy in Pakistan leave in haste fearing COVID-19

As coronavirus outbreak was accelerating in the country, some 75 staffers of US Embassy in Pakistan took a special flight to Georgia in haste, fearing the COVID-19 crisis may get worse due to a lack of equipment for medics. (https://www.brecorder.com/2020/03/23/582605/seven-5-staffers-of-us-embassy-leave-in-haste-for-georgia/) The US Embassy staff’s special flight took off from Islamabad International Airport after one of its staffers was quarantined in Islamabad on March 21, creating panic among other embassy officials, who left via a special plane to save themselves from catching the disease. It could not be confirmed whether the patient-who had been quarantined after being diagnosed with coronavirus-also left for the US along with 75 staffers or still in Pakistan as US Embassy is reluctant to share the details of its staffer, who has been diagnosed with COVID-19. The United States State Department has allowed diplomatic or consular staff and their families in Pakistan to leave on a voluntary basis “who have determined they are at a higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19″, said a statement posted on US Embassy’s website.

Newsline: Pakistan embassy in China asks nationals to register amid coronavirus scare

Pakistan has urged its nationals residing in China to register themselves with its embassy in Beijing as the flight operations resumed between the two countries amid the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed 425 lives. A public notice was put out on Pakistan Embassy”s website on Sunday after several students in China contacted Pakistani TV channels and complained that the embassy had no proper database about its citizens in China. “All Pakistani nationals residing in China are kindly requested to register themselves and their family members with the Embassy of Pakistan as early as possible,” according to the notice. (https://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/pak-embassy-in-china-asks-its-nationals-to-register-amid-coronavirus-scare/1725741) It said that the registration can be made by filling electronic forms given at the embassy’s website. The Pakistan Foreign Office said that nearly 30,000 Pakistani students, including 500 in Wuhan, were in China, apart from many business persons. While India, the US, Sri Lanka and many other countries evacuated their nationals from Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, Pakistan has declined pleas by its stranded citizens in the city to airlift them. Pakistan”s Ambassador to China Naghmana Hashmi on Sunday said that Pakistani students should not be evacuated from Wuhan as the medical facilities back home did not meet the standards required to treat a patient diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Newsline: Pakistan summons Norway’s ambassador over burning of Quran

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry says it has summoned Norway’s ambassador to convey the deep concern of the government and Pakistani people over the recent burning of Islam’s holy book by a Norwegian man that was caught on video. In a statement, the ministry said: “Such actions hurt the sentiments of 1.3 billion Muslims around the world.” (https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/pakistan-summons-norways-ambassador-burning-quran-67252473) The statement demanded action against the person in the city of Kristiansand who desecrated the Quran at an anti-Islam rally last week. Pakistan’s reaction comes after video surfaced on social media showing a non-Muslim man burning the book. In the video, a Muslim youth is seen jumping over a fence and kicking the person burning the Quran. The incident drew nationwide condemnation, with many Pakistanis praising the youth as a hero for defending the Quran.