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Iran Press TV

Pakistan expels India diplomat in tit-for-tat move

Iran Press TV

Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:48AM

Pakistan has declared an Indian diplomat persona non grata and given him 48 hours to leave the country, in a tit-for-tat move that comes a day after India said it would deport a Pakistani official.

Pakistan's Foreign Ministry said it had declared Indian diplomat Surjeet Singh persona non grata and that it had informed India's diplomatic mission in Islamabad of the decision.

The statement said Singh was accused of activities "that were in violation of the Vienna Convention and the established diplomatic norms."

An aide to India's prime minister in New Delhi said the Indian government was looking into the matter.

The decision came after India said on Thursday it had declared a Pakistani consular official persona non grata for "espionage activities" against New Delhi.

Mehmood Akhtar, the visa official at the Pakistani mission, had been briefly detained by Indian police on Wednesday outside the gates to the Delhi Zoo where he met two Indian associates.

Indian police said the Pakistani diplomat and his alleged accomplices were found in possession of forged documents, defense-related maps, deployment charts and lists of officers working along India's border with Pakistan.

Pakistan's High Commission in New Delhi dismissed the allegation, saying it "never engages in any activity that is incompatible with its diplomatic status."

Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained in recent months, with New Delhi blaming Islamabad for a raid on an army base in Indian-controlled Kashmir in September that killed 19 soldiers.

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan but claimed in full by both since the two countries gained independence from Britain in 1947. They have fought four wars with each other, three of which have been over Kashmir.

'Indian soldier, civilian killed in Kashmir'

An Indian paramilitary officer claimed that Pakistani troops had opened fire along the volatile frontier in Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing a civilian and a soldier. Pakistan's army denied the claim.

The Indian officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Pakistani soldiers fired mortars and automatic gunfire at several border posts in Jammu region on Friday in an "unprovoked" violation of a ceasefire accord between India and Pakistan in the disputed region.

Troops from the two countries regularly trade fire, causing casualties.

On Thursday, protesters in Kashmir and Pakistan observed the Black Day, demonstrating against what they called Indian occupation.

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