New Delhi: Eight Indian diplomats will be withdrawn from Pakistan as their identity has been compromised after reports in the local media, the External Affairs Ministry has said, as reported by NDTV.
“They have put in the public domain eight names and six of these people went today. We will eventually withdraw all eight,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
He said the diplomats had been “completely compromised” after their names and pictures were put in the public domain. Earlier, Pakistani media reported that Islamabad may expel as many as five Indian diplomats suspected of spying.
The decision came hours after Pakistan pulled out four officials posted from its High Commission in New Delhi. The four had reportedly been named by Pakistani high commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar, who had been caught and expelled for espionage.
Following Akhtar’s expulsion, Pakistan retaliated by expelling an Indian official, Surjeet Singh.
Akhtar, 35, was caught by the police at the Delhi zoo while receiving sensitive intel and documents from two men from Rajasthan. Police said he had been recruited by Pakistani Inter-Services intelligence or ISI three years ago and later posted in the High Commission in Delhi. He worked in the Visa section, allegedly so he could recruit potential spies.
During his interrogation by Delhi Police and intelligence agencies, Akhtar had claimed 16 other employees of the diplomatic mission were in touch with spies for extracting sensitive information and documents pertaining to army and Border Security Force or BSF deployment, said a senior police officer privy to the probe.
His claims are still being verified and, if found to be true, the police might write to the Ministry of External Affairs to take the matter forward, the officer said.