Weeks after Pakistani diplomats working in the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi were caught on the charges of espionage, the Indian government has downgraded its diplomatic ties with its western neighbour and asked Islamabad to reduce its staff strength by half in the country within the next 7 days. India would also reduce its own staff in Pakistan by the same proportion.
The decision also came on the heels of the mistreatment meted out to the Indian diplomats in Pakistan, who were abducted by Pakistani security agencies before being tortured and framed in a false case of a road accident and possession of fake currency.
As reported by the Hindustan Times, the proposal to cut down the presence of Pakistani diplomats in India was floated after horrifying details of the torture of Indian diplomats in Pakistan came to light on June 16.
The Ministry of External Affairs on Tuesday summoned Pakistan’s Charge d’ Affaires Syed Haider Shah and informed him about India’s concerns regarding the activities of officials of his mission, who have been involved in espionage and associated with terror outfits.
Earlier, Shah was issued a demarche by the Indian government with regards to a sustained campaign to threaten and intimidate the officials of Indian High Commission in Islamabad from carrying on their legal diplomatic responsibilities.
The MEA said that the officials who had returned on Monday have provided ‘vivid details of the barbarous treatment that they were subjected to by the Pakistani security agencies’.
The Indian and Pakistani counterparts had agreed on the strength of 110 officials in their respective high commissions but the strength has been halved to 55, in the wake to the maltreatment of Indian officials by Pakistani security agencies. As both countries currently have 90 staffers, it means both the countries will have to repatriate 35 officials back.
Pakistani agencies abducted and tortured Indian diplomats in Islamabad
The two Indian High Commission staffers, who were abducted by Pakistan’s ISI and were later released on Monday, were tortured to confess that ‘they were involved in an accident’. As per sources, the two Indian staffers of the High commission working as drivers were picked up by 15-16 armed men at around 8:30-45 am from a fuel station near the high commission.
The ISI officers had blindfolded the two Indian staffers with a rucksack and took them to an unknown location. It was further reported that the sources revealed the abductors made multiple videos in which Indian High Commission officials were forced to confess under coercion that they were involved in an accident.
Armed Pakistani men also forced them to confess that there are “Intelligence officials” inside the Indian High Commission who order them to bring people from outside in their cars for a meet inside the High Commission. The Indian diplomatic officials were repeatedly beaten with rods/wooden sticks, punched and made to drink filthy water.