Tuesday 20 March 2018

Pakistan withdraws six diplomats from New Delhi amid Kashmir tension

Pakistan is also seeking to expel Indian diplomats (AP)
Pakistan is also seeking to expel Indian diplomats (AP)

Pakistan has withdrawn six of its diplomats working at the Pakistani embassy in New Delhi amid increasing tension between the two countries over the disputed Kashmir territory.

Two Pakistani officials said Pakistan has unearthed a "network of Indian spy agencies" working at the Indian embassy in Islamabad.

Authorities have also sought Pakistani prime minister Nawaz Sharif's permission to expel some Indian diplomats.

In New Delhi, Vikas Swarup, the Indian external affairs ministry's spokesman, confirmed that six Pakistani diplomats flew back to Islamabad on Wednesday after being withdrawn by their government.

Last week, each side expelled one of the other government's diplomats as well.

Mr Swarup said earlier that India had summoned senior Pakistani diplomat Syed Haider Shah in protest over ceasefire violations in Kashmir.

Last week, India expelled Pakistani diplomat Mahmood Akhtar from the embassy in New Delhi after detaining him on espionage charges. Within hours, Islamabad retaliated by expelling Indian diplomat Sujeel Singh.

Mr Akhtar said he was arrested by Indian police while visiting the zoo in New Delhi. He added that while in detention he was tortured and beaten, and forced to confess on camera to working for Pakistan's spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence.

India has issued no comment over the claims.

The diplomatic spat has grown out of rising violence in Kashmir, a mountainous region claimed by both countries and divided into Pakistani and Indian-controlled regions.

Several troops from both sides have died in recent skirmishes along the Line of Control, which demarcates the two parts of Kashmir.

A number of militant attacks in Indian-controlled Kashmir have added to the tension.

Two of the three wars between India and Pakistan since 1947 have been fought over their competing claims to Kashmir.


Press Association

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News