Pak­istan with­draws diplo­mats from New Delhi amid ten­sion

Jamaica Gleaner - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

ISLAMABAD (AP): AKISTAN YES­TER­DAY with­drew six diplo­mats from its em­bassy in New Delhi, of­fi­cials said, amid ris­ing ten­sion be­tween the two coun­tries over the dis­puted re­gion of Kash­mir.

In an­other mark of the in­creas­ing an­i­mos­ity and sus­pi­cion be­tween the nu­clear-armed neigh­bours, two Pak­istani of­fi­cials

Psaid that they had un­cov­ered an al­leged “net­work of In­dian spy agen­cies” work­ing at the In­dian em­bassy in Islamabad. They said au­thor­i­ties have sought Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif’s ap­proval to ex­pel a num­ber of In­dian diplo­mats. The of­fi­cials spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of the sen­si­tive na­ture of the is­sue.

In New Delhi, Vikas Swarup, the In­dian Ex­ter­nal Af­fairs Min­istry’s spokesman, con­firmed that six Pak­istani diplo­mats flew back to Islamabad af­ter be­ing with­drawn by their govern­ment. He told The As­so­ci­ated Press that Pak­istan had not yet ex­pelled any In­dian diplo­mats from the coun­try.

Swarup said ear­lier Wed­nes­day that In­dia had sum­moned se­nior Pak­istani diplo­mat Syed Haider Shah to protest cease-fire vi­o­la­tions in Kash­mir.

COM­PET­ING CLAIMS

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.

Akhtar told The As­so­ci­ated Press that he was ar­rested by In­dian po­lice while vis­it­ing the zoo in New Delhi. He said that while in de­ten­tion, he was tor­tured and forced to con­fess on cam­era to work­ing for Pak­istan’s spy agency, the In­terSer­vices In­tel­li­gence.

He said that po­lice hit him with ba­tons and beat him. “My whole body is still in pain,” he said. No In­dian of­fi­cial was im­me­di­ately avail­able to com­ment.

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.

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