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Spying Allegations by Pakistan against Indian High Commission Officials in Islamabad are Crude Attempts to Tarnish India’s Image: Sushma Swaraj

Pakistan named eight officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and alleged they were working for the Research and Analysis Wing or the Indian Intelligence Bureau

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Sushma Swaraj , Pakistan
Sushma Swaraj Speaks Out On India-Pak Relations, Asks Pakistan to Stop Promoting Terror. Wikimedia

New Delhi, November 23, 2016: Spying allegations levelled by Pakistan against Indian High Commission officials in Islamabad were a “crude attempt” by the neighbouring country to tarnish India’s image, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has informed the Lok Sabha.

In a written reply, the minister also said that the naming of officials in the media, was a violation of the Vienna Convention.

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Pakistan earlier in November named eight officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad and alleged they were working for the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) or the Indian Intelligence Bureau.

Pakistan’s move came on the heels of India apprehending an official of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for allegedly indulging in anti-India activities.

[bctt tweet=”Indian government has taken a “number of initiatives” to normalise India-Pakistan relations.” username=””]

“The allegations against Indian officials represent an afterthought on the part of Government of Pakistan and constitutes a crude attempt to tarnish the image of India,” Sushma Swaraj said in the written reply.

“The manner in which their names and photographs were prominently published in Pakistani media along with baseless allegation reiterated without any corroboration by Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs is against the Vienna Convention and also violates the norms of established diplomatic practice and courtesies,” she said.

The minister said the officials and their family members were brought back to India in three batches on November 8, 10 and 12.

She also said that the Indian government has taken a “number of initiatives” to normalise India-Pakistan relations.

“Government had taken a number of initiatives to normalise India-Pakistan relations, peacefully and bilaterally, in an environment free from terrorism and violence.

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“At the same time, Government is also resolutely committed to take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the nation and the safety of our citizens,” she said.

In October, Pakistan High Commission official Mehmood Akhtar was apprehended by Indian authorities for allegedly indulging in anti-India activities. He was declared persona non grata on October 28.

The Indian government had summoned the Pakistan High Commissioner on the same day and registered strong protest about the activities of Akhtar, who left India on October 29 along with his family.

On October 28, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry declared Surjeet Singh, Assistant Public Welfare Officer in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad, as persona non grata without providing any justification, “except for the baseless and unsubstantiated allegation that his activities were not in keeping with diplomatic norms”. Surjeet Singh subsequently returned to India on October 29.

On November 2, Pakistan government withdrew six Pakistan High Commission officials, whose names had reportedly appeared in media as a result of the interrogation of Akhtar.

“It was Government of Pakistan’s own decision to withdraw these six officials without any prior communication to the Government of India regarding the same. They left India on November 2, along with 25 family members,” the minister said in her reply.

Pakistan withdrew another two officials on November 16.

On November 2, Pakistani media prominently carried names of eight Indian officials of the High Commission of India, Islamabad Counsellor R.K. Agnihotri, First Secretary Balbir Singh, First Secreatary (Trade) Anurag Singh, Attache Amandeep Singh Bhatti, APWO J. Senthil, and Assistants D. Sodhi, V.K. Verma and M. Nandakumar, along with their photographs.

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The Pakistan media reports alleged that these officials were involved in subversive and terrorist activities in Pakistan.

On November 3, in the weekly media briefing Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs officially released their names and official designations.

“The litany of baseless charges against them was repeated,” she said. (IANS)

Next Story

Congress To Use Tribal Card to Regain Power in the Country

Congress to use tribal card to improve countrywide position

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Congress Chhattisgarh
Congress will be using the tribal card to regain dominance and their plan of action will begin from Chhattisgarh. Wikimedia Commons

BY SANDEEP PAURANIK

In order to regain dominance in the country, the Congress is mulling using the tribal card. This plan of action is to be first implemented in Chhattisgarh.

Riding on the success of the Assembly and urban body elections, the Congress feels that it can increase it base through tribals as they constitute 8 per cent of the total population.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the first three Assembly elections in the state, after its formation in 2000, recorded huge victories and came to power. But after the Assembly elections held last year, the scenario changed. After registering a victory in the Assembly elections and then in the urban body polls, the Congress showed that it still dominates the tribal areas.

Rahul Gandhi Congress
Former President of Congress Rahul Gandhi gave an important message while innaugrating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur. Wikimedia Commons

The Congress gave the responsibility of the tribal areas to the tribal leader of Madhya Pradesh Umang Singhar which eventually helped the party. Now, the party is planning to spread out nationwide through Chhattisgarh.

Former party president Rahul Gandhi, while inaugurating the National Tribal Dance Festival in Raipur, gave a message to the tribals who are here to participate in the festival that the Chhattisgarh government is working for all the sections and this is the reason why there has been a downward trend in naxal attacks and the state economy has also improved.

The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country because the tribal population in the state is 32 per cent.

BJP media panellist Sandeep Sharma, however, claims that the party’s base has not shrunk. He said till Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh were not divided, the Congress was strong in the area but in the elections held after three years of the bifurcation, the BJP won the Assembly elections and was in power for 15 years. Though we faced defeat in the 2018 elections, the only reason was that people wanted a change but they were not angry with the BJP, he claimed.

The BJP won in the Lok Sabha elections and the margin in the urban body elections was also not much. So, it would be inappropriate to say that the BJP’s base has shrunk, he said adding that in one year the Congress’ base has declined by 9 per cent whereas in Assembly elections it got 12 per cent more votes and in urban body elections the margin was 3 per cent.

Congress
The Congress is planning to publicise the improvements in Chhattisgarh throughout the country. Wikimedia Commons

Analysing the political landscape of the state, political analyst Rudra Awasthi said, “When it was Madhya Pradesh then the Congress had stronghold in Chhattisgarh. Several big leaders were also from the state but after the formation of Chhattisgarh since Ajit Jogi was accused of being a fake tribal the Congress lost its stronghold over the tribals. Though it continued to dominate in some of the areas which helped it in regaining the power.

“As of now, the Congress has started including the tribals with the backward class. First Bhupesh Baghel was the state chief of the party and he was replaced by Mohan Markam as he became the Chief Minister. During the Assembly elections, the Congress talked about the identity of the tribals which helped the party. After winning the elections, the decisions of the Congress government were in favour of the tribals which helped the party in the urban body elections,” said Awasthi.

Also Read- Unity in Diversity is the Strength of the Country: Rahul Gandhi

The Congress is mulling over spreading its message to the tribals across the country through the three-day festival going on here. For this several senior leaders of the party will attend the festival and share the government’s schemes while giving the message that the Congress government in the state has brought a positive and a significant change in the lives of the tribals. (IANS)