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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

Women Representation in Lok Sabha as Low as 12 Percent

None of the political parties could implement the promise and the number of women MPs was not even able to reach one-fourth members in the House.

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Since the beginning in 1952, there had been no female Speaker in the House until the 15th Lok Sabha. Pixabay

Slogans of various political parties about empowering Indian women in politics seem to have remained just lip service, if one goes by the statistics.

The case in point is that in the outgoing 16th Lok Sabha, there were only 66 women members out of the total House strength of 543, which makes it just 12 per cent.

This is the situation 67 years after the first general elections.

Had the long-pending legislative proposal to provide 33 per cent reservation for women in the Lok Sabha been passed, it could have ensured at least 179 female members in the Lower House of Parliament.

In the first Lok Sabha formed in 1952, there were 24 women. The number did not change in the second Lok Sabha formed in 1957.

The number increased when the third Lok Sabha (1962-67) was formed with 37 women, according to data available on the Lok Sabha website.

There was a decrease in the numbers in the fourth, fifth and sixth Lok Sabha where 33, 28 and 21 women were elected respectively.

The number again increased to 32 women in the seventh Lok Sabha (1980-84) and in the eighth (1984-89) with 45 women members being elected.

When the Lok Saha was elected in 1989 for the ninth time, the number of women dropped to 28.

Since then, there has been a minor but constant increase in the number of females.

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The number again increased to 32 women in the seventh Lok Sabha (1980-84) and in the eighth (1984-89) with 45 women members being elected. 
Pixabay

The 10th Lok Sabha (1991-96) had 42 female members and the 11th was one less.

The 12th had 44 female MPs, while the 13th and 14th saw equal numbers at 52 females of the total 543 members.

The 15th Lok Sabha (2009-14) saw a major increase: it touched 64 females — about 12 per cent of the total House strength.

The 16th – the outgoing – Lok Sabha had 66 female MPs, two more than the previous term.

Since the beginning in 1952, there had been no female Speaker in the House until the 15th Lok Sabha.

Congress’ Meira Kumar was elected unopposed as the first woman Speaker of Lok Sabha in 2009 and served till 2014. Then, Sumitra Mahajan of BJP became the second female to preside over the 16th Lok Sabha.

Congress on Friday promised to create one crore jobs across the southern state
The Congress made the pledge in its manifestos in 2019, 2014 and 2009. – wikimedia commons

The political parties have been promising 33 per cent reservation to females in legislatures a number of times.

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The Congress made the pledge in its manifestos in 2019, 2014 and 2009. The BJP too made the promise in 2014 and now. The Communist Party of India-Marxist also promised the reservation in its manifestos in 1999, 2009 and 2019.

But none of the political parties could implement the promise and the number of women MPs was not even able to reach one-fourth members in the House. (IANS)