Espionage Under Diplomacy Cover
Abid Hussain and Mohammed Tahir working at the consular section of the High Commission of Pakistan at New Delhi were found spying in India. Tahir came to India in 2016, whereas Abid joined the visa facilitation team in 2019. An Indian National was helping them by passing on information to them in exchange for money and an iPhone.
The duo was keen to know the recent Dalit movement. They were under the radar of intelligence agencies after agencies found them talking on the phone about acquiring Indian security establishment documents related to the Indian Army and Railways.
Police investigated them for spying and took them under custody. During interrogation, the duo confessed to working for Pakistan’s ISI. They were using fake IDs to execute work. Their modus operandi involved contacting a person willing to go to Pakistan and facilitating them in the visa process to pass the information. To get information, they often lured top and middle-grade officials through money and honey traps.
Pakistani High Commission intervened and the duo was released from custody. Immediately, India’s Ministry of External Affairs issued a demarche to Pakistan, declared the duo “persona non grata” and ordered them to leave India within 48 hours. Pakistan’s foreign ministry accused of detention and torture as well as threatening and pressuring of the diplomatic officials to accept false charges. It is expected that Pakistan will also take some action over Indian diplomats in Pakistan.
Diplomatic Tension of 2016
Expulsion of diplomats is very frequent between India & Pak. In 2016, Pakistani High Commission Official Mehmood Akhtar expelled as he was accused of running a spy racket. Pak responded with expellusion of Indian High Commision Official Surjeet Singh on same charges within few hours of India’s actions. Few days later Indian media releases names of Pak diplomats quoted by Akhtar in his testimony. As the identity of diplomats were gone public, Pak withdraws 6 diplomats from India. Somehow, on same night info leaked and Pak media releases names of Indian Diplomats. So India had to withdraw 8 diplomats from Pak.