Pak Espionage Busted In Delhi

2 Pakistani diplomats expelled from India on charges of espionage

India sent two Pakistani diplomats back after they were charged with espionage – found leaking and spying on critical information about Indian Army and Railways. A similar incident occurred in 2016, when a Mehmood Akhtar was expelled for running a spy racket.

Crux of the Matter

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.

  • In diplomacy, a persona non grata is a foreign person whose entering or remaining in a particular country is prohibited by that country’s government. Being so named is the most serious form of censure which a country can apply to foreign diplomats.
  • Sarabjit Singh was an Indian national allegedly convicted of terrorism and spying by a Pakistani court. Sarabjit was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1991 and consequently spent 22 years in prison. A biopic titled ‘Sarbjit’ directed by Omung Kumar starring Randeep Hooda, Richa Chadda, and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan released on 20 May 2016.
  • Kulbhushan Sudhir Jadhav is an Indian national who was arrested in the Pakistani province of Balochistan on charges of terrorism and spying for India’s intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing. On 17 July 2019, the International Court of Justice rejected India’s appeal for Jadhav’s release and ordered Pakistan to suspend the execution.