India, Pak May ‘Temporarily’ Recall Top Envoys: Pak Daily

The report also says the staff strength will be cut down.

2 min read
(Photo: PTI)

The India-Pakistan diplomatic ties might take a further dip as both countries may temporarily recall their high commissioners and cut down their staff, according to media reports in Pakistan.

A report by Pakistani newspaper The Express Tribune states that the “scaling down of the strength of diplomatic staff by the two neighbours” is attributed to the heightened tensions after the Uri attack.

Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit and his Indian counterpart Gautam Bambewala
Pakistani High Commissioner Abdul Basit and his Indian counterpart Gautam Bambewala

On Thursday, eight diplomats had been recalled by India after their identities were revealed by the local media in Pakistan. The revelations were slammed by India with the MEA spokesman Vikas Swarup saying that the officials had been “falsely implicated”.

A day before, Pakistan had pulled out six of its officials from New Delhi after they were named by expelled Pakistani High Commission staffer Mahmood Akhtar who had been arrested on spying charges.

An official, while speaking to The Express Tribune, said that both nations were aware of certain officials who were working under cover and “they did so with the full knowledge of host country.”

He stated that India had “breached an understanding” by revealing the identities of the Pakistani officials posted in New Delhi.

Top Envoys Recalled in the Past

During the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, the high commissioners and other diplomatic staff members were recalled to their home countries. They resumed office only after the 1966 Tashkent Declaration which called for restoration of economic and diplomatic ties.

Following the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament, India pulled out its then high commissioner and reduced the staff in Islamabad.

(With inputs from Islands of Agreement: Managing Enduring Armed Rivalries by author Gabriella Blum)

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