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India expels Pakistani diplomat

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
Last updated on: August 05, 2006 22:56 IST
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India has expelled Syed Muhammad Rafique Ahmed, counsellor in Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi in retaliation to the expulsion of Deepak Kaul (counsellor) in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad.

This was disclosed by Navtej Sarna, spokesman in the Ministry of External Affairs, at a hurriedly called press conference in New Delhi late on Saturday night.

Both Kaul and Ahmed have been given time till August 7 to leave Pakistan and India respectively after they were declared persona non grata.

Kaul was stopped 90 km short of Lahore as he was on his way to bring his family to Pakistan.

"He was stopped by Pakistani security agencies and taken hooded and handcuffed to some unidentified location where he was interrogated for five hours," Sarna said.

Indian Joint Secretary in the MEA Dilip Sinha summoned Pakistan Deputy High Commissioner Afra Siab and told him that Ahmed's activities were incompatible with his diplomatic status and rejected the charge that Kaul indulged in similar activities.

This is the first time that the two countries have expelled each other's diplomats after the beginning of the Indo-Pak dialogue, Sarna admitted.

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi