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On the action taken by the Government of India and the incident relating to the Indian diplomat in Pakistan

August 05, 2006

Official Spokesperson: Good evening everybody. This is to inform you about developments relating to Pakistan. This evening, the Deputy High Commissioner of Pakistan was summoned by Shri Dilip Sinha, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs this evening. It was officially conveyed to him that Syed Muhammad Rafique Ahmed, Counsellor in the High Commission of Pakistan in New Delhi, had been involved in activities incompatible with his diplomatic status. The Government of India has, therefore, declared him persona non grata. Mr. Ahmed has been asked to leave India by August 7, 2006.

During the meeting, Shri Dilip Sinha lodged a strong protest against the outrageous treatment meted out to Shri Deepak Kaul, Counsellor of the High Commission of India, Islamabad by agencies of the Government of Pakistan, and categorically rejected allegations that Shri Kaul was engaged in activities incompatible with his diplomatic status. The officer was not in possession of any sensitive documents allegedly handed over to him by a so-called contact. These must have obviously been planted on him in order to falsely implicate him.

Shri Kaul had left Islamabad early this morning to go to Amritsar, by road, to fetch his family. As required by the Government of Pakistan, he had obtained written permission for his travel. At 7.30 a.m., about 90 kms. from Lahore, he was stopped by Pakistani security agencies and taken, hooded and handcuffed, to some unidentified location where he was interrogated intermittently for about five hours. Thereafter he was brought to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry and our High Commission was informed of his being declaredpersona non grata. The High Commission was also informed that Shri Kaul should leave Pakistan by August 7, 2006. The diplomat was then handed over to our High Commission.

Shri Dilip Sinha pointed out to the Deputy High Commissioner that the actions of the Government of Pakistan were in blatant violation of the Vienna Convention as well as the Code of Conduct for Treatment of Diplomatic/Consular Personnel in India and Pakistan 1992. Such action could not but undermine the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Shri Deepak Kaul is safe and the High Commission of India is arranging for his return to India by August 7, 2006.

Question: The Pakistan Foreign Office spokesperson said that Pakistan wanted to keep it (the incident) under wraps but Indian officials gave out the information….
Official Spokesperson: That is absolutely incorrect. The information first came out on Geo TV this afternoon and it was based on a detailed briefing, as was said, by Pakistani intelligence sources. Things cannot be more blatant than that.

Question: What happens now to the tentative road map that was there?
Official Spokesperson: I do not want to indulge in any hypothetical guess work at this time. I have told you the action that has been taken. But, if I can broadly respond to your question, I will only say that such action as has been taken by the Government of Pakistan cannot but undermine the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Question: This is the first time since after the peace talks that such a kind of major setback has happened…
Official Spokesperson: I do not want to get into any categorization but if you are asking me whether an officer of this level has been declaredpersona non grata after the dialogue process started, the answer is ‘yes'.

Question: What are the specific charges against Rafique Ahmed?
Official Spokesperson: I have just said that. He was indulging in activities incompatible with his diplomatic status.

Thank you.


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