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Pakistan likely to recall four embassy officials from India

The names of the officials — commercial counsellor Syed Furrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Huss­ain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal — were made public

Days after the Indian authorities declared a Pakistani diplomat persona non grata following his arrest for espionage, Pakistani government is considering pulling out from India four of its officials posted in Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi.

According to a report in Pakistan daily Dawn, the names of the officials — commercial counsellor Syed Furrukh Habib and first secretaries Khadim Huss­ain, Mudassir Cheema and Shahid Iqbal — were made public after Indian officials released to media a recorded statement of high commission staffer Mehm­ood Akhtar, who was expelled from India after being declared persona non grata.

Akhtar told Dawn that he had given the statement under duress. “They took me to a police station after detaining me where I was forced to read out a written statement provided by them in which the names of the four officials were given and was told to state that they belonged to Pakistan’s intelligence services.”

Akhtar was arrested by police in New Delhi last week following an intelligence tip-off. He was detained for a short while by the Delhi Police before being released due to his diplomatic immunity.

India refuted allegations by the Pakistani High Commissioner made earlier in the day that Akhtar was mistreated and harassed in police custody.

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