A day after India unilaterally asked for Pakistani diplomatic staff to be reduced in the country, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said New Delhi’s treatment of diplomats amounts to a “clear violation of the Vienna Convention”.
New Delhi’s decision was conveyed to Islamabad’s Charge d’Affaires, who was summoned to the Ministry of External Affairs.
It added that India would also reduce the staff strength of its diplomatic mission in Islamabad by the same amount.
Rebutting India’s claims, the foreign minister, in a statement, said allegations levelled against the staff of Pakistani High Commission were baseless.
“India asked for 50 per cent reduction in Pakistani staff at its high commission in New Delhi, and Pakistan responded in the coin by asking India to reduce its staff in Pakistan by 50 per cent.
“If Pakistani staff returns home, Indian staff will also go back,” Qureshi added.
The foreign minister further stated that Pakistan will not remain silent on Indian allegations, but will befittingly respond.
“India is trying to find excuses to carry out a false flag operation in Pakistan,” he reiterated.
Speaking about the recent clash between India and China forces along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the foreign minister said Beijing’s attitude has been appropriate in respect of security situation in the region.
“New Delhi carried out construction work in the disputed territory with China; hence, China reacted,” he said adding that India’s current actions were to cover its embarrassment at the hands of China
Qureshi said innocent Kashmiris are being martyred every day. He said Saudi Arabia and Turkey have rejected India’s decision about occupied Kashmir.
Pakistan had downgraded diplomatic ties in August last year when it pulled out its High Commissioner and ordered the expulsion of the Indian envoy after New Delhi revoked the special status of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJ&K).
On May 31, India declared two staffers of the Pakistani mission persona non grata after accusing them of espionage. Both were expelled later. However, Pakistan strongly dismissed Indian claims and instead accused New Delhi of violating the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.