New Delhi [India], Nov. 3 : Condemning Pakistan for levelling "baseless and unsubstantiated" allegations against eight officials of Indian High Commission, who were accused of carrying out 'anti-Pakistan activities', India on Wednesday retaliated to the claim saying Islamabad is in complete denial of the problem and is deflecting its responsibility by resorting to "fanciful accusations." "The allegations against the Indian officials represent an after- thought and a crude attempt to target these officials for no fault of theirs.
We also regret the fact that Pakistan's step adds to the risks to the peace and security in the regions emanating from Pakistan's support on cross border terrorism against its neighbours," Official Spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup said while addressing the media here.
The statement came hours after the Pakistani media claimed that they eight Indian officials were working either for RAW or for the Intelligence Bureau.
"We also note that the Indian officials falsely implicated were working in the field of promoting people to people and trade and economic contacts between two countries and Pakistan's false allegations against them have the potential to adversely affect the corresponding activities of the high commission," Swarup said.
The government also protested strongly against the manner in which the photos of the eight Indian officials, four of them holding diplomatic passport, have been published.
"This is against basic norms of diplomatic practice and courtesy," Swarup added. The government of India also urged the Pakistani government to take necessary steps to ensure the safety of eight diplomats and officials including the all the other members of the high commission and their families while they are in Pakistan.
The latest tit-for-tat between India and Pakistan comes against the backdrop of New Delhi expelling Pakistan High Commission staffer Mehmood Akhtar on espionage charge, and Islamabad recalling its six staff members from its High Commission on Wednesday.
Responding to the allegations by Pakistan against India that the latter's firing has resulted in killings thousands of its civilians, Swarup retorted, "We reject Pakistan's allegations of any unprovoked firing.
We have lodged a strong protest with Pakistan for killing our civilians. In fact several districts along the International Border and the LoC normal lives have been affected. People have been displaced and over 100 schools have been closed. Approximately about the two third of ceasefire violations by Pak have taken place in the last 5 weeks." Noting that the root cause of problems between New Delhi and Islamabad, is the latter's continued support to cross border terrorism, Swarup said, "It is important for Pakistan to desist from these polices which are failed and have led to the isolation.
Unless that happens the relations between the two would continue like this." The souring relations between India and Pakistan peaked after New Delhi carried out surgical strikes across the Line of Control, weeks after the Uri terror attack.