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Pakistan considers calling back 4 officials from India

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Islamabad, 01 November , 2016  :  Pakistan is considering pulling out from India four of its officials posted in the High Commission in New Delhi, days after Indian authorities declared one diplomat persona non grata.

“This is under consideration. A final decision would be taken shortly,” a source at the Foreign Office said on Monday.

The names of the four 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 a High Commission staffer Mehm­ood Akhtar, who was expelled from India after being declared persona non grata.

Akhtar told Dawn news 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 officers were given and was told to state that they belonged to Pakistan’s intelligence services,” the former High Commission official, who returned to Islamabad last week, said.

Akhtar narrated how he was “manhandled and picked” from outside a zoo while on his way back from Nizamuddin shrine and taken to a Delhi police station, where he was coerced into recording a statement before being expelled from the country.

The incident has jeopardised the security of the officers and their families besides restricting the normal diplomatic functioning of the high commission.

Pakistan and India have in the past expelled each other’s diplomats and officials due to their tense relationship, but it is one of those rare occasions where one of the countries took the extreme step of revealing the identities of officers.

Pakistani officials believe that India did this on purpose to heighten the tensions.

“We consider it as a serious breach of diplomatic norms. The Indian move has complicated the already tense situation and threatened the lives of our diplomatic staff,” a Pakistani official said, adding it was a “deliberate and provocative action”.

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Pakistani man arrested for attacking Sikh shrine in England

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New Delhi/London, 25 May : A Pakistani man, who was trying to mobilise Sikhs against India over Kashmir in England, attacked the Guru Arjan Dev shrine in Derby on Monday morning. He was later identified and arrested.

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Italy registers 63,927 COVID-19 cases, toll touches 6,077

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Rome, March 24 : A total of 63,927 coronavirus cases have been assessed in Italy since the pandemic broke out in its northern regions on February 21, the Civil Protection Department managing the COVID-19 emergency has said, adding that 601 fatalities were also registered on Monday, with the death toll reaching 6,077.

The number of total infections grew by 4,789, or 8 per cent from 59,138 cases recorded on Sunday. The daily fatality figure dropped from Sunday’s 651 and Saturday’s 793, the department said, Xinhua reported.

Although still upward, the figures showed the daily rise in both the number of people testing positive and the number of deaths has been less marked for the second day in a row, Civil Protection Chief Angelo Borrelli told a press conference late Monday afternoon.

Health authorities, however, warned that it was still too early to confirm a decreasing trend in the ongoing pandemic.

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Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed sent to jail for five years

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New Delhi/Islamabad, 12 Feb : Just ahead of the FATF review, founder and patron of the banned terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafiz Saeed, was convicted in terror funding cases and sent to jail for five-and-a-half years by a Pakistani court on Wednesday.

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