Persona non grata: US agrees to recall 331 ‘diplomatic staffers’

Most of these persons were found to be involved in espionage activities.

Asad Kharal March 24, 2011

LAHORE:


According to a deal reached between relevant officials of Pakistan and the US in exchange for the release of US national Raymond Davis, as many as 331 US officials, most of whom are suspected of being engaged in espionage under diplomatic cover, have been identified to leave the country.


Pakistani authorities, The Express Tribune learnt, have agreed that these US officials would not be declared 'persona non grata' if they left the country voluntarily within a stipulated time.

Previously, Pakistan was almost ready to summarily expel these persons, who have various levels of diplomatic immunity, as most of them were issued Pakistani visas without getting prior No-Objection Certificates (NOC) following Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), sources familiar with the matter revealed.

According to the Standard Operating Procedures, all embassy and consulate staff  working under different diplomatic covers like contractors, consultants, technicians and administrative staff were required to be vetted by relevant officials before issuing them visas.

Pakistani officials while handing over a list to the US officials had demanded that these US officials should be recalled immediately.

When Pakistan was assured that they will leave the country within the stipulated period, it extended assurances that these US officials will not be declared persona non grata.

This was one of the salient features of the secret deal which is also said to include a substantial increase in aid, weapons and mandatory scrutiny of all persons seeking diplomatic immunity.

Intelligence officials said that Pakistani authorities had been trying to “trap someone to expose the cover of these consultants and technicians in front of the world community and Pakistani people”.

With the help of this achievement, Pakistan has successfully neutralised operatives of ‘friends’ (allies in the war in terrorism) involved in anti-state activities against our sovereignty.

The Express Tribune learnt that Pakistan has devised “an adequate response policy to counter the severity of our friends’ reaction”.

An official, who is privy to these developments, said that most of the suspected persons on the list were “involved in suspicious activities, including photographing and filming of sensitive installations like air bases (Warsak, near Peshawar and Multan), defence bunkers along the Pakistan-India border near Lahore, recruiting persons supporting their activities and launching local people for suspicious activities by offering lucrative benefits”.

Sources familiar with the issue said that Raymond Davis case had firmly established the veracity of some Pakistani authorities’ insistence on stopping “out-of-context additions” of diplomatic immunity in Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2011.

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COMMENTS (33)

V. C. Bhutani | 9 years ago | Reply | Recommend Not all commenters write with a sense of responsibility and sobriety. Many do. I would beg to hold on to my basic position that the good of the subcontinent lies in promoting cooperation and not confrontation between countries of the region. All kinds of accusations against India have been made from time to time. We cannot hope to convert people to think with some kindness about India and Indians. All societies have their problems, and societies find their solutions over time. Some take less time, some take more time. In the history of international relations there have been countries that were locked in hereditary warfare for generations but are now together in their region, in peace and cooperation. Hopefully, better days may dawn for peoples of the subcontinent. We need to stop thinking in terms of black or white. Let us remember that there are several shades in between. Besides, there is no such thing as permanent adversaries. Countries and peoples that are not friendly today may come to be friendly after some time. The important thing to remember is that it will not help to call in external factors to resolve our mutual problems. Outsiders can only further complicate matters. They shall not advance matters towards resolution. V. C. Bhutani, Delhi, India, Mar 29 2011, 1103 IST
Khalid Rahim | 9 years ago | Reply | Recommend @Ashok: How wrong you are with feeble-mind! When you place all Pakistanis as believers in ideology. In fact it is a small group that both India and Pakistan possess namely the politicians. Talking of civilization, we can go back to 8,000BC in this region now known as Pakistan the cradle of Civilization, name it MehrGhar(Baluchistan) Mohenjo Daro(Sind) Harrappa(Punjab) and Ghandara where I come from. They all go back from 5000 to 8000BC. When you riot in Gujerat is it based on clash of civilization or the vedic ideology? Don't tell me that the glory of Krishna and Kali plays no role, come Ashok your namesake decided to put on the saffron robes and put the Mahabaharta Ideology away. Stop wearing the theatrical mask and and refrain from spewing a venom that could kill your soul first.
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