Pakistan expels senior Bangladesh diplomat as ‘spy’ row escalates

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has asked Bangladesh to withdraw one of its diplomats from Islamabad, Dhaka said Wednesday, in an apparent retaliation after the expulsion of a Pakistani envoy who allegedly funded a suspected extremist on trial for espionage.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque said Islamabad had on Tuesday asked Dhaka to recall senior diplomat Moushumi Rahman from its high commission in Islamabad within 48 hours.

“The political counsellor and head of chancery in Islamabad has been given till Thursday to leave the country,” Haque told AFP.

The Bangladesh foreign secretary did not offer any reason for Pakistan’s decision to expel Moushumi Rahman. Diplomatic sources in Islamabad told Dawn.com that Rahman indulged in ‘anti-state activities in Pakistan’ and that concerned security agencies continued to monitor her.

This is the first time that Pakistan has expelled a Bangladeshi diplomat.

On December 23, Islamabad had recalled one of its diplomats – Farina Arshad – from Bangladesh at Dhaka’s request, after she was alleged to have financed a suspected extremist accused of spying for Pakistan.

A formal statement from Islamabad dismissed the charges as “baseless”, adding: “an incessant and orchestrated media campaign was launched against her on spurious charges”.

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