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Pakistan Expels Acting Indian Ambassador

February 8, 2003

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ Pakistan on Saturday ordered the acting Indian ambassador and four other Indian Embassy officials to leave the country in an apparent retaliation for the expulsion by India of its senior diplomat.

Sudhir Vyas, the acting ambassador of the Indian Embassy has 48 hours to leave the country, according to a foreign ministry statement.

Earlier Saturday, India ordered Jalil Abbas Jilani, the acting head of the Pakistani diplomatic mission, to leave India within 48 hours, a day after accusing him of funneling money to separatists in Kashmir.

The two countries routinely engage in tit-for-tat diplomatic posturing.

Pakistan accused Vyas and his four colleagues at the Indian Embassy here of ``involvement in activities incompatible with their status,″ a usual reference to spying.

The other Indian embassy officials ordered out of Pakistan were Rahul Rasgotra, first secretary, and embassy staff M.R. Balu, Rambir Singh and Surinder Raj Anand.

While the Indian embassy officials have to be out of the country within two days, their families have seven days to leave.

The Pakistan foreign ministry said the decision to expel five employees of the Indian embassy here keeps staff numbers the same as those at the Pakistan embassy in New Delhi.

``Reciprocating the Indian decision to further cut the strength of the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi from 51 to 47 personnel, the government of Pakistan has also decided to apply the same staff ceiling on the Indian High Commission in Islamabad,″ the ministry statement said.

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