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India Orders Expulsion of 2 Workers

March 5, 2002

NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ India on Tuesday ordered the expulsion of two Pakistani embassy employees for allegedly collecting classified government documents. Pakistan claimed the pair had been beaten up by Indian intelligence operatives.

Pakistan High Commission employees Sultan Mahmood and his driver Gul Zarin ``have been given one week to leave the country,″ Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Nirupama Rao said. Embassies of Commonwealth countries are called high commissions.

Zarin and Mahmood were detained on Saturday for a few hours.

An Indian Interior Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told The Associated Press that the two staffers were found to have received classified documents from a government employee.

Rao did not confirm this but said the two men had been ``indulging in activities in violation of their diplomatic status.″

In Islamabad, Pakistan’s foreign ministry rejected Indian allegations of spying against the two as ``a fabrication to cover up (their) illegal detention and inhuman treatment.″

The statement said Zarin and Mahmood had visible injuries on their bodies at the time of their handing over to the Pakistan High Commission, which confirms ``severe physical beating by Indian intelligence officials during detention.″

Pakistan has already lodged a strong protest with the Indian government, it said.

Rao, in turn, said Indian embassy officials in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, were verbally abused over the weekend and that the government would lodge a complaint with Pakistan about that.

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