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Spy vs. Spy

by Newsweek Pakistan
Narinder Nanu—AFP

Narinder Nanu—AFP

Pakistan and India’s tit-for-tat diplomatic evictions replay a futile and worn-out exercise.

Pakistani media has been “leaked” information that eight officers serving in the Indian High Commission in Islamabad were working for the neighboring nation’s RAW spy agency, planning disruption of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and creating “fear and chaos in the country.”

The last bit says: “[Indian diplomats were] fabricating evidence for tarnishing the country’s image abroad.” To justify this claim, let’s first see what the world currently accuses Pakistan of:

The global community claims Pakistan is providing safe havens to terrorists who attack India and Afghanistan and that Islamabad is doing precious little to uproot the factories of terrorism funded from outside the country. It also says that Pakistan is not acting against terrorists with head money pledged by the United States for their rendering. This means that Hafiz Saeed and Masud Azhar are good citizens held up as villains by Indian diplomats.

The truth is that India has just expelled a staff officer “on a cover posting” at Pakistan’s High Commission in New Delhi for spying. Pakistan must now retaliate and its initial payback is the eight diplomats who must now pack up and leave. In anticipation, Pakistan expects to withdraw four officers from New Delhi before they are expelled in a tit-for-tat action. But it is not going to end there. If past practice is any guide, India is going to expel eight more after which Pakistan will expel a few more to equal the tally till both sides realize they have emptied each other’s diplomatic missions.

This spy vs. spy game has been staged in the past as well, usually continuing till both sides get exhausted and heed their embassies’ complaining of lack of staff to handle normal functions of representation. Of course, the climax of this mindlessness has to be war which a frightened world won’t allow. But the madness will continue. It’s all an act of stupid preening in front of extremists on both sides.

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