ISLAMABAD -  The diplomatic row between Pakistan and India intensified as three Indian diplomats left Pakistan on Tuesday while another five were set to leave the country soon.

Officials said that the three Indian officials, who were working in the Indian High Commission, left for India via a Dubai-bound flight from the Benazir Bhutto International Airport. They were named as Anurag Singh, Vijay Kumar Varma and Mandhawan Nanda Kumar.

“The remaining five officials of Indian High Commission will leave for their country via the Wagah Border. The Indian officials could not be detained due to diplomatic immunity (granted) under the Vienna Convention,” said an official.

Earlier, Pakistani officials said the country had unearthed a “network of Indian spy agencies” working at the Indian high commission in Islamabad, underlining the increased animosity and suspicion between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.

The Foreign Office on November 3 said that eight Indian diplomats and staff had been working for Indian intelligence agencies – the Research and Analysis Wing and the Intelligence Bureau. Islamabad announced to expel them, saying they had been found involved in subversive activities in the country.

Earlier, Pakistan withdrew six of its diplomats working at the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi amid increasing tension between the two countries.

In New Delhi, Indian External Affairs Ministry’s Spokesman Vikas Swarup said that six Pakistani diplomats flew back to Islamabad after being withdrawn by their government.

Earlier this month, Mahmood Akhtar, a Pakistani diplomat in New Delhi, was expelled over spying allegations. In a tit-for-tat response, Pakistan expelled Indian diplomat Sujeel Singh within hours after Akhtar’s expulsion.

Akhtar said he was arrested by the Indian police while visiting a zoo in New Delhi. He also claimed he was tortured and forced to confess on camera to working for the Inter-Services Intelligence during his detention. “My whole body is still in pain,” he said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan on Tuesday lodged a protest with India over unprovoked ceasefire violations across the Line of Control (LoC).

This came as three more Pakistani citizens were killed and another four - including a five-year-old boy - wounded on Monday by the Indian shelling.

According to a statement issued by the Foreign Office, Director-General South Asia and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Dr Mohammad Faisal summoned Indian Deputy High Commissioner J P Singh and strongly condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations on November 7 (Monday) by the Indian forces on the LoC in Nikial and Jandrot sectors, which resulted in the causalities.

“The director-general urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 ceasefire understanding, investigate the continued incidents of ceasefire violations, instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire in letter and spirit, stop targeting villages and civilians and maintain peace on the LoC,” said the foreign ministry.

Meanwhile, at least three civilians were killed and five others injured on Tuesday as Indian army fired artillery and mortar shells on Mandhole, Sehra and Dara Sher Khan villages of Hajira subdivision in district Rawalakot.

Officials said that a mortar shell hit a house in Mandhole village, which resulted in the death a 45-year-old woman, identified as Kalsoom Zakir and her 13-year-old daughter Amna. In another shelling, a man identified as Muhammad Ashfaq of the same village was also killed, Rawalakot Deputy Commissioner Choudhary Muhammad Altaf said. Five other villagers including two women were also injured by the Indian shelling on civilian areas, he said.

He said that shelling started at 10am and lasted till 4pm.

Indian army also resorted to shelling in Khoi Ratta sector in district Kotli where shops were closed after shells hit a shop in the Chatar area. All educational institutions have been closed for an indefinite time in the wake of the latest Indian shelling.

Indian authorities also claimed that one of their soldiers was killed and two injured in the Jammu sector of Indian-held Kashmir during Monday’s exchange of fire.

SHAFQAT ALI and Roshan Mughal