Pakistan expels Indian envoy, suspends trade over Kashmir

Pakistan, today, expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, minutes after it decided to downgrade the diplomatic ties with India, alleging that New Delhi’s move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was “unilateral and illegal”.

This was announced after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a crucial meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC) in Islamabad, attended by top civil and military leadership, during which it was also decided to suspend the bilateral trade and review the “bilateral arrangements”.

“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in televised comments soon after the NSC meeting.

India on Monday revoked Article 370 of the Constitution to withdraw the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

While India’s High Commissioner Bisaria is in Islamabad, his Pakistani counterpart Moin-ul-Haq is yet to take charge in New Delhi.A sta ement issued after the NSC meeting read that the Committee discussed situation “arising out of unilateral and illegal actions” by the Indian government, situation inside Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control.

The Committee decided “downgrading of diplomatic relations with India” and “suspension of bilateral trade with India,” the statement said. The NSC also decided to review “bilateral arrangements” with India.

The Committee resolved to take the matter (abolition of the Article 370 by India) to the United Nations, including the Security Council, the statement said. India has said Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and the issue is strictly internal to the country.

The Pakistani statement said that the country will observe this Independence Day on August 14 in solidarity with Kashmiris. “August 15 will be observed as Black Day,” it added. Prime Minister Khan also directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to highlight the alleged human rights violations in the Valley. He also directed the military to continue vigilance, according to the statement.

The Foreign Minister, Defense Minister, Interior Minister, Advisor on finance, Kashmir Affairs Minister as well as Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Chairman, three services chiefs, ISI chief, and other top officials attended the meeting.

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