Pak calls back high commissioner, expels Indian envoy, suspends trade over Kashmir

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Pakistan on Wednesday decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India and suspend all bilateral trade in the wake of Indian government’s decision to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and to make it a Union Territory.

In a big development, Pakistan also announced that it will call its high commissioner back from India and expel the Indian envoy to Pakistan. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood confirmed the news to local media.

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“We will call back our ambassador from Delhi and send back their” envoy, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced in televised comments, while a government statement declared that Pakistan will suspend trade in a downgrading of diplomatic ties between the arch-rivals.

At present, Pakistan does not have a high commissioner deputed in India. Pakistani diplomat Moin-ul-Haq was supposed to assume the post soon after he was appointed in May. However, now he will not be taking up the post in New Delhi.

The decision came after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan held a meeting of the National Security Committee in Islamabad on Wednesday.

Releasing a press statement on the meeting, the committee announced that it will:

  • Downgrade diplomatic relations with India.
  • Suspend bilateral trade with India.
  • Review bilateral arrangements.
  • Take the matter to the United Nations, including the Security Council.
  • Announced that the Pakistani Independence Day (August 14) will be “observed in solidarity with brave Kashmiris and their just struggle for their right of self-determination”. It also announced that August 15 will be observed as Black Day.

In the meeting, the Committee decided to downgrade all diplomatic relations with India and review all bilateral arrangements with New Delhi. It further noted that the matter would be taken to the United Nations, including the UN Security Council, the government said in a tweet.

The meeting was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Interior Minister Ijaz Ahmad Shah, Minister for Education, Minister for Human Rights, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan, Law Minister, Adviser Finance, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of Army Staff of the Pakistan Army, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information Firdous Ashiq Awan, Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence, Director General- Inter-Services Public Relations, Secretary Foreign Affairs and other senior officers.

Reaffirming commitment to the Kashmir cause and “its political, diplomatic and moral support” to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, the Committee stressed, “Independence Day this August 14 to be observed in solidarity with brave Kashmiris and their just struggle for their right of self-determination. August 15 will be observed as Black Day.”

Rattled by India’s landmark decisions scrapping the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and converting the state into a Union Territory, Pakistan on said that it will exercise “all possible options” to counter the steps.

(With ANI Inputs)

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