ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Wednesday it will “downgrade” diplomatic relations and suspend bilateral trade with arch-rival India after New Delhi stripped its portion of the contested Kashmir region of special status.
Neighbours China and Pakistan, which both claim parts of the region, have voiced fierce opposition to India’s move dropping a constitutional provision that had allowed the country’s only Muslim-majority state to make its own laws.
Pakistan’s top civil and military leadership decided to downgrade diplomatic relations, expel the Indian High Commissioner and suspend bilateral trade with India in the wake of New Delhi’s move of revoking special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
The decision was taken at a second session of National Security Committee (NSC) within a week presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the situation following the Indian government’s move on Kashmir.
“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told.
According to a statement issued after the meeting, below are the five steps Pakistan will take:
1. Downgrading of diplomatic relations with India
2. Suspension of bilateral trade with India
3. Review of bilateral arrangements
4. Matter to be taken to the United Nations, including the Security Council
5. 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, which is India’s Independence Day, will be observed as Black Day.