Pakistan on Sunday denounced India’s decision to suspend trade across the Line of Control and refuted New Delhi’s claims about the route being misused, Dawn reported. Pakistan’s Foreign Office described the decision as “deeply regrettable”, and called for dialogue to resolve differences.

India’s Ministry of Home Affairs had issued the suspension order on Thursday, claiming that the trade route was being “misused by Pakistan-based elements for the transportation of illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency”. The order came into effect from Thursday midnight.

Islamabad also criticised New Delhi for taking the decision unilaterally. “The Indian action is based on groundless accusations that this mechanism is being used for smuggling, narcotics, fake currency and ‘terrorism’,” Islamabad said. “This litany is all too familiar and in line with New Delhi’s frequent attempts to portray legitimate activities of the people in Indian-occupied Kashmir as linked to the so-called ‘terrorism’.”

Pakistan described cross-border trade as one of the main confidence-building measures established by the two countries. “The unilateral suspension of this Kashmir-related CBM indicates that India is seeking to reverse even the modest gains made by the two countries in the diplomatic domain,” the foreign office added.

Islamabad said New Delhi’s decision would add to the economic hardship of Kashmiris on both sides of the Line of Control. The Imran Khan government asked India to revoke the order and engage in dialogue to resolve differences. “In our view, there are better ways of dealing with issues relating to implementation, if any, than resorting to unilateral suspension of important CBMs,” the foreign office added.

On Friday, the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party had said the Centre’s decision would only worsen relations with Islamabad.