Pakistan on Wednesday decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India and suspend bilateral trade after New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Dawn reported. The government also decided to bring up the Kashmir matter at the United Nations Security Council, and to “review bilateral arrangements”.
The decisions were made in a meeting of Pakistan’s National Security Council, which comprised the country’s top civilian and military leadership.
“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told ARY News, explaining the downgrade in diplomatic ties. In an official statement later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said India had been told to withdraw its High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria from Islamabad. “The Indian Government has also been informed that Pakistan will not be sending its High Commissioner-designate to India,” the statement said.
Moin-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s next ambassador to India, had yet to take charge but will not move to New Delhi now.
Pakistan also decided to observe August 14, its Independence Day, “in solidarity with Kashmiris”, and August 15, India’s Independence Day, as a “black day”, Qureshi told ARY News.
The developments came hours after Pakistan minister Fawad Chaudhry, in a joint session of Parliament, demanded that Islamabad cut diplomatic ties with India.
Another statement issued after the meeting said: “PM directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to expose brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations.”
On Monday and Tuesday, the Indian Parliament approved revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and agreed to bifurcate the state into two Union territories. Pakistan had on Monday said that Jammu and Kashmir was a disputed territory that is internationally recognised, adding that they “would exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps”.
The Pakistani government had on Tuesday summoned Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria to the Foreign Office and conveyed a “strong demarche on the announcements made and actions taken” by the Indian government.