Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Thursday that Islamabad is ready to review its decisions against New Delhi if it reviews its decisions on Kashmir, PTI reported.
The Indian government had on Monday scrapped special status for Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. In response, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with India, expelled High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and suspended trade.
“Are they ready to review their decisions?” Qureshi asked. “If they do, we can also review our decisions. Review will be on both sides. That is what Simla [agreement] says.” India had earlier on Thursday asked Pakistan to review its move to downgrade diplomatic relations.
Qureshi said Pakistan will take India’s move to the United Nations Security Council, Dawn reported. He also rejected India’s claim that the decisions were taken to improve the welfare of the Kashmiri people, and that Jammu and Kashmir was its internal matter.
Qureshi said former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had declared “countless times” that the future of Kashmir will be decided by the people of the state. “The goodwill and pleasure of this [Indian] Parliament is of no importance in this matter,” the minister quoted Nehru as having said.
Qureshi claimed that Nehru had said in 1947: “As soon as peace and order have been established, Kashmir should decide of accession by plebiscite or referendum under international auspices such as the United Nations. If however, the people of Kashmir do not wish to remain with us, let them go by all means. We will not keep them against their will however painful it may be to us. I want to stress that it is only the people of Kashmir who can decide the future of Kashmir.”
Earlier in the day, India said Pakistan’s decision to downgrade diplomatic relations was meant to present an “alarming picture” of the bilateral ties to the international community. The reasons given by Islamabad were not supported by “facts on the ground”, the Ministry of External Affairs said.
India said its decisions related to Article 370 were its “internal affair” and urged Pakistan to review its measures so that “normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved”. The statement said the Indian Constitution will always be a sovereign matter, and “seeking to interfere in that jurisdiction by invoking an alarmist vision of the region will never succeed”.