Article 370: Pakistan calls back high commissioner, expels Indian envoy, suspends bilateral trade
The scrapping of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories has finally had its impact on India-Pakistan relations.
Pakistan has now announced that it will be downgrading diplomatic relations with India. It has also said it will be suspending bilateral trade with India.
Amid uproar over India's Kashmir provisions, Pakistan has also called for the review of bilateral arrangements.
In a big development, Pakistan has 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.
"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.
To this, Indian government sources said that India will maintain status quo on suspension of trade with Pakistan, which was put into place after the Pulwama attack on February 14. Pakistan can take the matter to the UN but it won't change India's stand on trade, sources claimed.
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.
The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Hayat, Army Chief General Qamar Bajwa, Naval Chief Admiral Zafar Mehmood Abbasi, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, ISI Director-General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and other officials.
Imran Khan alleged that "India is a racist regime and violates human rights". Imran Khan added that all diplomatic channels will be activated to point out this out.
He has also directed the Pakistan Army to "continue vigilance" on borders.
Former Indian foreign minister Salman Khurshid commented on the development, saying that Pakistan's decision will not impact India. "No impact of Pakistan decision on India. It is a short-sighted decision, which is going to affect them badly, not us," he said.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had on Tuesday set up a high-level committee to prepare a plan of action on India's decision to revoke Article 370 and bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.
The Indian government on Monday revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
India maintains that Jammu and Kashmir is its integral part and it includes Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.