Pakistan expels Indian HC, suspends trade NSC decides not to send High Commissioner to Delhi; ‘Bilateral arrangements’ with India to be reviewed; Islamabad to take Kashmir matter to UN; Independence Day August 14 to be observed in solidarity with Kashmiris and their struggle for right of self-determination

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Pakistan on Wednesday downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended bilateral trade with India in response to New Delhi’s illegal annexation of disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.
Within an hour of the government decision to downgrade diplomatic ties with India, Pakistan officially asked New Delhi to withdraw its High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria from Islamabad. Similarly, Pakistan now would not send its newly-appointed envoy Moinul Haq to New Delhi, who was due to take up his new diplomatic assignment on August 16.
The decision was part of a series of measures announced by the government after civil-military leadership discussed the situation, arising out of Indian decision to abrogate Article 370 of its constitution, which gave the Himalayan region a special status.
The decision was taken at the meeting of National Security Committee in Islamabad, with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair, said a statement issued by the PM Office.
“We will call back our ambassador from Delhi and send back their” envoy, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi separately announced in televised comments.
He spoke as the government released a statement following the NSC meeting, declaring that Pakistan will suspend trade with India in a ‘downgrading of diplomatic ties’ between the arch rivals.
The committee discussed situation arising out of unilateral and illegal actions by the Indian government, situation inside Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control.
The top leadership also decided to review ‘bilateral arrangements’ with the eastern neighbour while taking the matter to the United Nations, including the Security Council. “Independence Day this August 14 to be observed in solidarity with brave Kashmiris and their just struggle for their right of self-determination,” the statement read. “August 15 will be observed as Black Day,” it added.
PM Imran also directed that “all diplomatic channels be activated to expose brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations”. The premier also directed the armed forces to continue vigilance along the LoC.
The last NSC meeting had strongly condemned Indian atrocities in IoK and reiterated that Pakistan was ready to defend itself against any misadventure or aggression by India.
The key decisions taken by the National Security Committee on Wednesday include downgrading of diplomatic relations, suspension of bilateral trade, review of bilateral arrangements and the matter to be taken to United Nations. August 14 will be observed in solidarity with Kashmiris.
The top security body’s meeting was held in the aftermath of India’s “unilateral and illegal actions” through which it scrapped the special status for occupied Kashmir. The situation inside occupied Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control was also discussed. August 15, the Indian independence day, will be observed as “Black Day”.
“PM directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to expose brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations,” a statement issued after the meeting said. The premier directed the armed forces to continue their vigilance. “Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a news channel.
The hours-long meeting was attended by the ministers for foreign affairs, defence, interior, education, human rights, Kashmir affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and law; finance adviser; Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, Chief of Army Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Vice Chief of Naval Staff, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Information, Director General Inter-Services Intelligence, Director General Inter-Services Public Relations, secretary foreign affairs and other senior officers.