ISLAMABAD – Pakistan on Wednesday expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, minutes after it decided to downgrade the diplomatic ties with India over what it called New Delhi’s “unilateral and illegal” move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
India on Monday revoked Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a crucial meeting of the National Security Committee on Wednesday during which it decided to suspend bilateral trade and review the “bilateral arrangements”.
Pakistan has also closed a corridor in its airspace, which will result in an additional up to12 minutes of flying time for overseas flights, an Air India official said.
Indian envoy to be sent back
“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in televised comments soon after the NSC meeting.
While India’s High Commissioner Bisaria is in Islamabad, his Pakistani counterpart Moin-ul-Haq is yet to take charge in New Delhi.
A statement issued after the NSC meeting read that the Committee discussed situation “arising out of unilateral and illegal actions” by the Indian government, situation inside Jammu and Kashmir and along the Line of Control.
The Committee decided “downgrading of diplomatic relations with India” and “suspension of bilateral trade with India,” the statement said.
The NSC also decided to review “bilateral arrangements” with India.
The Committee resolved to take the matter (abolition of the Article 370 by India) to the United Nations, including the Security Council, the statement said.
The Pakistani statement said that the country will observe this Independence Day on August 14 in solidarity with Kashmiris.
“August 15 will be observed as Black Day,” it added.
Prime Minister Khan also directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to highlight the alleged human rights violations in the Valley. He also directed the military to continue vigilance, according to the statement.
Imran Khan calls Boris Johnson, Prince Salman
Khan on Wednesday called his British counterpart Boris Johnson and Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of his government’s plan to inform the world leaders about India’s decision of revoking Article 370 and withdrawing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Pak Parliament condemns India’s decision
Pakistan lawmakers unanimously passed a resolution condemning “Indian action in Kashmir and pledging support for Kashmiris.”
The resolution was adopted by the joint session of parliament after the lawmakers discussed the situation in Kashmir for two days.
The resolution reiterated the “strong conviction of Pakistan that the Jammu and Kashmir dispute would be resolved only through dialogue and diplomacy and in accordance with international law.”
India has not been engaging with Pakistan since an attack on the Air Force base at Pathankot in January of 2016 by Pakistan-based terrorists, maintaining that talks and terror cannot go together.
Early this year, tensions flared up between India and Pakistan after a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM) killed 40 CRPF personnel in Kashmir’s Pulwama district.