Pakistan downgrades diplomatic ties with India over Kashmir
The political crisis over the disputed territory of Kashmir escalated yesterday when Pakistan said it would downgrade its diplomatic ties with India, expel the Indian ambassador and suspend bilateral trade with its regional rival.
Indian authorities have clamped a complete shutdown on Kashmir as the Hindu-led nationalist government in New Delhi scrapped the region’s statehood and special status, including the right to its own constitution.
As the security lockdown by Indian troops continued in Kashmir for a third day, hundreds of migrant workers began the long trek back to their villages in northern and eastern India.
The Indian government has shut off most communications, including internet, cellphone and landline networks, with Kashmir. Thousands of additional troops were sent to the already heavily militarized region out of fear the government’s steps could spark unrest, the AP reported.
In response to India’s action, Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told parliament that it will expel the Indian ambassador, and the Foreign Ministry later said India has been informed to withdraw the envoy. The decision came at a meeting of Pakistan’s National Security Committee led by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by the heads of the armed forces and senior government officials.
Islamabad also said it will review other aspects of its relations with India. It said it will ask the U.N. to pressure India to reverse its decision to downgrade Kashmir from a state to two separate territories. The region also lost its right to fly its own flag and make many of its own decisions.