Pakistan expels Indian envoy, suspends trade


–Pakistan expels Indian envoy Ajay Bisaria, says it will not send its high commissioner-designate to New Delhi as Kashmir heats up

 –Islamabad decides to take matter to UN, observe Independence Day in solidarity with Kashmiris, review bilateral arrangements with India

–Pakistan bars Indian flights from using its airspace

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Wednesday hit back at India for revoking Kashmir autonomous status by ending bilateral trade, downgrading diplomatic ties and expelling India’s high commissioner to the country.

The decision was made during a meeting of the National Security Committee within this week chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad. This was the second such meeting called by the premier in this week concerning crisis emanating from Kashmir.

The meeting also decided to review the Pakistan-India bilateral arrangements, take the matter to the United Nations and observe the upcoming Independence Day on August 14 in solidarity with Kashmiris.

“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 also directed the armed forces to continue their vigilance, as per the handout.

The meeting attended by the top civilian and military leadership also decided to recall Pakistan’s ambassador from New Delhi and expel the Indian envoy.

In a statement later in the day, a Foreign Office spokeserson said that Pakistan has expelled the Indian envoy, whereas it will not send its own to the Indian capital, which has also been conveyed to India.

“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said after the meeting.

The official press statement after the NSC meeting said that the PM directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to expose brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations.

During the meeting, PM Imran directed the armed forces to continue vigilance.

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, Inter-Services Intelligence director general , director general Inter-Services Public Relations, secretary foreign affairs and other senior officers.

India’s decision to scrap Kashmir’s special status has drawn ire of native Kashmiris, Islamabad and the global community for violating international treaties.

Meanwhile, the government has also decided to impose a ban on India to stop it from using its airspace. It is the second time that Pakistan has shut down its airspace owning to hostility with India. Last it was shut down after Pulwama incident. Pakistan opened its air space for all types of civil traffic in July.

It had been fully closed since February when Pakistan shot down an Indian fighter.

In the last NSC meeting on Sunday, the prime minister said that Pakistan will effectively respond to any type of aggression or provocation from India with its people’s support.

A briefing on the situation in Indian occupied Kashmir (IoK) was given during the NSC session, which was attended by the chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC), the heads of all three armed forces, intelligence officials, federal ministers of defence, foreign affairs, and interior and the director-general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

PM Imran had convened a meeting of the NSC to discuss issues pertaining to the national security in the wake of cluster bomb attack carried out by India against civilians in Neelum Valley.

The Indian government had revoked the special status of Indian-occupied Kashmir, in a move that risks increasing already-heightened tensions with neighbouring Pakistan.

Monday’s presidential decree revoked Article 370 of India’s constitution that guaranteed special rights to the Muslim-majority state, including its right to its own constitution and decision-making process for all matters except defence, communications and foreign affairs.

In the lead-up to its move, India sent thousands of additional troops to the region, imposing a curfew on parts of it, shutting down telecommunications and arresting political leaders.

Both India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but rule it in part. The nuclear-armed neighbours have fought two of their three wars over the disputed territory.