Pakistan on August 7 expelled the Indian High Commissioner and suspended bilateral trade in response to New Delhi’s decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“The Government of India has been told to withdraw its High Commissioner to Pakistan. The Indian government has also been informed that Pakistan will not be sending its High Commissioner-designate to India,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.
Ajay Bisaria is India’s High Commissioner in Islamabad.
The decisions were taken at a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan at his office in Islamabad. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi read out the NSC decisions while addressing a joint session of Parliament.
The Committee has also decided to review bilateral arrangements and take the Kashmir issue to the UN, including the Security Council, he said.
Pakistan will observe August 14, its Independence Day, “in solidarity with brave Kashmiris” and August 15 as a “Black Day”.
“PM has also directed all diplomatic channels to be activated in order to expose brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations. PM directed Pakistani Armed Forces to continue vigilance,” tweeted Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the ruling party.
The NSC meeting was attended by the Foreign Minister, Defence Minister, Minister for Human Rights, Army chief, DG ISI, DG ISPR and several other senior officials of the military and the government.
On August 6, while addressing Parliament, Mr. Khan warned that India’s decision could trigger more violent incidents in Kashmir. He had also said Pakistan decided not to pursue talks with India after having realised that India was not interested in it.
Senior journalist Gharidah Farooqi believes that the NSC decisions have changed the dynamics of India-Pakistan bilateral relations. “Through NSC decisions, Pakistan has accepted — though not expressed in words — it’s an attack and a semi-war like situation. Through NSC decisions, Pakistan has not just shown its seriousness in condemnation of revocation of Article 370 to India but to the international community as well and would now be in a better position to convince the world for its case on Kashmir.”
She added that calling off all kind of bilateral trade means closure of all crossing points, “which also affects Indian trade with Afghanistan”.
Political analyst Mosharraf Zaidi says the NSC decisions represent Pakistan’s effort to express its rejection of India’s altering of the status of Kashmir. “Unlike India, it shows that Pakistan remains committed to bilateral and regional peace. But the patience of Pakistan’s leaders does not mean Pakistanis will fall in line. India’s leaders need to take actions of de-escalate tensions and ensure that there is no further brutality in Kashmir,” Zaidi told The Hindu .