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India asked Pakistan to review it decision on diplomatic communications

08 August, 2019

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India Ministry of External Affairs through a statement asked Islamabad to review its decision so that "normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved".

On Wednesday, the National Security Committee (NSC) decided to downgrade diplomatic ties with India and suspend bilateral trade, among other steps, in response to New Delhi’s move to annex occupied Kashmir.

The country's top national security body, which met for the second time in three days, also directed the armed forces to remain vigilant. The committee had last met on Sunday, a day before India announced revocation of Article 370, which gave occupied Kashmir an autonomous status, and legislated to bifurcate the Valley into Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

"The intention behind these measures is obviously to present an alarming picture to the world of our bilateral ties. The reasons cited by Pakistan are not supported by facts on the ground," India alleged in the statement issued on Thursday, adding it regrets the decision taken by Pakistan to downgrade ties.

"The recent developments pertaining to Article 370 are entirely the internal affair of India. The constitution of India was, is and will always be a sovereign matter," added the statement.

Pakistan, however, has maintained that the steps taken by India are in violation of international law as well as United Nation resolutions.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in his address during the joint session of parliament, said India had violated its own constitution, own Supreme Court, the UN and Geneva conventions by revoking the special status of Kashmir.

The Pakistan Army had also rejected Indian actions regarding Kashmir, saying: "Pakistan never recognised the sham Indian efforts to legalise its occupation of Jammu & Kashmir through article 370 or 35-A decades ago."

Voices within India, including opposition and the media, have lambasted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the "unconstitutional" move.

Foreign Office spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal, during his weekly briefing on Thursday, said that the government of India has been told to withdraw its high commissioner. "India has also been informed that Pakistan will not be sending its high commissioner designate to India," he said.

"Pakistan has strongly condemned and rejected the announcements made by the Indian government regarding the Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir, which is an internationally recognised disputed territory.

"No unilateral step by the Indian government can change this internationally accepted disputed area as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolution nor will this ever be acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and of Pakistan," added Dr Faisal.

A day earlier, as the NSC announced its decision to downgrade ties with India, lawmakers in a joint session of parliament denounced the action on Kashmir by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said he feared “genocide and ethnic cleansing” by India in Kashmir.

“God willing, one day Kashmir will become Pakistan,” he said.

The lawmakers later unanimously approved a resolution condemning the action, saying that as a disputed territory, no change in its status could be made by New Delhi under UN resolutions on Kashmir. It also asked India to reverse the changes, lift an indefinite curfew and release all detainees in occupied Kashmir.

Indian authorities have clamped a complete shutdown on occupied 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 — a move slammed by Pakistan.

The changes include lifting a ban on property purchases by nonresidents of Kashmir, opening the way for Indians outside the territory to invest and settle there. The Muslim population worries that such measures would change Kashmir’s demography, culture and way of life.

The Indian government has shut off most communications, including internet, cellphone and landline networks, with occupied Kashmir. Thousands of additional troops were sent to the already heavily militarised region out of fear the government’s steps could spark unrest. Insurgent groups have been fighting for Kashmir’s independence from India or its merger with Pakistan since 1989.

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