Days after New Delhi stripped the disputed Kashmir region of its special autonomy, Pakistan announced Wednesday that it was expelling the Indian High Commissioner and suspending bilateral trade with its nuclear-armed neighbour, “We will call back our ambassador from Delhi and send back their” envoy, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced in televised comments.
He spoke as the government released a statement declaring that Pakistan will suspend trade with India in a downgrading of diplomatic ties between the arch rivals.
Islamabad also vowed to take the matter to the United Nations Security Council.
Delhi, however, has insisted that the move is an internal matter.
Kashmir has been divided between Pakistan and India since independence in 1947. They have contesting claims on the Himalayan region, and have fought two of their three wars over it.
The Indian government on Monday scrapped the article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the territory be bifurcated into two Union territories–Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan vowed on Tuesday to fight the issue “on every forum” and demanded the international community take action, accusing Modi of an anti-Muslim agenda.
The Pakistani military has also said it “firmly stands” with Kashmiris.
Giving a policy statement in the joint session of the parliament in Islamabad on Tuesday, he said the revocation of articles 370 and 35A by Indian government will further intensify the freedom struggle of Kashmiris.
Imran Khan said the Indian step of revocation of Kashmir’s special status contravenes all relevant UN resolutions, Indian courts’ decisions and the public opinion.
He expressed fear that India will now do ethnic cleansing of Kashmiris in order to change the demography of the occupied territory.
Imran Khan said the current BJP government in India is a follower of RSS that believes in racist ideology against all the minorities in that country. He said the father of nation Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had recognized this much earlier and supported the two-nation theory to give the Muslims of India a separate homeland that is free from bigotry and racism.
The Prime Minister warned that if the two nuclear armed neighbors fail to resolve their issues, including Kashmir, a Pulwama like trigger could drag them into a war which would not remain limited to conventional conflict.
The Prime Minister said the attitude of Indian government after elections in their country revealed that they were not serious in holding dialogue and resolving the bilateral issues peacefully.
The Prime Minister said during his meeting with the President Trump, he sought his mediation in resolution of Kashmir issue as it has made the people of the region hostage for decades. However, the Modi government took this step to further deteriorate the situation. Even in their domestic politics, BJP government has cornered the opposition parties and tarnished the image of a secular state.
Imran Khan said not only Pakistan, but whole Muslim world understands and recognizes the just struggle of Kashmiris for their self-determination.
The Prime Minister urged the international community to play its due role in resolution of Kashmir issue for regional peace and security as the issue has the potential to harm the world peace efforts. He said this period in history will be remembered as a dark chapter. He said the appeasement of India will not work, as it did not do in 1930s to Hitler.
Addressing the joint session, leader of the opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif said Pakistan is for Kashmiris and Kashmiris are for Pakistan.
Expressing his views at the joint session of the parliament, Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said India can never change the status of Kashmir as a disputed territory.
He said Indian revocation of Articles 370 and 35A has opened the door to turn Kashmiris a minority in their homes.
He said Indian people and world should not accept this to happen. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said Kashmiris have the same right to live in peace and freedom just as we do. He said we will not remain silent on this cruelty.
Protest in Islamabad
A protest demonstration was held, Monday, outside the Indian High Commission in Islamabad under the auspices of different Kashmiri organizations.
Kashmiri organizations on the occasion held a strong protest against the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution and the geographical division of occupied Kashmir.
The speakers addressing the protest demonstration urged the United Nations to take immediate notice of the changes regarding the occupied territory because the amendments made by the Indian government in its constitution were against the international law and resolutions of the United Nations.
They said that the liberation movement in occupied Kashmir would be stepped up and India would have to face a new challenge.
Protest in London
A large number of Kashmiri community members on Tuesday held a protest demonstration against the scrapping of Article 370 and to urge the world community to take notice of blatant violations of UN resolutions on Kashmir by India.
The demonstrators carrying banners and placards reading, “India implement UN resolutions” and “Vacate Kashmir”, staged the protest outside Indian High Commission in London. Prominent among those who attended the event included Professor Nazir Ahmad Shawl and Councilors Amjad Abbasi and Raja Ishaq.
Meanwhile, a US-based Muslim advocacy group also held a protest in front of the Indian Embassy in Washington on Tuesday against the revoking of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave special status to occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The group, Sound Vision of North America’s pioneering Muslim media organisation, in a statement said demonstrations would also be held outside Indian consulates in New York and Chicago.