Prime Minister Imran Khan chairs a National Security Committee meeting along with armed forces chiefs and other government officials in Islamabad. Image Credit: AFP
Published in Gulf News on Aug 7th, 2019,
Islamabad’s move came after India declared the abrogation of provisions of Article 370
New Delhi/Islamabad: Pakistan’s top civil and military leadership has decided to expel Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and suspend bilateral trade with India in the wake of New Delhi’s move of revoking special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
The decision was taken on Wednesday at a meeting of National Security Committee (NSC) – the second within a week – presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan to review the situation following the Indian government’s move on Kashmir.
“We will call back our ambassador from Delhi and send back their envoy,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi separately announced in televised comments.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has also partially closed its airspace amid growing tensions with India over the abrogation of Article 370.
However, according to Indian national carrier Air India, its west bound operations will not be impacted much by Pakistan’s decision to partially close its airspace.
“One air corridor has been closed requiring a maximum of 12 minutes diversion. Not really affecting us,” the flag carrier said late on Wednesday.
New Delhi declared on Wednesday the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, after the Indian Parliament passed a resolution in this regard.
Article 370 and 35A collectively defined that the state’s residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to the resident of other Indian states.
It had also barred citizens from other states to purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, Qureshi spoke on the developments as the government released a statement following the NSC meeting, declaring that Pakistan will suspend trade with India in a “downgrading of diplomatic ties”, review bilateral arrangements, take the matter to the UN and observe Pakistan’s Independence Day on August 14 in solidarity with Kashmiris.
India has been conveyed the decision, the Pakistan Foreign Office said.
In a formal statement, the Foreign Office spokesperson said: “Pursuant to the decision of the National Security Committee today, 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 (Moin ul-Haq) to India.”
The meeting was attended by Defence Minister Pervez Khattak, Foreign Minister Qureshi, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, General Zubair Hayat, Army chief, General Qamar Bajwa, Navy chief, Admiral Zafar Mehmood Abbasi, Air Force chief, Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan, ISI Director-General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed and other officials.
“Independence Day this August 14 to be observed in solidarity with brave Kashmiris and their just struggle for their right of self-determination,” the statement read. “August 15 will be observed as Black Day,” the statement added.
A joint parliamentary session also passed a resolution condemning New Delhi’s “unilateral move”.