Article 370 fallout: Pakistan expels Indian high commissioner, downgrades ties with India

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A day after the Indian parliament abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, Pakistan has reacted angrily by expelling the Indian high commissioner stationed in Islamabad. Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ajay Bisaria, has reportedly been asked to leave the country. Pakistan has decided to put on hold the appointment of its new High Commissioner-designate to India who was expected to take charge this month.

 

This was after National Security Committee of Pakistan, the neighbouring country’s top security body, met and decided to also suspend all bilateral trade with India. Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired the meeting.

“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told ARY News. Statement from the Pakistani government after the meeting said, “PM directed that all diplomatic channels be activated to expose brutal Indian racist regime, design and human rights violations.”

Pakistan also closed a corridor in its airspace, which will result in an additional up to 12 minutes of flying time for overseas flights, PTI quoted an Air India official as saying. “One air corridor has been closed (in Pakistani airspace), requiring a maximum of 12 minutes diversion. It will not affect us (much),” the Air India spokesperson was quoted as saying.

The affected flights will be those flying to US, Europe and the Middle East.

Kashmir has been in a state of complete lockdown with no access to mobile internet for common citizens. Curfew has been imposed across the valley and schools and colleges shut indefinitely.

Earlier Pakistani singer Atif Aslam had condemned the Indian government’s decision to do away with Article 370 on Jammu and Kashmir.

 

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