Pakistan Expels India’s Envoy, to Suspend Bilateral Trade

Will Take Up J&K Issue with UN Security Council

Pakistan on Wednesday, 7 August, 2019 expelled Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria, minutes after it decided to downgrade diplomatic ties with India over what it called New Delhi’s “unilateral and illegal” move to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

This announcement came after Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), attended by top civil and military leadership. This meeting also decided to suspend bilateral trade and review the “bilateral arrangements”.

“Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said in televised comments soon after the NSC meeting.

The NSC also decided to take up the issue with the UN Security Council.

On Tuesday, Imran Khan had warned of a possible war with India after it bifurcated J&K into two Union Territories.

‘Internal matter’

India, in a statement on Tuesday, had emphasised that the Kashmir issue was an internal matter and it would not entertain any external intervention. “India does not comment on the internal affairs of other countries and similarly expects other countries to do likewise,” MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar had said in response to concerns raised by China on Kashmir.

Trade impact, more on Pak

The trade suspension is expected to hurt Pakistan more than India, even though India exports goods worth $2 billion (2018-19) and imports goods valued at $500 million from Pakistan.

“India is less dependent on Pakistan... India’s goods exports to Pakistan have limited profile as Pakistan has not given MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status to India and such goods have a ready market in South Asia and the Middle East,” said FIEO President, Sharad Kumar Saraf.

Following the Pulwama terror attack, India had withdrawn the MFN status to Pakistan. Delhi also increased import duties on all items from Pakistan by 200 per cent in February.

The Pakistan NSC also decided that the country’s Independence Day on August 14 will be observed in solidarity with Kashmiris and their “just struggle for their right of self-determination’’. August 15, India’s Independence Day, will be observed as a Black Day.

US calls for dialogue

Reacting to the development, the US said there is an “urgent need” for dialogue among all actors to reduce tensions and to avoid a potential military escalation in South Asia. It also refuted media reports that India consulted or informed the US about its J&K decision.