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Pakistan expels Indian envoy, suspends trade over Kashmir

Pakistan expels Indian envoy, suspends trade over Kashmir

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947 AFP/TAUSEEF MUSTAFA

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Wednesday (Aug 7) it will "downgrade" diplomatic relations and suspend bilateral trade with arch-rival India after New Delhi stripped its portion of the contested Kashmir region of special status.

Pakistan will also expel the Indian High Commissioner, it said. 

"We will call back our ambassador from Delhi and send back their" envoy, foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi announced in televised comments, while a government statement declared that Pakistan will suspend trade in a downgrading of diplomatic ties between the arch-rivals.

Neighbours China and Pakistan, which both claim parts of the region, have voiced fierce opposition to India's move dropping a constitutional provision that had allowed the country's only Muslim-majority state to make its own laws.

A spokesman for India's foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

READ: Kashmir's history: India's revoking of special status in context

Kashmir has been divided between India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947.

India's government on Monday revoked the special status of Kashmir in a bid to fully integrate its only Muslim-majority region with the rest of the country, the most far-reaching move on the troubled Himalayan territory in nearly seven decades.

"The entire constitution will be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir state," Interior Minister Amit Shah said on Monday, ending the state's rights to make its own laws.

READ: US urges respect for rights after India's Kashmir move

The step would also mean revocation of a bar on property purchases by people from outside the state.

The law had also reserved state government jobs for residents, as well as college places, in an effort to keep the state from being overrun by people from the rest of India.

READ: Protester dies, scores arrested in Indian Kashmir lockdown

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party had pushed for an end to Kashmir's special constitutional status, arguing that such laws had hindered its integration with the rest of India.

Pakistan has condemned the move as "illegal" and said that it will not "ever be acceptable to the people of Jammu & Kashmir and Pakistan".

Source: Reuters/afp/aj


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