Pakistan expels Indian envoy, suspends trade over India’s Kashmir revocation

Indian Border Security Force (BSF) personnel (in brown) and Pakistani rangers (in black) take part in the Beating Retreat ceremony at the Wagah border on January 26, 2019. ( AFP/ File )
Updated 07 August 2019

Pakistan expels Indian envoy, suspends trade over India’s Kashmir revocation

  • Pakistan’s ambassador to Delhi will also be recalled
  • Meeting was attended by military top brass and senior federal ministers

Pakistan has decided to downgrade diplomatic ties and suspend bilateral trade with India, according to a statement from the Prime Minister’s office following a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting in Islamabad chaired by PM Imran Khan on Wednesday with the country’s top civil-military brass in attendance.
As the diplomatic downgrade gets underway, Pakistan’s ambassador from New Delhi has been recalled, according to Azhar Leghari, the head of public relations for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf. 
“Pakistan suspends trade with India, calls off Pakistan’s Ambassador from India and Prime Minister @Imran KhanPTI has instructed Armed Forces of Pakistan to be ready,” he tweeted.
Pakistan’s foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, told local media that the Indian envoy in Pakistan would also be expelled.
The top security body’s meeting also decided to review all bilateral arrangements between India and Pakistan, take the matter to the UN and to observe upcoming Independence Day on August 14 in solidarity with Kashmiris.
Among other senior officers, the meeting was attended by Pakistan’s foreign minister, defense minister, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff committee, chief of army staff, director-general of the inter-services intelligence (ISI) and head of the inter services public relations (ISPR).
The Indian government on Monday rushed through a presidential decree to abolish Articles 370 and 35-A of the Indian constitution which grant special status to Indian occupied Kashmir and protects its Muslim majority demographic, with unprecedented numbers of Indian troops deployed in the region.

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

Updated 12 January 2020

Pakistan ‘wants to play its role’ for peace in Middle East – FO

  • Work on foreign minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran and the United States being done
  • Pakistan’s strong relations with regional countries has made it an important player

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs reiterated on Thursday that the country was going to play its role in restoring peace in the Middle East by working with other international stakeholders in the region.

“Pakistan welcomes de-escalation and wants to play its role in ensuring peace and stability in the region. We have seen that indication in United States President [Donald] Trump’s speech and are evaluating its contours,” the country’s foreign office spokesperson, Aisha Farooqui, said in her weekly media briefing in Islamabad on Thursday.

She said that Pakistan’s geographical position, along with its strong relations with regional countries and the United States, had made it a significant player in the Middle East.

“Pakistan has maintained that war is not the solution to any issue and made it clear that it will not become part of any regional conflict,” she said.

The spokesperson noted that Islamabad had enhanced its efforts to defuse tensions in the region and Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi had contacted his counterparts in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey and many other important states in this connection.

“All the international players, including Saudi Arabia, have said that the region cannot afford another war and asked for restraint from both parties [the US and Iran]. It’s a collective objective of all countries to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East,” she said.

Commenting on the foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the US, she said that “work on these tours has already started and they will take place as soon as dates are finalized with the respective countries.”

“We are very mindful for our brotherly and friendly relations with Saudi Arabia, Iran, and other regional countries. Pakistan and the US also enjoy longstanding relations and have contacts with each other through multiple forums including political and military leadership,” Farooqui said, adding that the foreign office had established a task force to continuously monitor the situation in the Middle East and inform the government about it along with its suggestions on a daily basis.

The spokesperson expressed hope that recent developments in the Middle East would not affect the ongoing Afghan peace process.

“Pakistan hopes that progress made on Afghan peace process will not come to a halt and the world community will not lose its focus as a result of the ongoing tensions in the Middle East,” she said.

Asked about the safety of Pakistani nationals in Iraq, she said the country’s embassy in Baghdad was on the alert to deal with any emergency situation.

“We are concerned about the safety of Pakistani citizens in Iraq and have issued an advisory in this regard. We have also instructed our mission in Baghdad to remain vigilant to deal with any emergency,” Farooqui said.