ISLAMABAD: Pakistan will not resort to military action in a row with nuclear arch-rival India over Kashmir, its foreign minister said Thursday, as tensions soared over New Delhi's decision to tighten its grip on the disputed region.
The move by Delhi Monday to strip Kashmir of its special autonomy brought the Indian-held portion of the Himalayan region under its direct rule.
The decision deepened animosity with Pakistan, which has already fought two of its three wars with India over Kashmir, and ignited days of debate within the country over how Islamabad should respond.
"Pakistan is not looking at the military option. We are rather looking at political, diplomatic, and legal options to deal with the prevailing situation," said Pakistani foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi during a press conference in Islamabad.
"We have decided to go back to the UN security council to challenge this Indian position, which is morally incorrect," he added.
Qureshi's comments come on the heels of a decision by Islamabad to downgrade its diplomatic ties with India, suspend bilateral trade, and expel the country's envoy.
Pakistan also said on Thursday it would suspend a rail service linking it to India, as relations with its arch rival continue to sour over the contested Kashmir region.
“We have decided to shut down Samjhauta Express,” railways minister Sheikh Rasheed told a news conference on Thursday, in reference to the train running to India's capital New Delhi from the Pakistani city of Lahore.
“As long as I am railways minister, Samjhauta Express can’t operate”.
Pakistan also said it would ban the screening of Indian films in the country's cinemas.
"No Indian cinema will be screened in any Pakistani cinema. Drama, films and Indian content of this kind will be completely banned in Pakistan," Firdous Ashiq Awan, an adviser to Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a tweet.
India has dismissed Pakistan's moves and said its decision to strip the restive region of its autonomy was an "internal affair".
Pakistan has vowed to "firmly" stand with Kashmiris, but earlier this week Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed exasperation with war-mongering in parliament, at one point asking rhetorically: "What do you want me to do? Attack India?"
He also warned of the global consequences of war between two nuclear-armed nations.
The Muslim-majority Kashmir region has long been a sensitive flashpoint between India and Pakistan, which have had conflicting claims to the region since independence from Britain in 1947.
Earlier this year the two sides came to dangerously close to the brink of war once more, after a deadly attack in Indian-held Kashmir was claimed by a militant group based in Pakistan, prompting tit-for-tat airstrikes igniting brief fears of a nuclear clash.