Alwaght- Pakistan halted its main train service to neighboring India on Thursday and banned Indian films as Islamabad exerted diplomatic pressure on New Delhi for revoking the special status of Kashmir, the region at the heart of 70 years of hostility between them, Reuters reported.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government this week withdrew Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir’s right to frame its own laws and allowed people from outside the region to buy property there in a bid to tighten its grip over the contested region.
Kashmir remained under a communications blackout on Thursday with mobile networks and internet services suspended and at least 300 politicians and separatists in detention to prevent protests, according to police, media and political leaders.
Kashmir’s leaders have warned of a backlash and Pakistan, which also lays claims to the Himalayan territory, vowed to fight for the rights of people living there.
“Pakistan is looking at political, diplomatic and legal options,” Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told a news conference in Islamabad, though he ruled out a new military conflict.
“We’re not looking at the military option. We’re not,” he said. The nuclear rivals have twice gone to war over Kashmir and fought an aerial duel in February.
India said changing the status of Kashmir was an internal affair and aimed at developing the region. It urged Pakistan to reconsider its decision to downgrade diplomatic ties, striking a conciliatory tone.
“The Government of India regrets the steps announced by Pakistan yesterday and would urge that country to review them so that normal channels for diplomatic communications are preserved,” the foreign ministry said.
Islamabad said on Wednesday it would expel India’s ambassador to Pakistan and its envoy, who was to start his assignment soon, would not move to New Delhi.