J&K integration India’s internal matter, Pakistan told

India accused Pakistan of presenting a false and alarming picture of their bilateral ties to the world after the Parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted for the removal of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir and bifurcation of the state into union territories, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.

Pakistan hit back on Wednesday by downgrading diplomatic ties with India, expelling its envoy, suspending $2-billion bilateral trade and threatening to close its airspace to Indian aircraft.

A day later, India’s foreign ministry, above, urged Pakistan to review its decision so as to keep the diplomatic communication channels open.

The ministry put forth its views bluntly:
*Removal of Article 370 is India’s internal matter and its Constitution is supreme.
*For 72 years, Article 370 denied development to the region and opportunities to the people.
*Pakistan’s efforts to interfere in India’s affairs by presenting an alarmist vision of the region to the world will not succeed.
*The scrapping of Article 370 is a positive step that will remove gender and socio-economic discrimination, promote economic activity and improve the lives of the ordinary people of Jammu & Kashmir.
*While Jammu & Kashmir is set to usher in positive changes, Pakistan is encouraging disaffection among youth there through its proxies to justify its cross-border terrorism.

US lawmakers’ call for restraint

Two US lawmakers have urged Pakistan to exercise restraint as it downgraded diplomatic ties with India.

Pakistan’s diplomatic offensive is seen as a desperate attempt to internationalise two landmark decisions taken by India to integrate Jammu & Kashmir after decades of wasted opportunities.     

US Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Eliot Engel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged Pakistan not to retaliate but take “demonstrable action” against terrorist groups operating within its territory and stop them from infiltrating into India.

The two lawmakers urged India to safeguard the rights of its citizens including freedom of assembly, access to information, and equal protection under the law.

They hoped the Indian government will maintain transparency and political participation in Jammu and Kashmir.

The warning by the lawmakers to Pakistan comes amid reports in Indian media that Islamabad, with the help of the military, intelligence agencies and terrorist groups, is planning a massive misinformation campaign on social media to instigate Kashmiri youth to hold protests and stage violent attacks.

The cyber-attacks are expected to be launched once internet services are restored in Jammu & Kashmir, reports say citing intelligence sources.

Some 150 terrorists have been moved from Afghanistan to Rawalpindi. They will be broken up into small units of four to five members and pushed into Jammu & Kashmir under the cover of heavy mortar fire.

Some 200 other terrorists have already positioned themselves at the border to sneak into India.

Reports say 70 SSG soldiers have moved to the Pakistan occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is under pressure from opposition parties to act against India after he failed to anticipate India’s quick and unprecedented move to remove the special status of Jammu & Kashmir and bifurcate it.

Pakistan is going to observe August 15, India’s Independence Day, as a black day.