New Delhi: Amid Pakistani media reports that 13 Indian diplomatic staff members have left Islamabad in the wake of escalating tensions over Kashmir, government sources on Saturday emphatically denied any such movement.
“That report is untrue. None of the diplomatic staff of the Indian High Commission has left,” sources told IANS, adding that a few members have left to celebrate Eid with their families in India.
The Tribune Pakistan, quoting sources in the Pakistan diplomatic establishment, said that 13 staff members of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad had left the country along with their families and headed home via the Wagah land border.
In a week of fast developments, following India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir amid a security lockdown across the state, an angry Pakistan expelled the Indian High Commissioner Ajay Bisaria and has taken several other steps to virtually snap all diplomatic ties.
Besides suspending two cross-border train services and a bus service that helped families across the border connect, Pakistan has also decided to suspend bilateral trade, and review all bilateral arrangements, in response to what it terms as India’s “annexation” of Kashmir.
India has firmly told Pakistan that change in the status of Jammu and Kashmir, and hiving the state into two Union Territories – J&K and Ladakh — are aimed to bring in faster development, create employment opportunities for its youth, and bring in several social and economic benefits that were missing from the state due to Article 370.
India has asked Islamabad to accept the reality of the changed status of Kashmir and not interfere in what is purely an internal matter.