The government of Pakistan reportedly downgraded diplomatic ties and suspended bilateral trade with India on Wednesday, August 7, in response to the Indian government's decision to revoke the special autonomous status of Jammu and Kashmir state (India). The move comes as Prime Minister Imran Khan and the National Security Committee (NSC) indicated it would also raise the matter to the UN and dedicate the country's upcoming Independence Day celebrations on August 14 to those in the Kashmir region. As of Wednesday, Pakistan recalled its ambassador from New Delhi and has expelled India's envoy in Islamabad.
The developments are likely to lead to further nationwide demonstrations over the coming hours and days. A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions are to be expected near all gatherings.
Separatists have been fighting Indian rule in Kashmir since 1989. Around 70,000 people have been killed and many more injured in related violence, uprisings, and military crackdowns. Indian security personnel have been conducting frequent security operations and have clashed with suspected militants in recent months.
Indian security forces announced on August 1, that an additional 28,000 soldiers have been deployed to the Kashmir Valley. Officials did not provide a reason for the sudden deployment. The Ministry of Home Affairs had previously ordered 10,000 more soldiers to deploy to the region during the previous week to assist in counterterrorism operations.
Following a cabinet meeting on August 5, Home Minister Amit Shah proposed to parliament that Article 370 in the Constitution, which granted Jammu and Kashmir a special status, be revoked. He also proposed that Jammu and Kashmir be reorganized as a Union Territory with an Assembly, and Ladakh be a separate Union Territory with no legislature.
Individuals in Pakistan are advised to monitor developments to the situation and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.
Some Western governments advise their citizens against travel to parts of Kashmir, notably including areas along the Line of Control (LoC), due to the significant risk of violence.
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