Democratic lawmakers on Thursday urged Pakistan to refrain from any “retaliatory aggression” against India and take “demonstrable action” against terrorist groups within its territory. This came after Pakistan expelled the Indian envoy and downgraded its diplomatic ties. India on Tuesday removed part of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution that gave Jammu and Kashmir a significant autonomy. The central government also divided the state in two Union Territories (UTs) - Jammu and Kashmir with its own legislature and Ladakh with legislature.
Senator Robert Menendez and Congressman Eliot Engel in a joint statement on Wednesday also expressed concern over the restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir.
Menendez is a ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, while Engel is the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Pakistan must refrain from any retaliatory aggression, including support for infiltrations across the Line of Control, and take demonstrable action against the terrorist infrastructure on Pakistan’s soil, they said in the statement.
Expressing concern over detention and restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir, the lawmakers said that “as the world’s largest democracy, India has an opportunity to demonstrate for all its citizens the importance of protecting and promoting equal rights, including freedom of assembly, access to information, and equal protection under the law.”
“Transparency and political participation are the cornerstones of representative democracies, and we hope the Indian government will abide by these principles in Jammu and Kashmir,” they said.
Pakistan on Wednesday decided to suspend bilateral trade with India. At the National Security Committee meeting, chaired by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, it was also decided to downgrade the diplomatic relations with New Delhi.
"Our ambassadors will no longer be in New Delhi and their counterparts here will also be sent back," Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told a local Pakistani tv channel.
The National Security Committee meeting was attended by Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Defence Minister, Interior Minister, Minister for Education, Minister for Human Rights, Minister for KA&GB, Law Minister, Adviser Finance, CJCSC, COAS, CAS, V-CNS, SAPM on Information, DG-ISI, DG-ISPR, Secretary Foreign Affairs and other senior officers.