Pakistan rules out military conflict with India over Kashmir dispute



ISLAMABAD, Zia Khan (dpa)– Pakistan on Thursday suspended a rail service with India to protest New Delhi's move to strip the disputed region of Kashmir of its special autonomy, but ruled out a military response.
"We are looking at political, diplomatic and legal options. As far as military response is concerned, we are not looking at that. We are not," Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.



Pakistan would soon take up the Indian move at the United Nations Security Council and is open to global bodies like the European Union stepping in to mediate, Qureshi said in the capital Islamabad.
There are fears of an escalation in violence between the nuclear-armed neighbours after New Delhi revoked Indian-administered Kashmir's special autonomy on Monday.
Pakistan is opposed to India having tighter control over the region and responded by downgrading diplomatic relations on Wednesday.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan went so far as to say earlier this week that changing the status of Kashmir would inflame tensions, which could lead to a nuclear conflict.
The South Asian rivals have fought three wars since they gained independence from Britain in 1947.
The Himalayan valley of Kashmir, which is claimed by both in its entirety but controlled by each only in parts, is the main bone of contention and cause of disputes. 
Qureshi denied media reports that Pakistan had closed its airspaces for Indian flights like Islamabad did after clashes in February.
Earlier, Pakistan’s Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid announced the suspension a rail service between the eastern city of Lahore and the Indian capital of New Delhi.
Pakistan would no longer operate a twice-a-week service in protest to the change in the status of Indian-administered Kashmir, Rashid said.
The Samjhauta Express is one of the two means of travelling between Pakistan and India along with a bus service between Lahore and New Delhi.
The suspension was likely to impact thousands of people who travel across the border every week.
It was not announced whether Pakistan would also suspend the Lahore-New Delhi bus service.
Separately, Pakistani Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan announced a ban on the screening of Bollywood movies in the country’s cinemas and to limit Indian cultural content on television.   
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Thursday, August 8th 2019
Zia Khan (dpa)
           


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