India moving from occupation to annexation, says Pakistan

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"If India says it is doing this for the betterment of the people, then it should hold a plebiscite instead".

Kashmiris see Modi's decision to withdraw the special status as a breach of trust and opening the way to flooding their region with people from the rest of India, eventually altering the demographics of the territory.

Lawmakers also stripped Jammu and Kashmir of its status as an Indian state, splitting it into two territories directly governed by New Delhi.

India and Pakistan fight their first war over control of Muslim-majority Kashmir, a kingdom ruled by Hindu Maharaja Hari Singh.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's administration rushed through a presidential decree on Monday to ditch the Muslim-majority region's constitutionally-guaranteed status.

Pakistan halted its main train service to India on Thursday and banned Indian films as it sustained diplomatic pressure on New Delhi for revoking the special status of Kashmir, the region at the heart of 70 years of hostility between them.

Earlier, the National Security Committee (NSC), in light of India's recent actions in occupied Kashmir, resolved to downgrade Pakistan's diplomatic relations with New Delhi and suspend all bilateral trade.

He accused neighboring Pakistan of using the past arrangement "as a weapon to incite people of the region against India".

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The disputed territory of Kashmir has always been a flashpoint in relations between India and Pakistan.

The contesting claims over Kashmir have led to two of their nation's three wars.

Advocate Suhail Malik, appearing for the activist Poonawalla, told Press Trust of India, that he is not expressing any opinion on Article 370, but to end restrictions hurting common people.

Under the accession terms, India's jurisdiction was only to extend to Kashmir's external affairs, defence and communications.

Qureshi said August 14 - Pakistan's Independence Day - will be observed to express solidarity with the Kashmiris and the slogan of "Kashmir baney ga Pakistan" will be raised all over the country. India accuses Pakistan of arming and training the rebels, a charge Pakistan denies.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Thursday issued directions to officials to facilitate return of outside students to their states who wish to go to their homes for Eid. "We are rather looking at political, diplomatic, and legal options to deal with the prevailing situation", he told reporters.

Labourer Jagdish Mathur said many people walked or hitched rides on army trucks and buses from Srinagar to Jammu, a distance of 260 kilometres (160 miles). The State Department spokesperson said that "the U.S. calls for calm and restraint by all parties". "The government should help me".

Tens of thousands of Indian troops are enforcing the lockdown which includes no internet or phone services, and are allowing only limited movement on streets usually bustling with tourists flocking to the picturesque valley.

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