KARACHI, Pakistan

Pakistan has rejected the nomination of an Indian diplomat for the post of its Charge d’Affaires in Islamabad, terming him too senior for the office.

Foreign service officer Jayant Khobragade was nominated in June to replace the incumbent, Gaurav Ahluwalia, in Islamabad, following Pakistan’s downgrading of diplomatic ties with India.

“Pakistan believes that by proposing a senior diplomat, who has already served as Ambassador in another post, India is trying to circumvent the effect of downgrading of diplomatic relations, which is obviously not in line with Pakistan’s decision,” the country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

Islamabad, it said, has advised India to nominate an officer with seniority “commensurate with Pakistan’s decision of downgrading the diplomatic relations.”

“It may be recalled that following India’s illegal and unilateral actions of August 5, 2019 in Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK), Pakistan took a number of steps, including the downgrading of diplomatic relations with India. The purpose of downgrading the relations was to register Pakistan’s strong protest and condemnation of India’s illegal, inhuman and unacceptable actions in IIOJK,” read the statement.

“It must be clear that the relations between India and Pakistan are inextricably linked to the resolution of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute in accordance with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,” the press release said.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, New Delhi and Islamabad have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands have been killed and tortured in the conflict that flared up in 1989.

On Aug. 5, 2019 the Indian government revoked Article 370 and other related provisions from its Constitution, scrapping the country’s only Muslim-majority state with its autonomy. It was also split into two federally administered territories.

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