US diplomat Alice Wells arrives in Pakistan

Islamabad, Aug 6 (IANS) Pakistan and the US are expected to hold crucial talks in Islamabad this week as an American delegation, headed by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Alice Wells, arrived here on Tuesday.

Wells' visit comes a day after the Indian government scrapped Article 370 that gives special status for Jammu and Kashmir and decided to split the state into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.

The diplomat, who is visiting Pakistan after Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to the US where he held a meeting with President Donald Trump, is scheduled to meet top civil and military leadership during her visit, the Express Tribune reported.

Wells is likely to meet officials at the Foreign Office on Tuesday while Pakistan-US delegation-level talks are expected on Wednesday, the report said.

"During the talks, Pakistan will raise the issue of India's move to strip Kashmir of its special status under the Indian Constitution's Article 370," the daily cited a diplomatic source as saying.

Earlier, the US State Department in its statement said it was "closely following the events in Jammu and Kashmir".

"We take note of India's announcement revising the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir and India's plan to split the state into two union territories.

"We note that the Indian government has described these actions as strictly an internal matter. We are concerned about reports of detentions and urge respect for individual rights and discussion with those in affected communities," the statement added.

In addition, the State Department further called for all stakeholders to "maintain peace".

--IANS

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