Pakistan yesterday told India that its veiled nuclear threat was only reflective of its defeat at the global level on the Kashmir issue.

Responding to Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh threatening statement, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said: “We have seen the comments made by the Indian Defence Minister today. These are reflective of the predicament that India finds itself in, after its illegal and unilateral actions imperilling peace and security in the region and beyond.”

In a written reply to the Indian minister’s outburst, Qureshi said: “Equally condemnable is the completely indefensible lockdown of the entire population in Occupied Kashmir that has gone on for two weeks, and continues to deepen the dire humanitarian tragedy as reported by the international human rights organizations and the international media. The world community, including the United Nations Security Council, have taken cognizance of this utterly untenable situation.”

Last week, India’s Defence Minister Rajnath Singh hinted that New Delhi might change its ‘no first use’ policy on nuclear weapons, amid heightened tensions with fellow atomic power Pakistan.

Rajnath Singh made the comment on Twitter after visiting Pokhran, the site of India’s nuclear tests in 1998 under then Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.

“Pokhran is the area which witnessed (Vajpayee’s) firm resolve to make India a nuclear power and yet remain firmly committed to the doctrine of ‘No First Use’,” Singh wrote, adding: “India has strictly adhered to this doctrine. What happens in future depends on the circumstances.”

Singh’s comments prompted considerable noise in both Pakistan and India, with Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari tweeting that India “need to stop lying.”

Over the weekend, Pakistan’s civil and military leaders gave a shut up call to India, warning that any misadventure would get a matched response.

Foreign Minister Qureshi and Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor said India must not commit further blunders by launching attack on Pakistan. They made it clear that such a misadventure will not go without a strong response.

FM Qureshi said: “As for the Jammu & Kashmir dispute, Pakistan’s position is based on UN Charter principles and international law and remains unchanged. The Jammu & Kashmir dispute is to be decided on the basis of the UN Security Council Resolutions and in accordance with the wishes of the Kashmiri people.”

On August 15, Pakistan observed a ‘black day’ to mark India’s Independence Day amid soaring tensions between the nuclear armed neighbours after New Delhi unilaterally merged held Kashmir into its union. The ‘black day’ was also observed in Azad Jammu Kashmir and across the Line of Control in the held Kashmir.

Black flags were hoisted on roof tops and vehicles across Pakistan and AJK to symbolize rejection of India’s decision. Protest rallies were held across the country and seminars were held to highlight the plight of the Kashmiris.

The display pictures of Prime Minister Imran Khan, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Director General Inter Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor and foreign ministry’s official handle were turned ‘black’ to lodge the protest.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi - citing the National Security Committee meeting - had earlier announced that Pakistan will observe August 15 as a black day.

The NSC had also decided to downgrade diplomatic relations with India and suspend bilateral trade between the two countries.

This month, India repealed articles 370 and 35A of its constitution, revoking autonomous status of Kashmir. Article 370 granted special autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. It allowed the state’s assembly to make its own constitution and gave it autonomous state power.

Article 35A allowed the Jammu and Kashmir State Assembly to define who is and is not a permanent resident of the state. It also allowed the assembly to determine who gets state grants, who has the right to purchase land and property and who can permanently settle in the region.

Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa also expressed solidarity with the people of Indian-occupied Kashmir, saying Pakistan will always stand by Kashmiris to counter India's “hegemonic ambitions” the way it has in the past.