Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaks while military spokesman Asif Ghafoor (right) looks on during a press conference in Islamabad on Saturday. Anjum Naveed / AP
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi on Saturday termed Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's statement over a possible change in its "no first use" nuclear policy as a "damning reminder of India's unbridled thirst for violence." In a post on Twitter, Rajnath Singh said on Friday that while India had remained firmly committed to the doctrine of "no first use," what would happen in the future would depend on circumstances.
Responding to the remark, Qureshi said in a tweet: "Another damning reminder of India's unbridled thirst for violence. Contrast to Pakistan's aggressive efforts to galvanise diplomacy as the UN Security Council met for 1st time formally since '65 on IOK validating International dispute status. History reminds fascist warmongering state can never win." The Pakistan Foreign Minister had earlier called Rajnath Singh's remark "shocking and irresponsible." "The substance and timing of the Indian Defence Minister's statement is highly unfortunate and reflective of India's irresponsible and belligerent behaviour. It further exposes the pretense of their no first use policy to which we have never accorded any credence," he said on Friday.
"Pakistan has always proposed measures relating to nuclear restraint in South Asia and has eschewed measures that are offensive in nature. Pakistan will continue to maintain a credible minimum deterrence posture."
"Pakistan has also decided to set up a special cell on Kashmir at foreign office and a desk at all embassies in light of the Kashmir crisis," Qureshi said.
The special cell on Kashmir would be responsible for devising future course of action, subject to his approval, said Qureshi, according to Geo News.
Addressing the media with Director General Inter-Services Public Relations Major General Asif Ghafoor after a top-level meeting on Kashmir, Qureshi said Pakistan and its army were ready to defend if India "resorts to any misadventure" in an attempt to divert the global attention from the lockdown in "occupied Kashmir".
"India can (resort to) misadventure in its attempt to divert the world's attention away from its actions in occupied Kashmir. The Pakistan army and the nation are ready to defend if India attempts any misadventure," he said.
The UNSC meeting was held on Friday on China's insistence to discuss the situation in J&K following abrogation of its special status. The UNSC had earlier declined Pakistan's request to hold a formal session on Kashmir with its participation.
Talking about the UNSC informal consultation on Kashmir, Qureshi said, Pakistan "achieved a (milestone) yesterday (Friday), which shocked India. The Kashmir issue was raised at a platform, which is responsible for resolving the dispute." On the high-level meeting, Qureshi said, "All participants agreed that (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi has murdered (former Prime Minister Jawaharlal) Nehru's Hindustan. Today, it is not Nehru's Hindustan. It is Modi's Hindustan." Pakistan-occupied Kashmir president Sardar Masood Khan and various other federal Ministers and special advisers to the Prime Minister attended the meeting, Geo said.
Ghafoor echoed Qureshi saying Pakistan's armed forces were prepared to respond to any Indian "aggression".
The UNSC acknowledged India's measures to bring normalcy and development to the Union Territory of J&K, according to India's Permanent Representative to UN Syed Akbaruddin.
"We are gratified that the UNSC in its closed consultations appreciated these efforts, acknowledged them, and indicated that this is the direction that it would like the international community to move. We are committed to gradually removing all the restrictions," he said.
Indo-Asian News Service
The premier's message came as the curfew and communications blackout imposed by New Delhi in Kashmir entered its 12th day. Aug.15 is also India's Independence Day, which is being observed as a black day across Pakistan to protest the brutalities in Kashmir.
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His reaction came after the Indian government earlier in the day decided to revoke Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and split the state into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir with an Assembly and Ladakh without one.
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