ISLAMABAD - Pakistan will observe the Indian Independence Day as “Black Day” today (August 15) to protest against New Delhi’s unilateral decision to merge held Kashmir into its union.

In his Independence Day message, Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, while expressing solidarity with people of Occupied Kashmir, said on Wednesday that the Pakistan Army is fully ready to play its part in line with its national duty for the cause of occupied Kashmir.

Apart from Pakistsn, the Black Day will also be observed on both sides of the Line of Control in Azad and Held Kashmir.

Black flags will be hoisted on rooftops and vehicles across Pakistan and Azad Kashmir to symbolize rejection for Indian nefarious designs.

Protest rallies will be organised in all small and major cities of the country while seminars will be held to highlight the plight of oppressed Kashmiris who are being subjected to unprecedented persecution over the last ten days.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has earlier said that Pakistan had decided to take the matter of India’s annexation of Kashmir to the United Nations.

“Pakistan will observe August 15 as a black day,” Qureshi said, citing the National Security Committee meeting.

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This month, India repealed articles 370 and 35A of its constitution, revoking autonomous status of Kashmir.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 isn’t 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.

The government has urged the media to turn logos black and run the story as breaking news.

The television channels will also broadcast song India ja ja nikal ja (go out India).

People have been urged to turn twitter DPS as black and use ‘15th August: Black Day’ as hashtag.

Yesterday, Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa 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.

“There can never be a compromise on Kashmir,” General Bajwa said in his Independence Day message to the nation, according to a tweet by the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations.

“Reality of Kashmir was neither changed by an illegal piece of paper in 1947 nor will any other do it now or in future,” he added, rejecting India’s withdrawal of special status for occupied Kashmir.

General Bajwa said the Pakistan Army is “fully alive to the sanctity of Jammu & Kashmir” and will remain prepared to perform its part in line with its national duty for the cause of Kashmir.

“We shall stand in the face of tyranny, regardless of the cost,” the chief of army staff said.