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Pak PM’s ‘political map’ an exercise in political absurdity: India

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New Delhi: India on Tuesday called as “political absurdity” Pakistan’s unveiling of a new political map incorporating Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Gujarat as its territories, and said these “ridiculous assertions” have neither legal validity nor international credibility.
“We have seen a so-called ‘political map’ of Pakistan that has been released by Prime Minister Imran Khan. This is an exercise in political absurdity, laying untenable claims to territories in the Indian state of Gujarat and our Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and of Ladakh,” the external affairs ministry said.
“These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility. In fact, this new effort only confirms reality of Pakistan’s obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism,” it said in a statement.
Notably, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday unveiled a “new political map” of Pakistan which also included entire Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Gujarat.
The government’s move comes a day ahead of the first anniversary of India’s unilateral decision to revoke the area’s semi-autonomy.
Addressing the nation alongside Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Khan said that it would now be the “official map” after being approved by the federal cabinet, which had met earlier today, and would be the one used in schools and colleges.
The map clearly identifies Kashmir as a “disputed territory” and states that the final status will be decided in line with the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions.
The map rejects the illegal steps taken by India on August 5 last year, he said, adding that the federal cabinet and the country’s political leadership had supported it.
Khan maintained that the Kashmir issue could only be solved by following the UNSC resolutions which give the Kashmiri people the right to self-determination.
“Their right to self-determination, given to them by the world community, has still not been given. And we clearly want to say to the world that it is the only solution,” he said, adding that the government will keep making efforts in this regard.
“We will do political struggle, we don’t believe in military solutions. We will remind the UN again and again that you had made a promise [to the people of Kashmir] which you did not fulfill.”
Presenting the changes made in the map, the foreign minister said that administrative maps have been introduced before, but this was the first time that a map reflected the aspirations of the people.
He added that the map clearly showed Kashmir as a disputed territory and the only solution to the issue would be through the UNSC resolutions and as per the aspirations of the people.
The foreign minister added that it had also been made clear that Siachen is a part of Pakistan. “[Through the map] we are claiming our right to the area,” he said.
He maintained that Pakistan had also rejected India’s claims about Sir Creek in the map. “We have said that our border is towards the eastern bank; India had claimed that it goes towards the west,” he said, adding that by doing so, India was trying to capture several acres of the countrys “exclusive economic zone”.
Further, erstwhile Fata has been shown as part of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, he said.
Qureshi said that the entire nation was united on the country’s new political map. The federal cabinet, the Kashmiri leadership and Pakistan’s political leadership has endorsed the government’s move, he said.
“This gives a clear message to the people of Kashmir, that the government of Pakistan was with them in the past and will stand with them in the future.”
“Our destination is Srinagar,” he said, adding that this was a “historic day”.
In the map, Jammu and Kashmir in its entirety, including Gilgit-Baltistan, has been shown in one distinct colour, the Foreign Office said.
Further, the Line of Control (LoC) has been marked with red dotted line. “The red dotted line represents approximately the LoC in Jammu and Kashmir. The state of Jammu and Kashmir and its accession is yet to be decided through plebiscite under the relevant UNSC resolutions,” the map reads.
The map also contains an annotation for the area on the map marked “frontier undefined”. “Actual boundary in the area […] would ultimately be decided by the sovereign authorities concerned after the settlement of the Jammu and Kashmir dispute.” (with inputs from PTI, Agencies)

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