India on Tuesday ridiculed a new “political map” of Pakistan, that includes Jammu and Kashmir, and Junagadh in Gujarat, in Pakistani territory, ANI reported. The Indian government called the move an “exercise in absurdity”.
“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,” India’s statement said. “These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility.” The statement added that the release of the new map confirms Pakistan’s “obsession with territorial aggrandizement” supported by cross-border terrorism.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had earlier in the day unveiled the new “political map”, Dawn reported. Khan’s move came a day before the first anniversary of the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
Khan said in an address to the people of Pakistan that the new map will now be the official map of the country, and will be used for teaching in schools and colleges. Khan, who appeared in a video alongside Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, said the map rejects the “illegal steps” India took on August 5 last year.
The Pakistan prime minister added that the Kashmir problem can only be solved by following United Nations Security Council resolutions, which call for the right to self-determination for the Kashmiri people. “Their right to self-determination, given to them by the world community, has still not been given [by India],” Khan said. “And we clearly want to say to the world that it is the only solution.”
Khan claimed that Pakistan will participate in a “political struggle” in Kashmir, as it does not believe in “military solutions” to the conflict. The Pakistan prime minister also upbraided the United Nations, alleging that it had failed in its promise to the people of Kashmir.
Khan said the map clearly demarcates the Indian side of Jammu and Kashmir as disputed, and shows Siachen as a part of Pakistan. The Indian Army had captured the Siachen Glacier in 1984, pre-empting a similar, planned Pakistani operation.
Khan said that Pakistan also does not recognise India’s position on Sir Creek, an estuary that separates Gujarat state in India from Sindh province of Pakistan. “We have said that our border is towards the eastern bank; India had claimed that it goes towards the west,” he said. Khan claimed that India was trying to “capture” several acres of Pakistan’s “exclusive economic zone” by its reading of the map.
Qureshi claimed that the “Kashmiri leadership” has also endorsed the government’s move. “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,” he said. “Our destination is Srinagar.”