On the eve of the first anniversary of the revocation of the contentious Article 370 and Article 35A, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled a new political map which shows Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Gujarat as an integral part of Pakistan.
Until now, Pakistan had refrained from describing even all areas of POK as a part of its territory. Officially, it treated Gilgil-Baltistan as its territory and had dubbed the rest ' as Azad Kashmir'.
The map describes J&K as illegally occupied by India – a disputed territory – the final status of which is to be decided in line with relevant UNSC resolutions.
"This is the most historic day in Pakistan's history," Khan said while addressing a news conference, after chairing the meeting of federal cabinet, which approved the new map on Tuesday.
“Today, we are introducing the new map of Pakistan to the world. This new map has been endorsed by Pakistan's cabinet, the opposition and the Kashmiri leadership. This map is as per the aspirations of the entire nation, as well as the people of Kashmir," Khan said at the press conference.
"This map nullifies the illegal step that India took on August 5 last year with regards to Kashmir. Starting today, this will be the official map of Pakistan,” he added.
Celebrating the move, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, "For the first time in history our government has openly presented its stance before the world."
He also reiterated the demand for an UN-monitored plebiscite in the region. “We believe that the entire Kashmir region is disputed and it needs a solution,” he added.
Pakistan has further announced that it will be observing a “Black Day” on Wednesday. It has said it will observe the anniversary of the revocation of Article 370 as a “siege day” in solidarity with Kashmiris.
Pakistan's move comes a month after another of India's neighbour, Nepal, redrew the political map, incorporating strategically important Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura areas which India maintains belong to it.
AN ABUSRDITY, SAYS MEA
India lost no time in describing the map as a "political absurdity" 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 Ladakh," the external affairs ministry said. "These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility. In fact, this new effort only confirms the reality of Paksitan’s obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism," it said in a statement.