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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 8/5/20

The politics of political maps in South Asia

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Message Abdus-Sattar Ghazali
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Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday unveiled a new "political map of Pakistan" that showed Jammu and Kashmir as well as Junagadh as the territories of Pakistan.

The map was released a day before the annexation of the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir by India.

Unveiling the new map on Tuesday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said that it "represents the ambition of the people of Pakistan."

"Today, we are introducing the new map of Pakistan before the world. This new map has been endorsed by Pakistan's cabinet, opposition and the Kashmiri leadership. This map is as per the aspirations of the entire nation as well as the people of Kashmir," Imran Khan said in a press conference in Islamabad.

"This map also opposes the Indian government's illegal act of August 5 last year," Imran Khan stressed.

India called the new map as a political absurdity.

"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 and Kashmir, and of Ladakh. These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility," external affairs ministry spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said in a brief statement.

"In fact, this new effort only confirms reality of Pakistan's obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism," Srivastava said, referring to the 'so-called political map' released by Imran Khan.

Till now, Pakistan has resisted calling the all areas of Pakistan administered Kashmir as a part of its territory officially. While it treats Gilgil-Baltistan as its territory, it calls the rest 'Azad Kashmir'.

The new map showed Pakistan frontier clearly marked with India with the entire Kashmir as its territory. However, the part of Kashmir and Ladakh border with China was not marked and described as "Frontier Undecided".

Similarly, the Line of Control (between Pakistan and Kashmir) had been extended to the Karakoram Pass, clearing showing Siachen glacier as part of Pakistan.

The Jammu & Kashmir had been described as "Disputed Territory Final status to be decided in line with relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions".

India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars over Kashmir, and the Himalayan region has remained the focus of a flare-up between the two nuclear powers over the years.

The map also shows Siachen glacier as a part of Pakistan. "[Through the map] we are challenging their illegal occupation and claiming our right to the area," Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said.

In 1984, India seized the glacier from Pakistan. In his memoirs, former Pakistani president, General Pervez Musharraf states that Pakistan lost 985.71 sq mi of territory. Time magazine also states that the Indian advance captured 985.71 sq mi of territory claimed by Pakistan. Camps were soon converted to permanent posts by both countries. [Wikipedia]

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Author and journalist. Author of Islamic Pakistan: Illusions & Reality; Islam in the Post-Cold War Era; Islam & Modernism; Islam & Muslims in the Post-9/11 America. Currently working as free lance journalist. Executive Editor of American (more...)
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