Pakistan’s new map an expression of “political absurdity”

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Pakistan’s new political map is an exercise in political absurdity, the Ministry of External Affairs said after Prime Minister Imran Khan launched it on Tuesday which included the entire Indian territory of Jammu and Kashmir and parts of Gujarat, including Junagarh.

“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,” a press statement of the Ministry of External Affairs said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said the document firms up its claims on Sir Creek and the Siachen glacier. During the presentation on the map following a Cabinet meeting in Islamabad, the Pakistan Prime Minister referred to the first anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 which removed the special status to Jammu and Kashmir and said, the map is an expression of Pakistan’s long nurtured aspiration. “Our aim is Srinagar,” said Mr. Qureshi. The new political map has also removed the reference of Federally Administered Tribal Area and has depicted that area as part of the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It also leaves an undefined section towards Ladakh which according to Mr. Qureshi will be resolved in future.

The MEA referred to the map as an expression of Pakistan’s ‘obsession’. “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.

This is the second such map revising territorial claims in South Asia after Nepal printed a political map in May showing the Kalapani region of Pithoragarh district as part of its sovereign territory. Nepal had blamed India for asserting claims over the region in the political map that India published in November 2019 which showed the new Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh that were born after New Delhi abrogated Article 370 which had guaranteed special status for the region.

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