Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday unveiled a “new political map” of Pakistan which also included occupied Kashmir. The premier’s announcement came a day ahead of the first anniversary of India’s controversial unilateral decision to revoke the area’s semi-autonomy.
Addressing the nation alongside Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the premier said that it would now be the “official map” after being approved by the federal cabinet, which had met earlier in the day, and would be the one used in schools and colleges.
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.
The premier maintained that the Kashmir issue could only be solved by following the United Nations Security Council 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 Indian Illegally occupied Jammu and 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 challenging their illegal occupation and 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 country’s “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”.
Qureshi congratulated the entire nation and Prime Minster Imran Khan for taking the “unprecedented step”. “For the first time in history our government has openly presented its stance before the world,” he said.
Qureshi said the plebiscite should be held in Kashmir region under the watch of UN to determine the future of disputed territory. “We believe that entire Kashmir region is disputed and it needs solution.”
Earlier in the day, the federal cabinet, under the chairmanship of PM Imran, discussed overall political and economic situation of the country and accorded approval to different agenda items.
The Prime Minister said the new map also negates India’s occupational illegal action of August 5 last year, adding that the map, which has been endorsed by the federal cabinet, is fully backed by the entire political leadership of the country. “This new official map will henceforth be used in curriculum,” he said.
The federal cabinet also approved a 13-point agenda on various issues.
Federal Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed left shortly after the start of the meeting due to ill health.