ISLAMABAD/NEW DELHI: The government of Pakistan has exercised its executive authority by formally laying claim to the disputed Himalayan territory of Jammu and Kashmir in a new political map, experts said on Wednesday, adding that the move was in line with the country’s decades-old position on Kashmir since it had always maintained that the region was illegally occupied by India.
Prime Minister Imran Khan unveiled Pakistan’s new map, showing the entire area of Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan as its territory. The decision was made in response to a similar step taken by India which released its own political map in October last year depicting Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, both territories governed by Pakistan, as being part of India.
The Muslim majority Himalayan valley of Kashmir remains disputed between the two South Asian neighbors since 1947. Both claim it in full but rule only parts of it. Both countries have also fought at least two full-scale wars over the territory, making the world community describe the region as a potential nuclear flashpoint.
Last year, India revoked the special status of the disputed Himalayan region’s autonomy.
Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the new map shows Kashmir shares a clear border with China.
India on its part called Islamabad’s move “an exercise in political absurdity”.
Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts but claimed by both in full. A small sliver of the region is also controlled by China.
Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars – in 1948, 1965, and 1971 – two of them over the disputed territory.