Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday unveiled a new map of the country which showed the entire disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir as its territory.
The move came a day ahead of the first anniversary of India’s unilateral decision to scrap Kashmir’s special status which guaranteed it partial autonomy.
The new map marks the Himalayan region as “Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir”, unlike its former status as “disputed territory”.
In an address to the nation, Khan said: “Today is a historic day for Pakistan as the Cabinet, opposition and Kashmiri leadership endorsed the new map.”
“Kashmir will become part of Pakistan and this map is the first step toward it,” Khan added.
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”.
“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 of Ladakh,” said the Indian External Ministry in a statement.
Last year on Aug. 5, the Indian government stripped the Muslim-majority disputed state of its autonomy. Jammu and Kashmir was also split into two federally administered territories.
Simultaneously, New Delhi locked the region down, detaining thousands of people that included dozens of top politicians, imposing movement restrictions, and enforcing a communications blackout.
Fearing protests in Indian-administered Kashmir on the first anniversary of its move, the government on Tuesday imposed partial curfew in the region.
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.
Some groups in the Indian-administered Kashmir have been fighting against the Indian rule for independence, or unification with neighboring Pakistan.
*Shuriah Niazi contributed to this story from New Delhi
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