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ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister, Imran Khan, has unveiled the "political map" of the country on the eve of the first anniversary of Youm-e-Istehsal, saying that this would be the first step towards making Jammu and Kashmir a part of Pakistan.

While launching the "political map" of the country on Tuesday, the prime minister described the day as "historic" as it negates the oppressive step taken by India on August 5, 2019, to revoke Article 370, and is now trying to get the people from outside settled in Kashmir, so as to convert Kashmiri into a minority in their own areas.

The prime minister said that the "political map" had been approved by the federal cabinet and endorsed by all the political parties of the country and the Kashmiri leadership. Pakistan's map, which is being brought before the international community, reflects aspirations of Pakistani people and the principled stance of the people of Kashmir, and from today onwards would be the official map of the country in colleges, schools and internationally.

The premier said that he would like to make it clear again that there was only one solution to the Kashmir issue, and that was through resolutions of the UN, and promised that the present government would make every effort for the right of self determination for the Kashmiris "to decide through a vote whether they would like to be a part of India or Pakistan".

He regretted that this right of self determination, which had been promised by the international community to the people of Kashmir, had not so far been given to them. "I again congratulate everyone and am very happy that this map is a step towards making Kashmir a part of Pakistan and the government would strive for political solution as it did not believe in a military solution," he added.

While briefing about the changes effected in the new map, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said although many administrative maps of Pakistan have been made public in the past with one in 1949, and second 1976, but for the first time a "political map" was being unveiled before the nation in line with the aspirations of the people.

He said that "this is the map, which has long been the country presenting Pakistan's stance behind closed door meetings but for the first time it was presenting it openly as a government stance to the nation, and conveying to the international community about Pakistan's position".

He said that green colour in the map reflects the area of Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, which is a disputed territory, and Pakistan has long been making efforts to find a solution to the dispute. He said that India on August 05, 2019, issued a map and showed the AJK and the GB as part of its territory, which was contrary to the UNSC resolutions, and Pakistan rejected their designs in the map.

He added that Pakistan's stance is that this entire territory is disputed, and its solution should be in line with the UNSC resolutions. Qureshi added that it has been written in the map that a plebiscite would be held under the UN, which would decide the future of Kashmir.

Similarity, he added it has been made clear in the map that Jammu is yet resolvable issue and apart from it has been made clear in military demarcation that Siachen has been part of Pakistan in the past as well as even today. He said Indian claim over Sir Creek has been negated in the map and the FATA has been shown as part of the KP province.

Undefined frontiers have been mentioned in the map, where recently a standoff between India and China has taken place, with explanation that upon resolution of Kashmir dispute the sovereign states of the territory would decide about the undefined frontiers. He said that entire political leadership of the country was taken into confidence during a meeting at the Foreign Office.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020