The significance of ‘New Political Map’ of Pakistan

By Masroor Ahmad


Masroor Ahmad

It is very lamentable that despite part of a same civilization for many centuries Pakistan and India have been at daggers drawn with each other since independence. This is mainly because of the superiority complex and arrogance of the Hindus towards Muslims and injustice done with Pakistan on demographic grounds during partition and independence from the British. Although Pakistan showed patience with the unjustified partition of Punjab and Bengal in addition to illegal annexure of Hyderabad and Junagadh States with India but on the other hand Indi went too far by occupying Kashmir against the will of the people of the valley. It is also worth mentioning that Pakistan even supported India magnanimously during its skirmishes with China in 1962 by staying neutral and not taking advantage of Indian weakness with the hope that both the countries will amicably settle the Kashmir dispute through negotiations but India always stabbed Pakistan in the back. Pakistan reflected good intentions with India after independence as the founder of Pakistan Mr Jinnah wanted cordial relations with India like that of Canada and USA. According to a reference given in the book titled “Beyond the Lines”by Kuldip Nayar, Mr Jinnah stated that in case of any foreign aggression on India Pakistani soldiers would side with the latter due to the subcontinent brotherhood.

India has not only backed out from the UN resolutions on Kashmir but also from its own constitution by revocation of Kashmir’s constitutional autonomy. Since August 5 last year Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took away Indian-administered Kashmir’s special privileges, provoking anger in the region. It has illegally created two federally controlled territories, splitting off the thinly populated, Buddhist-dominated region of Ladakh. On the eve of completion of one year of revocation of Article 35A and 370 of the Indian constitution followed by sever lock down—the Pakistan government unveiled a ‘new political map’, an act which India has shamelessly called an “exercise in political absurdity”. It is indeed a befitting retaliation by Pakistani authorities as the map rejects the illegal steps taken by India on August 5 last year. . It would now be the "official map” after being approved by the federal cabinet, and would be the one used in schools and colleges.

Junagadh in Gujarat is also shown as part of Pakistan for further embarrassment to India. Junagadh was a Hindu majority princely state whose Muslim ruler opted to join Pakistan in 1947 but whose Hindu subjects said they wanted to join India whereas this principle was not applied in Kashmir which mirrors the shrewd Hindu mindset to deprive Pakistan of its lawful territories and resources. Pakistan seems to have devised a firm plan of action to be implemented for the resolution of the Kashmir issue by taking offensive measures. May be it took the courage from the latest move taken by Nepal cabinet to introduce a new political map which incorporated territories claimed by India. The Nepal parliament had subsequently changed the country’s constitution to update the contours of the map in the national coat of arms.

The map clearly identifies occupied Kashmir as a "disputed territory” and states that the final status will be decided in line with the relevant United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. There are further three text boxes in map which stated that the red dotted line signifies the Line of Control, adding that “accession” of Jammu and Kashmir has yet to be decided by a plebiscite and UNSC resolutions. In the past, Pakistan has been depicting Kashmir with eastern boundary undefined – and Junagadh in Gujarat. In fact, this is the first time that a map reflects the aspirations of the people. The new political map also makes clear that Siachen is a part of Pakistan thus challenging India’s illegal occupation and Pakistan’s claim to the area. Pakistan has also rejected India’s claims about Sir Creek in the map as India has captured several acres of the country’s "exclusive economic zone.” 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. Furthermore, Jammu and Kashmir in its entirety, including Gilgit-Baltistan, has been shown in one distinct colour in this map while the Line of Control (LoC) has been marked with red dotted line.

This map represents the goal of Pakistan and signals a hardening of Islamabad’s position over a decades-long border row that has strained ties between the South Asian hostile Atomic powers. This map sends a message to India; it sends a message to the unarmed youth of Kashmir who martyr themselves for the cause that Pakistan stands with them.

Unfortunately, economic partnership as well as diplomatic and political relations with India being a big consumer market is a attraction for Middle Eastern countries, EU states, USA and other global powers. What Pakistan can do is to urge the US, Russia, China, and other powerful nations to pressurise India for negotiations with more vigour than before. Pakistan cannot fully rely on China as it can only help Pakistan under the guidelines of the United Nations, while it lacks any significant influence over New Delhi itself. President Donald Trump’s statement on mediation in the Kashmir issue during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit was enough of an impetus to mobilise the Modi government to carry out constitutional changes, and to signal to the US to implement status quo in the region based on India’s preferences.

Pakistan has always been trying to solve the Kashmir issue peacefully. What Pakistan can do in the present scenario is to use electronic and print media, along with diplomatic and political platforms, to further the implications of the Kashmir issue. The new political map is an attempt by Pakistan to make India realise that it will not compromise on Kashmir. While Pakistan has enough military capability to engage India in the battlefield, the only reason for abstention is to avoid any nuclear conflict or inflicting suffering on the millions of people in the region. In short, the world in general and the Muslim world in particular need to pacify the situation in Kashmir through plebiscite according to the UN resolutions, which gives the Kashmiri people the right to self-determination.