‘We’ll stand by people of Kashmir’: Pakistani foreign minister tweets new ‘political map’ of region that was blasted by India

Pakistan’s foreign minister has tweeted a new “political map” of disputed Kashmir as Pakistani territory, one year after its autonomy was revoked by India. New Delhi previously blasted the map as “political absurdity.”

Wednesday marks a year since New Delhi revoked the decades-old autonomy of the part of Kashmir it controls. The mountainous state was split into two union territories: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Indian officials argued that the reorganization would help fight terrorism and boost the region’s economy. Pakistan, which clams the whole territory of Kashmir as its own, insists the move was illegal under international law.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi tweeted that Islamabad “will always stand by the people of Kashmir.” He posted the map, which featured the whole of Kashmir within Pakistan’s boundaries, with its eastern part “illegally occupied” by India. It also placed parts of India’s Gujarat State in Pakistan’s domain.

The new “political map” was unveiled by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan during a government meeting on Tuesday. Khan said that the map “reflects our national aspiration and supports our principled stance on Kashmir dispute.” Qureshi clarified that the map will be considered official, and will be used in schools and colleges.

The Indian government rejected the map as “an exercise in political absurdity,” and argued that Pakistan’s claims “have neither legal validity nor international credibility.”

On Wednesday, a minute’s silence was observed and rallies were held in Pakistani cities in solidarity with Kashmiris. The government had declared August 5 “the day of exploitation” of Kashmir by India.

India has beefed up security in Kashmir in an effort to prevent potential violence during the anniversary of the end of its autonomy. Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted that the decision by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reorganize the region a year ago was the right call. Modi “undid decades of darkness to bring development [and] opportunities to Jammu [and] Kashmir and Ladakh,” he wrote.

India and Pakistan fought several bloody wars over Kashmir in the last century. Shelling regularly occurs along the factual border, with both sides blaming each other for aggression.

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