New Delhi: On the eve of the first anniversary of abrogation of the controversial Article 370 in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday (Aug 4) sought to step up acrimony or bitterness with India by "unveiling a new political map" of his country.
Predictably, in a strongly worded statement, the Ministry of External Affairs said: "We have seen a so-called “political map” of Pakistan that has been released by Prime Minister Imran Khan. 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".
The MEA further said: "These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility. In fact, this new effort only confirms reality of Pakistan’s obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism".
A report in Pakistani newspaper 'Dawn' said: - "Addressing the nation alongside Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, the premier (Imran) said that it would now be the "official map" after being approved by the federal cabinet, which had met earlier today, and would be the one used in schools and colleges". The map identifies Kashmir as a "disputed territory", according to the report.
Imran Khan also said the new map of Pakistan 'rejects' the steps taken by India on August 5 last year (2019) - in reference to abrogation of Article 370. The BJP under Prime Minister Narendra Modi 'fulfilled' one of their primary electoral promises on August 5, 2019 by way of abrogation of the Article 370 - which had given some 'extra' powers to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
It may be mentioned here that Prime Minister Modi’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar (in new dispensation since May 30, 2019) had said that when the controversial Article prevailed, Jammu and Kashmir was “in a mess".
“.....pre-August 5 (2019) Kashmir was in a mess. Difficulties in Kashmir did not start on August 5. It is supposed to be a way of dealing with those difficulties," the minister had said in September last year at the interactive session with Frank G. Wisner, a former US Ambassador to India. "We had the experience of 2016 when a self-advertised terrorist cult figure called Burhan Wani was killed and after that, there was a spike in violence. Our intention was to manage the situation (after the Article 370 decision) without the loss of life and restrictions were intended to do that," he has said.
The abrogation of Article 370, enacting Uniform Civil Code and a grand Ram Temple at Ayodhya were three principal yet contentious promises made by the BJP in electoral politics since its inception. Now, two of them have been implemented or about to be implemented. In terms of election promises – Art 370 has been abolished and the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been bifurcated. A union territory of Ladakh has been created and J&K also has been made a central government-administered UT.
Of course, even the Ram Temple is now a 'reality' as the Supreme Court gave a convincing and favourable verdict to that effect on Nov 9, 2019. Prime Minister Modi will be traveling to Ayodhya on Wednesday, Aug 5, to participate at the foundation stone laying ceremony of the new grand temple along with a galaxy of leaders including RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. The Modi government also passed a law last year banning Triple Talaq - a system that did injustice to millions of Muslim women.
In fact, the government data shows that, after the enactment of new law, there has been drop in Triple Talaq cases by staggeringly high 82 per cent.