Jammu & Kashmir and Junagarh district in Pakistan’s new political map

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In the season of releasing new maps, after Nepal, Pakistan releases a new political map in which it has made sovereign claims on the entire Jammu & Kashmir and the erstwhile princely state of Junagadh in Gujarat.  The map was revealed on 4th August, one day before the anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, a move that scrapped the special status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

“Our aim is Srinagar, our goal is to achieve and fulfill the dreams of our ancestors,” Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

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He further added,

“For the first time in history, our government has openly presented its stance before the world. 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. This map represents our goal.”

He also described the map as an “unprecedented step.” On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Pakistan’s new political map is an exercise in ‘political absurdity’, laying untenable claims to territories in the Indian State of Gujarat and our Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and of Ladakh. These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility.”

The Ministry further added, “In fact, this new effort only confirms the reality of Pakistan’s obsession with territorial aggrandisement supported by cross-border terrorism.”

History of Junagadh Dispute and Pakistan’s New Map

Pakistan is trying to force Junagadh District into its political map by reading the very old chapter of history. Junagadh was a princely state under British Rule. It was a Hindu majority state, but the state was ruled by a Muslim ruler, Sir Muhammad Mahabat Khan III Khanji, who used to favour Pakistan and wanted to join this state with Pakistan. 

Shah Nawaz Bhutto of Pakistan (a member of Bhutto family of Pakistan) was appointed the ‘Dewan of Junagadh’ in 1947, who advised its merger with Pakistan. Bhutto had influenced Sir Muhammad Mahabat Khan III Khanji, hence he agreed to merge the state with Pakistan. 

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But, Sardar Patel intervened in the matter and demanded that the matter of the state’s accession should be decided by its people, not by the ruler. Sardar Patel was supported by Jawaharlal Nehru who said that, “Junagadh is a part India and we are ready to a plebiscite.”

In the plebiscite, India polled 222,184 votes and Pakistan 130 out of a total population of 720,000 of Junagadh and its feudatories. In January 1948, Pakistan brought the Junagadh case to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) where they pleaded that the rulers have signed the instrument of accession then how India can overrule this?

But, the issue was never properly discussed in the UN Security Council, and the discussion was diverted to the matter of Kashmir. Now, Pakistan is trying to revive the old Junagadh case and with the help of China, they might take it to the UN Security Council. Since India has friendly countries in UNSC, so there is a possibility that this case can be vetoed by them in support of India.

Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK)

Pakistan also changed some terminology with respect to India. Such as, it previously used the term India Occupied Kashmir (IOK) or Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IOJK), but now Pakistan refers to it as “Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK)”. It has also been added that ‘illegal action’ should be used in place of an illegal annexation.

Written by Shrey Srivastava, a Journalism graduate from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication, New Delhi. He writes for Politics, Education, and International affairs.

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