New Delhi: With India considering a proposal that would punish publishers or creators of maps that distort Kashmir with a stiff fine and time in prison, Pakistan has complained to the United Nations -triggering a brusque response from Delhi.
“Pakistan or any other party has no locus standi in our internal legislative matter,” said a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
Earlier, Nafees Zakaria, a spokesperson for Pakistan’s Foreign Office said India was trying to propagate an “incorrect and legally untenable” map, in violation of UN Security Council resolutions.
A letter sent to the UN by Pakistan urged India “to stop acts that are in violation of international law”.
As reported first by NDTV a few weeks ago, the Home Ministry has sought feedback on a plan that makes it essential for anyone offering maps online to get a license from the government. Services like Google Maps gather information from satellites and crowd-sourced data. These could become illegal without sanction.
The proposal also offers a prison term of up to seven years and a fine of Rs. 100 crore for anyone who publishes an incorrect map of India’s borders, including in Kashmir. India has in the past acted against media companies who showed inaccurate maps, but if it becomes law, the bill would impose specific penalties for the first time.
Last year, the government took the Al Jazeera news channel off air for nearly a week, saying it had repeatedly shown incorrect maps of Kashmir.
In 2011, The Economist placed white stickers over a diagram of borders in 28,000 copies on sale in India.
The government’s new proposal could be submitted for review to parliament when it meets next in July.