Islamabad—Pakistan has expressed “serious concerns” to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and UN secretary general over India’s controversial ‘maps bill’ which aims to restrict geographical depictions of India and disputed Kashmir to those that are government-approved.
“Pakistan expressed serious concerns to the UN Secretary General and the President of the UNSC, through letters by its Permanent Representative in New York, with regard to the Indian government’s efforts to introduce a controversial ‘Geospatial Information Regulation Bill’ in the Indian Parliament,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office stated.
“In violation of UNSC resolutions, the official map of India has been depicting the disputed territory of Jammu and Kashmir as part of India which is factually incorrect and legally untenable,” the statement said.
Further, the letter called upon the UN to uphold the UNSC resolutions and urge India to stop such acts which are in violation of international law. “We have urged the international community and the United Nations to fulfill their commitment with the people of Jammu and Kashmir by holding an independent and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices,” the FO spokesperson said.
The bill, which is up for public consultation, was published on the Indian home ministry’s website on Wednesday and lists penalties, including a prison term of up to seven years and a fine of 1 billion Indian rupees. New Delhi has already imposed tight restrictions on maps but if it becomes law, the bill would impose specific penalties for the first time, including for online use. The new bill also states that a licence will be needed to “acquire, disseminate, publish or distribute” maps.