NEW YORK: Indian tactics to depict Jammu Kashmir as ‘part’ of India cannot change the fundamental fact that the state is a disputed territory, Ambassador Dr Maleeha Lodhi said, referring to the contentious draft bill seeking to regulate India’s geospatial information.
“Jammu Kashmir is disputed territory and numerous UN Security Council resolutions attest to this,” she said when asked to comment on India’s External Affairs Ministry’s claim that the disputed state was an ‘essential part’ of India and that the proposed Geospatial Information Regulation Bill was an entirely ‘internal legislative’ matter of India.
Dr Maleeha comments came as the UN Security Council issued a letter addressed to the UN secretary general and the council’s president, in which she voiced Pakistan government’s serious concern over the Indian move, as a document of the 15-member body. Under the draft bill, anyone distributing a map that the Indian government deems to be ‘wrong’ could be legally responsible for a billion-rupee fine and jail time.
As regards Pakistan’s concerns over the portrayal of Jammu Kashmir as ‘part’ of India, the Indian spokesman in New Delhi rejected what he called the ‘repeated and increasing attempts’ by Pakistan to ‘impose’ on the international community matters that it had always been open to address bilaterally with it.
To questions, Dr Maleeha called untenable the Indian claim that Jammu Kashmir was an ‘integral part’ of India. “This is a travesty of history, morality, international law and facts on the ground,” she said in her letter, now dispersedas an official UN document, she regretted that the international community and the UN have failed to take notice of this Indian action.
“The international community should honour its responsibility to the people of Jammu Kashmir. More than 65 years later, the people of Jammu Kashmir are still waiting for the international community and the UN to fulfiltheir commitments by holding an independent and impartial plebiscite under UN auspices,” the letter said.
The draft bill, which was circulated by India’s Home Affairs Ministry for comments from the general public on May 4, is likely to be tabled in the parliament after the expiry of the 30-day period. The draft legislation proposes setting up of four enforcement bodies: an apex committee, a security vetting authority and an enforcement and appellant authority.
Any violation of the license terms and conditions, set in the draft bill, would lead to revocation of license, a fine up to Indian Rupees 1 billion and seven-year imprisonment. Additionally, the bill stokes concerns over privacy, free flow of order and innovation.