By Sadia Mir
India proposed a bill in first week of May 2016 that deals with wrong depiction of the Indian map, and violators can be jailed for maximum term of seven years and fine upto Rs 100 crore (Indian rupees).
This measure has been taken by the government against the backdrop of instances where certain social networking sites showed Indian occupied Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh as part of Pakistan and China respectively.
Sources claim that social media Apps ‘Twitter’ had shown the geographical location of Kashmir in China and Jammu in Pakistan triggering protests from the Indian government after which it was corrected.
According to the draft ‘The Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016’, it will be mandatory to take permission from a government authority before acquiring, disseminating, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India.
“No person shall depict, disseminate, publish or distribute any wrong or false topographic information of India including international boundaries through internet platforms or online services or in any electronic or physical form.
“Whoever acquired any geospatial information of India in contravention of the law shall be punished with a fine ranging from Rs 1 crore to Rs 100 crore and or imprisonment for a period upto seven years,” according to the draft bill.
Geospatial Information means geospatial imagery or data acquired through space or aerial platforms such as satellite, aircrafts, airships, balloons, unmanned aerial vehicles including value addition or graphical or digital data depicting natural or man-made physical features, phenomenon or boundaries of the earth or any information related thereto including surveys, charts, maps, terrestrial photos referenced to co-ordinate system and having attributes.
The Indian government also proposed to set up a Security Vetting Authority to carry out security vetting of the Geospatial Information of India in a time bound manner and as per the regulations framed by an apex committee.
This draft bill is enough to understand how much Indian is intolerant over Kashmir issue and how it defies United Nations Resolutions on Kashmir without any response from the UN itself or from China and Pakistan because neither China nor Pakistan approached Twitter Company to present their cases over Kashmir.
If we talk about Pakistan particularly, it looks that Pakistan virtually does care where Kashmir Valley falls in maps.
The recent example is the groundbreaking ceremony of CASA 1000 project in Tajikistan where Prime Minister of Pakistan Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif was standing under a huge map depicting Kashmir as part of India.
In his speech at the ceremony, Pakistani Prime Minister described CASA 1000 as a win-win situation for all the stakeholders (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan) but accepting Kashmir as part of Indian map is of course not a win-win situation for Kashmiris who have been fighting war of independence since 1947 and sacrificed millions of lives to stand as an independent nation or for joining Pakistan.
One can understand that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif overlooked this huge map while standing under its shadow but this looks intriguing that Pakistani authorities including officials of Pakistani Embassy in Dushanbe also disregarded such sensitive and serious issue because they could have been at groundbreaking spot many times before actual ceremony was held. It is strange that nobody from Pakistani side objected this grave mistake and did not bother to demand to replace this lofty map.
More interestingly, no action has been taken against those who could be responsible to allow this grave mistake by the host country, Tajikistan. Sources claim that nobody even considered this grave and serious issue and did not utter a single word of objection or protest with Dushanbe.
I was watching television channels in Karachi those were broadcasting transmission of groundbreaking ceremony and I was crying and called a number of television channels to realize then what they were doing and how they were supporting the stand of India against Kashmiris. However, my calls were nothing just a stupid action of a Pakistani who is not ready to compromise over national issues like Kashmir and sovereign position of Pakistan over Kashmir.
Has Pakistan accepted Kashmir as integral part of India?, is a question that needs to be answered by people in power and media in action.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dispatch News Desk. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of Dispatch News Desk.