NationalVOLUME 16 ISSUE # 10

A war of disinformation against Pakistan

EU DisinfoLab, an independent European organisation that digs out surreptitious disinformation and virulent propaganda campaigns, published “Indian Chronicles”, unearthing a massive operation targeting international institutions and serving Indian interests. According to it, the Srivastava Group resurrected dead media, dead think-tanks and NGOs. It even resurrected dead people. The network is active in Brussels, Geneva, producing and amplifying contents to undermine – primarily – Pakistan.

The report uncovers very shocking and sophisticated methods and tools of communication which have been used by India’s RAW to discredit nations in conflict with India, especially Pakistan and China. It is a new investigative report by the EU DisinfoLab. Last year, it uncovered a vast network of 265 coordinated fake local media outlets in 65 countries serving Indian interests, as well as multiple dubious think tanks and NGOs. In a new investigation, overall, an entire network of over 500 fake local media outlets in 95 countries helped reproduce negative iterations about Pakistan (or China). In total, the operation has covered 116 countries and nine regions.

Between 2005 and 2020, it established a fake web comprising Times of Geneva, EP Today, European Organization for Pakistani Minority (EOPM), 4NewsAgency, Women’s Economic and Social Think Tank (WESTT), A2N Broadcasting, International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies (IAINS), Delhi Times and New Delhi Times. The Times of Geneva regularly manufactures – and spreads – fake news on Gilgit-Baltistan. IAINS arranged carefully supervised propaganda trips to Kashmir by EU MPs and their meetings with PM Modi. RAW’s information warfare has four aims. One, to disseminate propaganda against Pakistan. Two, to discredit Pakistan internationally. Three, to influence decision-making at the UN. Four, to influence decision-making at the EU Parliament. According to Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of EU DisinfoLab, “It is the largest network we have exposed.” Amazingly, the same network uses at least 10 UN-accredited NGOs to lobby against Pakistan, to organise anti-Pakistan demonstrations and speak against Pakistan at the UN. Asian News International (ANI), India’s largest news agency that offers syndicated multimedia news feed to news-bureaus in India and around the world, played significant roles as allies of the Research and Analysis Wing. The EU DisinfoLab concluded that ANI had on multiple occasions published mostly anti-Pakistan and sometimes anti-China opinion pieces and the material was known to have been sourced from a vast network of pro-India fake news websites run by the Srivastava Group.

The EU DisinfoLab has caught RAW red-handed, something that our missions in Brussels, Geneva and the UN should have done. On top of arming and financing terrorists in Balochistan, RAW is now spending upwards of a hundred million dollars on professional networks of “troll farms” to achieve three things: influence, disrupt and usurp. RAW’s pseudo state-sponsored, non-kinetic, all-out assault against Pakistan has six weapons: fake news, fake media, fake addresses, fake letterheads, fake names and fake telephone numbers. There’s no real blood on Pakistani streets but RAW wants to use its non-lethal weaponry as a force multiplier – and that’ll be deadlier than ever before.

According to reports, India has launched a media campaign worth Rs7 billion against Pakistan. As part of the campaign, it has already launched a multimedia website and app of its Balochi radio service. India has also started a TV news channel called Zee Salam which broadcasts in the Urdu language. It has created about 350K+ “Bot” profiles on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter under Pakistani names, mostly with Baloch and Pashtun surnames. They are also sharing 1000’s of fake photos/videos of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and ex-FATA on a daily basis, systematically manipulating Pakistan’s social media with clever misinformation.

In short, India is using the supreme power of mass communication and its tools like media, including print, electronic, social, data mining, algorithms, bots, advanced cyber programmes, etc. along with terrorism against Pakistan. Indian former Army Chief General Vijay Kumar Singh has already stated that “following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the Indian army raised a Tactical Support Division (TSD), which carried out bomb blasts in Pakistan, and doled out money to separatist elements in Balochistan”. The former RAW chief, Ajit Doval, has threatened Pakistan in these words: “You may do one Mumbai; you may lose Balochistan”.

All these facts clearly show that India has imposed a disinformation and propaganda war on Pakistan. The sole purpose of the war is to distort Pakistan’s image as a peace-loving country, create anti-Pakistani views and feelings among the people and nations of the world. India also wants to create instability in Pakistan by fomenting hatred, restlessness, sectarianism, terrorism and extremism. To achieve its nefarious designs, India is using weapons of mass distraction as opposed to weapons of mass destruction and persuasive technology as opposed to destructive technology against Pakistan.

After the shocking revelations, international bodies like the UN, EU, OIC should take notice of India’ disinformation and propaganda war against Pakistan and China. They should not only conduct a thorough investigation into the Indian-baked virulent campaigns but also condemn and force India to stop the disinformation war against Pakistan and China. Pakistan should also highlight the grave issue in the world through the media and diplomats as the Brussels-based body’s investigation corroborates the country’s official position regarding Indian involvement in terrorist activities in Pakistan. The UN and EU should blacklist all persons and organisations which are involved in the war of spreading falsehood. Pakistan should also endeavour to reach to Indian intellectuals and moderate people for making them realise that the Modi government is following fascist, extremist and hateful ideas and policies which, eventually, will divide their society and country.

On the other hand, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said: “I have learned through our intelligence forces that India is planning a surgical strike against Pakistan”. PM Imran Khan has categorically declared that “make no mistake: India will get a befitting response if it conducts a false-flag operation”. To divert the attention of the world and Indian people from the persecution of Kashmiris and minorities, including Muslims, Christians, Sikhs and Dalits, and other internal problems, the Modi government could use false tactics. If India commits a blunder, there will be a full-scale war between the two nuclear-armed countries, endangering the entire region and peace of the world.