ON 9 December 2020, EU Disinfo Lab published a report about the Indian propaganda against Pakistan and China. The report is a last blow in the coffin of Indian fake news industry. EU Disinfolab is an independent organization working to point out the groups and organizations which use latest media technology to proliferate fake news. For the last 15 years, India has been carrying out a disinformation campaign against Pakistan and China in the western countries. The disinformation campaign has been damaging the image of Pakistan in the West. The modus operandi was to use fake profiles, NGOs, media outlets, MEPs, HR activists, videos, Vlogs, fiction stories etc to malign Pakistan. More interestingly, names of dead media outlets, think-tanks and NGOs have been used to initiate series of events against Pakistan to damage its repute in international community. The operation has been led by the Srivastava Group and amplified by ANI which began in 2005. It has used more than 750 fake media outlets covering 119 countries and above 550 registered domain names. This group also used more than 10 UN Human Rights Council accredited NGOs. The most bogus act of the campaign is the identity thefts, including the name of Martin Schulz, former President of the European Parliament and photo of James Purnell, former UK Government Minister for spreading their tweets and fake news. US-based NGO which was accredited to United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) had become inactive in late 1970s but was resurrected in 2005. The organization was not only revived but Louis B Sohn, its former Chairman and “father of International Law” who passed away in 2006, seemingly attended a UN Human Rights Council meeting in 2007 and participated in an event organized by “Friends of Gilgit-Baltistan” in Washington D.C. in 2011.
There were several agendas of the project. Overall this complete scam was focused on spreading anti-Pakistan feelings among the western countries and projecting Pakistan as the most vulnerable state. The second target was the Indian population wherein a feeling of hatred was promoted against Pakistan. On International forums, this project was focused on making the international repute of India better, while damaging Pakistan’s perception and linking it with hardliners, terrorism and threat for global community. It was working actively to get support from EU, UN and other International bodies for India. The campaign used to give financial and manpower support to human rights NGOs, minorities and think-tanks. It used various members of European Parliament to create bad image of Pakistan and to project soft image of India. In order to defame and malign Pakistan, three informal groups were established by Srivastava Group in EU Parliament named as “The Baloch forum”, “Friends of Gilgit-Baltistan” and “South Asia Peace Forum”. These forums were utilized by staging demonstrations and sideline events to distort the image of Pakistan. The conduct of events was implicitly linked with propaganda news outlets to aggrandize the impact globally. Negative content against Pakistan and somehow against China was given momentum through fake media outlets created in Brussels, Geneva and almost in about 100 countries, while ANI remained main partner to carry out this mission.
During all these years this Srivastava Group remained successive in doing several demonstrations in Brussels and Geneva including the display of “free Baluchistan” posters across Geneva and the organization of several events inside European Parliament. Furthermore, the Srivastava Group managed trips of delegations of Members of the European Parliament to Bangladesh, Maldives and Kashmir to produce an India-centric viewpoint of the EU parliamentarians. Although, Pakistan kept convincing the world about the India’s activities but in vain. Pakistan has been presenting dossiers in UN regarding Indian involvement inside Pakistan. These Indian activities are not new for us, as we have been facing such acts since our independence. We understand that India can go to any extent in order to malign Pakistan. Modi during his Bangladesh visit in 2015, himself accepted his role in dividing Pakistan and supporting Mukti Bahini. India has never accepted Pakistan as an independent state. Pakistan has always tried to initiate dialogue between both countries but India constantly projected war hysteria. It is a renowned fact that India is involved in fuelling terrorism inside Pakistan by using Afghan soil. India is also trying to sabotage CPEC which is the regional game changer. RSS led Modi’s government believes in state sponsored terrorism. India has passed all limits in exercising draconian laws in Kashmir. Under the present civil and military leadership, Pakistan will expose Indian illegitimate acts on all international platforms.
A few options which we can exercise against India can be: Firstly, Pakistan should make its diplomats/embassies active and vigilant to expose India in their respective domains. Secondly, PM himself talk with important international leaders on the issue and take them in confidence. Thirdly, UN should be sensitized that its name is misused by India so prompt action should be taken on it. Fourthly, Pakistan should also work to discredit India in diplomatic, international, legal and ethical domains. Fifthly, Pakistan should work on exposing India as an epicentre of disinformation. Sixthly, government should plan to file a legal case against India on international forums. Specific targets should be given to state institutions focusing to find more such Indian evil designs. Seventhly, Pakistan has borne loss of billions of rupees and more than 70000 lives in war against terrorism, which needs projection. Eighthly, National and international media should be used extensively to raise this issue and not let it die on international forums. Social media campaigns should be designed with special hash tags, short videos, vlogs etc to create pressure on global community. Ninthly, Pakistan should table a resolution in UNGA with hope to get condemnation to India for its unethical, inhuman and illegal acts.
—The writer is MS degree holder in journalism, and academic researcher & media analyst.