ISLAMABAD: A day after the disclosure of a disinformation network being run by India for 15 years to discredit nations it is in conflict with, Islamabad advised Delhi to stop churning out false propaganda against its rivals and focus on its internal problems.

Speaking at a weekly press briefing, Foreign Office spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri condemned India for systematic tactic of a mass propaganda campaign to malign Pakistan and international institutions.

In a related development, Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet said the revelation by Brussels-based EU DisinfoLab group about the widespread Indian network of subversive activities vindicates Pakistan’s position and exposed its detractors. “The international community needs to take notice of a rogue Indian regime that now threatens the stability of the global system.”

The FO spokesman denounced India’s actions outlined in the EU DisinfoLab report as “mischievous” and noted that they reflected a “pre-occupation with maligning Pakistan”.

He said all such attempts were “doomed to fail [because] Pakistan has already put forth irrefutable evidence, extensively documenting India’s active planning, promoting, aiding, abetting, financing and executing terrorist activities in Pakistan”.

The report was a vindication for Pakistan and substantiated its position in front of the international community, Mr Chaudhri said.

PM calls for world community to take notice of ‘rogue Indian regime’

“By spreading such falsehoods, India can neither cast a shadow on the international stature of Pakistan nor can it divert attention of the international community from India’s horrendous human rights record,” he said.

“Instead of wasting more time in peddling falsehoods and fake news, India would be well-advised to put its house in order and take care of its own issues of poverty, grave human rights violations, exploitation of minority rights and rising radicalism,” he added.

The spokesman said the exposé of Indian disinformation campaign by EU DisinfoLab required global attention as India’s subversive activities against Pakistan had been ignored for too long.

He condemned the arrests of Muslim youth in India under the newly promulgated discriminatory and inhuman law, which penalises members of religious minorities for marrying as per their own free will.

“This law is further manifestation of the mindset of Hindu supremacist RSS-BJP regime, which takes pride in degrading and humiliating minorities, particularly Muslims in India, and relegating them to second-class citizens,” the spokesman said.

He called upon the international community to take note of such steps by the RSS-BJP regime, which were fuelled by its hatred of the minority communities.

“Rather than giving in to the fantasy-driven ‘Love Jihad’ allegations of its fanatic cadres, the current [Indian] regime should ensure protection of fundamental human rights of all of its citizens, irrespective of their religious affiliations,” he said.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi also commented on the report in a tweet, saying the Indian actions were powered by “fascist ideals” that “even put Goebbels to shame”.

On Wednesday, the EU DisinfoLab published its latest report, titled “Indian Chronicles”, revealing that more than 750 Indian-backed websites covering over 95 countries have been operational for about 15 years to undermine Pakistan within the European Union and United Nations.

Internationally, the network is working to consolidate the power and improve the image of India and damage reputation of rival countries so that ultimately India may benefit from more support from international institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations.

Answering a question about the reports of India planning a misadventure against Pakistan, the FO spokesman said the Indian government’s irresponsible behavior was well known to the world.

“This RSS-inspired BJP government has a history of using ‘Pakistan card’ to score political points and to shift focus from its profound failures of governance, faltering economy, state sponsorship of terrorism and violation of minority rights,” he remarked.

He said Pakistan had been consistently sensitising the international community regarding the possibility of India resorting to a false flag operation and “we… forewarn the world yet again”.

“Our forces remain vigilant and are ready to respond to any misadventure by India,” the spokesman said.

Plight of Kashmiri women

To mark International Human Rights Day, a panel discussion was held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the plight of women in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

The talk was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood, parliamentarians, members of the diplomatic corps and representatives of NGOs and think tanks.

The panelists included human rights activist Mushaal Hussein Mullick, former minister for social welfare and women development of Azad Jammu and Kashmir Farzana Yaqoob, Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Andaleeb Abbas and Parliamentary Secretary for Law and Justice Barrister Maleeka Bukhari. Director General of Kashmir Cell Sadia Altaf Qazi hosted the event.

The discussion focused on the atrocities being committed against women in IIOJK by Indian occupation forces and the physical, psychological, social and economic ramifications of these actions. Psychiatrist Dr Asma Humayun dilated upon the mental health aspect of the situation.

Foreign Minister Qureshi highlighted the human rights and humanitarian dimension of the Kashmir issue in the context of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He called on the international community to take note of the atrocities being committed by Indian occupation forces, hold India to account and urge it to fulfill its human rights obligations.

The participants were shown documentaries and first-hand accounts of human rights abuses being perpetrated against the women of IIOJK.

Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2020

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