FM Qureshi urges UN, EU to investigate report on Indian propaganda network

Published December 11, 2020
FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi and SAPM National Security Moeed Yusuf address a press conference on Friday. — DawnNewsTV
FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi and SAPM National Security Moeed Yusuf address a press conference on Friday. — DawnNewsTV

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday called upon the United Nations and the European Union to take notice of and initiate a probe into a massive disinformation and propaganda campaign being "run by India" to promote anti-Pakistan sentiment on an international level.

He was addressing a press conference alongside Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security Moeed Yusuf, regarding a report released earlier this week by the Brussels-based EU DisinfoLab.

In a new investigation, titled Indian Chronicles, the group exposed another Indian network that aims to reinforce pro-Indian and anti-Pakistan (and anti-Chinese) feelings in India.

Editorial: Indian disinformation network's propaganda against Pakistan betrays a sinister campaign

Addressing today's press conference, Qureshi said that Pakistan has been consistently alerting the international community to India's designs and intentions and that the findings of the report "corroborated our stance and stamped our claims".

After discussing the results of the report and its implications, the foreign minister called upon the international community and international institutions to take action on its findings.

"We urge the UN human rights machinery [...], the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [...] as well as human rights experts to take a serious look as to how a prestigious platform such as the human rights council was thus misused," said Qureshi.

The foreign minister said that it is necessary that government-owned and sponsored organisations are scrutinised and denied UN platforms if they are found "spreading fake news and hate".

Qureshi mentioned that this disinformation network had manipulated EU parliamentarians and abused the legal institution by using the EU letterhead.

"We also urge EU authorities to take notice of this massive campaign against Pakistan and not let their legal institutions and frameworks be abused in such a blatant manner," the foreign minister said.

"Additionally, we call on the EU parliament to begin a credible investigation into the manipulation of the EU parliament and its legislative process by these fake organisations involved in anti-Pakistan propaganda."

Qureshi also called upon the Reuters news agency to disassociate itself from India's ANI and "reconsider their existing partnership" since the latter was identified in the report as being complicit in the mass propaganda network and dissemination of fake news.

SAPM Yusuf elaborated on the details uncovered in the report and likened the actions of the Indian government akin to a "mafia" instead of a state.

He also read out several revelations in the report and remarked: "International laws were broken with the use of UN and EU letterheads and identity theft is punishable by 20 years."

He did not clarify which law pertaining to identity theft he was referring to.

Both Qureshi and Yusuf insisted that the report was vindicated Pakistan's consistent stance on Indian sponsored terrorism and it will be portrayed with renewed vigour on international forums.

'Revelations by EU watchdog vindicate Pakistan’s stance'

A day earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that the recent revelations regarding an Indian disinformation network had "vindicated Pakistan's position and exposed its detractors".

"Pakistan has consistently drawn the attention of the international community towards India's subversive activities to undermine democracies in the region and export/ fund extremism through structures of fake news organisations and 'think tanks'," the premier said.

"Recently, the government of Pakistan provided a dossier to the United Nations of India's state terrorism in Pakistan," he said.

Read: Specific proof of Indian terrorism in Pakistan unveiled

"The international community needs to take notice of a rogue Indian regime that now threatens the stability of the global system," he said.

Indian lobbying network exposed

Last year, the Brussels-based EU DisinfoLab had 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. This network was active in Brussels and Geneva in producing and amplifying content designed to, primarily, undermine Pakistan.

In a new investigation, the group has exposed another Indian network.

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.

To do so, the network used fake personas of a dead human rights activist and journalists, and also tried to impersonate regular media and press agencies such as the EU Observer, the Economist and Voice of America.

A photo posted by Instagram (@instagram) on

The network also used letterhead of the European Parliament, registered websites under avatars with fake phone numbers, provided fake addresses to the United Nations and created publishing companies to print books of the think tanks they owned.

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.

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