ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday called on the United Nations and the European Union to investigate the abuse of their institutions by India for maligning Pakistan and to prevent this from happening again.

Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, while speaking at a media conference at the Foreign Office, said: “India is manipulating and misusing the international system for its own nefarious designs” and it was for the international organisations to “ensure that the international system is not manipulated through such influence operations”.

A study by the EU DisinfoLab had last year exposed an Indian propaganda operation targeting international institutions for furthering its strategic interests, while maligning Pakistan. Another report launched by EU DisinfoLab a few days ago revealed that much of the Indian network was still not only intact, but had also expanded its reach.

The Indian operation has been continuing since 2005. It involves more than 10 NGOs accredited to the UN Human Rights Council, several think-tanks, about 750 fake media in 116 countries, over 550 registered domain names, and impersonation of EU institutions.

“Pakistan calls on the United Nations and UNHRC to immediately begin investigation and de-listing of the 10 fake NGOs created by India to malign Pakistan,” Mr Qureshi said.

“We also call on the United Nations to create processes that ensure that the international system is not manipulated through such influence operations,” he further said.

The foreign minister urged the EU Parliament to probe how EU Parliament and its legislative process were manipulated by these fake organisations run by India.

Mr Qureshi noted that the findings of EU DisinfoLab had vindicated Pakistan’s claim about India maligning Pakistan through fake reports. It is well known that India has imposed hybrid war on Pakistan, he added.

EU DisinfoLab report had further shown that the influence campaign was led by Srivastava Group, which produced anti-Pakistan content in Geneva and Brussels. The propaganda was subsequently amplified by Indian newswire ANI and obscure media networks.

The ANI has a strategic partnership with Reuters. According to a statement on Reuters website the two news outlets in 2018 expanded their strategic partnership under which ANI video content was to be distributed internationally and Reuters services in the Indian market.

The ANI was then hailed for providing “truly unique coverage of the Indian subcontinent”.

Mr Qureshi asked international news agencies especially Reuters to reconsider their existing partnership with ANI news agency after it had been found to be pushing fake news.

“Pakistan will take all necessary actions to protect its interests. Once again, we warn the world to take heed of the RSS-BJP regime’s agenda which threatens regional peace and continues to manipulate the international system for its own nefarious ends,” he further said.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Security Moeed Yusuf said that Pakistan was fighting a mafia, not a state.

He said that Indian actions had violated the international law and also contained an element of criminality.

He said Pakistan would “unapologetically” talk to the world on this matter and would pursue it “proactively”.

Published in Dawn, December 12th, 2020

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