Disinformation network: FO hits back at India's denial following exposé

Published December 12, 2020
Foreign Office (FO) Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudri speaks during his weekly press briefing. — DawnNewsTV
Foreign Office (FO) Spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudri speaks during his weekly press briefing. — DawnNewsTV

The Foreign Office (FO) on Saturday rejected the Indian Ministry of External Affairs' (MEA) "attempt to deny responsibility for the elaborate and reprehensible" disinformation campaign against Pakistan, exposed in a detailed report published by a European non-government organisation.

Earlier this week, the Brussels-based EU DisinfoLab uncovered an Indian disinformation network operating since 2005 to discredit nations in conflict with Delhi, particularly Pakistan.

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

However, India has rejected the findings of the report and has alluded to Pakistan's involvement in spreading disinformation, according to India Today.

"As a responsible democracy, India does not practice disinformation campaigns. If you are looking at disinformation, the best example is the country next door which is circulating fictional and fabricated dossiers and purveys a regular stream of fake news," said MEA spokesperson Anurag Srivastava on Friday.

In a statement released today, FO spokesman Zahid Hafeez Chaudri said that the independent, non-profit disinformation watchdog’s latest report illustrates in graphic detail the web of more than 750 media organisations in 116 countries, over 550 website domain names registered, resurrection of dead people, impersonation of EU institutions and direct control of more than 10 NGOs accredited to the UN Human Rights Council, utilised for the purpose of pushing fake news and false Indian propaganda against Pakistan since 2005.

"The MEA’s tall claims have no legs to stand on. The latest developments and international exposés have clearly shown that India is neither ‘responsible’ nor a ‘democracy’," he said.

He maintained that Pakistan has already shared extensive and irrefutable evidence of India’s active planning, promoting, aiding, abetting, financing and executing of terrorist activities in Pakistan.

Read: Specific proof of Indian terrorism in Pakistan unveiled

"The report by EU DisinfoLab goes to further corroborate our long-held position about India’s incurable obsession with Pakistan and its unrelenting smear campaign against Pakistan.

"We urge the UN human rights machinery, particularly the Human Rights Council (HRC), to take a serious look as to how a prestigious platform such as the HRC could be misused in such a manner against a member state.

"The relevant authorities in Switzerland and Belgium must investigate the finances and transparency of the relevant NGOs registered within their jurisdiction," the statement said.

"We also reiterate our call that EU authorities take full cognisance of this massive disinformation campaign against Pakistan and initiate steps to hold accountable those who misused their procedures and abused the European institutions.

"For far too long, India has masqueraded itself as a ‘victim’ of terrorism. It is time that the world saw the reality of India as a state-sponsor of terrorism and a purveyor of anti-Pakistan propaganda globally.

"The latest revelations have established that no amount of Indian falsehoods can succeed in diverting attention from India’s unspeakable crimes in occupied Kashmir and in misleading the world community.

"While countering India’s state-terrorism and exposing its false narratives, Pakistan remains fully committed to supporting the Kashmiris in their legitimate struggle for the right to self-determination as per the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions," the statement said.

UN, EU urged to probe Indian bid to malign Pakistan

A day earlier, Pakistan 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”.

“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,” 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 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.

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.


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