Muhammad Arshad Khan
India, particularly after Hindutva government led by Narendra Modi came into power in the country, has intensified its sinister propaganda campaign against Pakistan, at local and international fronts.
Internationally, New Delhi has been using electronic and digital media outlets including Asian News International — a major Indian ‘news’ agency to peddle disinformation using “non-existent” sources and ghost “experts” to target Pakistan and the regional power, China.
This has been confirmed by the EU Disinfo Lab in its investigation report ‘Bad Sources (BS)’ into anti-Pakistan and China influence operations as part of its follow-up on two previous investigations.
In its earlier reports, the DisInfoLab had said ANI “regularly quoted the defunct ‘EP Today’ and ‘EU Chronicles’, two fake media outlets supposedly specialising in EU affairs that were, in fact, created to push anti-Pakistan and anti-China narratives in India”.
In spite of its dubious nature, ANI continued to use the ‘think tank’ IFFRAS as its source of information. The investigation report described this think tank as one “that does not exist and does not want to be found”. The think tank, previously chaired by a former Canadian MP, was registered in Canada in 2012, and officially dissolved in 2014.
For ANI, IFFRAS is still active. In Jan 2020, it claimed to have hosted a press conference at the University of Montreal in which four professors of the same university participated. However, two of the professors — who could be approached — confirmed to EU DisInfoLab that they did not attend the said conference.
In 2021, another think tank quoted by ANI is the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs (CPFA) — this does exist. “Alongside the legitimate reports … we encountered content that we could not attribute to real individuals,” the report said.
In July 2021, ANI published a piece of news entitled ‘European Parliament to withdraw Pakistan’s GSP+ status over abuse of blasphemy laws’. “The source of this ‘news’… nevertheless, does not exist.”
Indian disinformation campaign was once again at its peek against Pakistan when Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog, plenary meeting was scheduled in Paris from 21 Feb-4 March, 2022. New Delhi raised hue and cry about Pakistan soon getting blacklisted.
International experts, however, rubbished Indian claims. South Asian policy expert, Michael Kugelman said, don’t believe Indian press reports claiming FATF will soon blacklist Pakistan.
Eventually, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in October 2022 removed Pakistan from a list of countries under “increased monitoring”, also known as the “grey list”.
Having failed in maligning Pakistan on the external front, India has now launched its local stooges to create a wedge between the peoples of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. As the smooth and peaceful census is going on in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, New Delhi has activated its paid agents to create doubts about the exercise. A self-exiled man, Dr Amjad Ayub Mirza, is, in this regard, leading the hate campaign.
Dr Mirza, based in the United Kingdom, is involved in leftist politics there, and he in one of his articles tried to woo the sympathies of the his “Mother India” as he referred in his article by making false claims about the so-called grievances of the people of Azad Kashmir regarding the census. The fact is that AJK people are participating in the census with all enthusiasm.