India’s smear campaign against Pakistan has no limits: Qureshi

ISLAMABAD:Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Monday said India’s smear campaign against Pakistan had no limits as the country had even misused prestigious international institutions, including the United Nations for its nefarious designs.

“Members of European Parliament were duped, disinformed and unabashedly manipulated” and “think-tanks, researchers and even students were used as pawns to peddle Indian fallacies,” the foreign minister said addressing the concluding session of a seminar on ‘Disinformation as a Tool of Strategic Warfare’ organized here by the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS).

Referring to the recent report of EU Disinformation Lab titled Indian Chronicles, he shared that the Government of Pakistan had called upon the international community to take due cognizance of India’s systematic designs to damage Pakistan’s image and international standing.

He said he had written to the EU High Representative asking him to make India accountable for its deeds that had been unearthed by an independent not-for-profit organization funded by the EU itself.

Qureshi said Pakistan’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York had written to the chair of the NGO committee in ECOSOC to de-register the 10 fake NGOs (non-governmental organizations) identified in the Indian Chronicles.

He viewed that the Indian Chronicles had revealed the real face of India and its hate for Pakistan, and termed maligning Pakistan an article of faith for the BJP-RSS dispensation in New Delhi.

Parliamentary Secretary for Foreign Affairs Ms Andleeb Abbas enumerated three challenges of countering disinformation in the 21st century: one, the use and abuse of information technology; two, the reality of the post-truth world where facts were constructed; and the inability of the international institutions to adapt to this new reality of fake news.

Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed called for busting myths about propaganda that it was only linked to dictatorships, it was only employed in a situation of war, and it was only orchestrated through state-controlled media.

He said India’s disinformation campaign against Pakistan revealed by the EU Disinformation Lab was something new because it was conducted for 15 years to malign a neighbouring country against which India did not have active hostilities.

Pakistan’s former Ambassador to China Masood Khalid said fake news travelled faster than true news through social media and called for greater regulation of social media platforms. He condemned Indian tactics of spreading falsehoods about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Prof Glenn Diesen of the South Eastern University of Norway, who addressed the seminar virtually, stated that while the attempts by states to promote a national narrative were not new, international redistribution of power and the emergence of new technologies had emerged more recently.

IRS President Ambassador Nadeem Riyaz urged the governments and people to work together to ensure that people and governments were not led astray with fake news, propaganda, and false narratives.

It could only be safeguarded with news literacy, high quality journalism, and social responsibility, he added.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Kashmir Mr Shahryar Khan Afridi, Prof Athina Karatzogianni of the Leicester University, Air Cdr (Retd) Khalid Banuri, defence analyst Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Lodhi, political analyst Dr Huma Baqai, Professor Shahab Enam Khan, Pakistan’s former Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva. Ambassador Faruk Amil, Professor of International Relations at the NESA US Dr Hassan Abbas, columnist and public policy professional Mosharraf Zaidi, Pakistan’s former permanent representative to the UN in Geneva and Ambassador Zamir Akram also addressed the event.