Articles mostly written by Islamabad-based actors and US-based PR firms are part of the disinformation campaign.

 

New Delhi: Pakistan’s deep state disinformation campaign against India, using media platforms and social media outlets, has reached a high level of sophistication and covertness, analysts and security observers  have found.

According to them, the use of media outlets, especially news websites, by Pakistani agencies to spread false narrative is now working at the same advanced level that has traditionally been used by some of the rogue intelligence agencies against the United States and its allies. The use of articles—news and op-eds—mostly written by Islamabad-based actors and Washington-based PR companies, as a part of this disinformation campaign, are being used to spread damaging narrative about India, especially when it comes to its relation with its immediate neighbours.

As revealed by these observers to The Sunday Guardian, many global media outlets were unknowingly giving space to such actors under the impression that they are credible voices of their field. These pieces, which are claimed to be written by “independent analysts”, OSINT (Open source intelligence) experts, “Fellows’ and professors who are based outside Pakistan, are, in fact, being churned out by a team of writers engaged by the Pakistan security agencies. All the content that the named author uses as their own findings and analysis is, in fact, provided by the Pakistani intelligence assets.

Since these anti-India reports and op-eds are not written by serving and retired Pakistan army officers, as was the practice earlier, but by “independent’ individuals, they look more credible to its readers and hence gain more traction and are also cited by genuine writers and observers in their own articles and op-eds on credible platforms.

Multiple websites that are run by recent Pakistani alumni of prominent universities like Columbia University are now churning out anti-India pieces which, in turn, are being shared widely and generating a lot of acceptance as they claim to be written by individuals who are former students of these well-known universities, while the truth in most cases is that they are the result of the creativity of the deep state assets being used by Pakistani agencies.

Sources who have been tracking these developments said that this new-age disinformation campaign, which is showing visible impact, is the brainchild of the multiple lobbying organizations that the Imran Khan government has engaged after coming to power. Pakistan’s security advisor Moeed Yusuf is handling this entire disinformation campaign which is working on two fronts—ensuring all articles, news, narratives that ties Pakistan government with terror groups is painted as a part of “India’s vast disinformation campaign” to make it appear less credible, and secondly, attack India through media and op-eds to identify it as a “rogue state”.

This “long term strategy” of Khan and Yususf has been devised with the objective to portray India as a “failing democracy”, which is one of its most powerful identities among the Western countries. The recent press conference by the Pakistani government officials, in which they released a 131-page dossier detailing “the terror being spread by India in the region” was part of this disinformation campaign done with the objective to provide “credible” content to writers.

The said press conference was addressed by Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf and Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari, who has always been close to the Pakistan army top brass Apart from “presenting facts on the situation in Kashmir”, the trio, much to the surprise of foreign journalists present in the briefing, also claimed that India was training ISIS fighters at Gulmarg, Raipur, Jodhpur, Chakrata, Anupgarh and Bikaner. As any visitor to these locations can see, this is another claim that is fantasy.