Sardar Masood Khan, President of Azad Kashmir, has said that “India has prepared a big database for hybrid warfare against Pakistan, as well for political manipulation and gerrymandering in #IOJK [Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir]”.
By definition, hybrid warfare is a military strategy that employs political warfare and blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare, and cyberwarfare with other influencing methods, such as fake news, diplomacy, lawfare, and foreign electoral intervention.
India is accused of using hybrid warfare as a tool to weaken Pakistan and defame it before the world. In this regard, there has been a sufficient amount of evidence in international media. However, Pakistan’s academics and media have not fully reported on it.
— Masood Khan (@Masood__Khan) September 20, 2020
Indian propaganda against Pakistan
The EU DisinfoLab, a European NGO tackling disinformation, recently published its findings on a vast network of fake local news sites in over 65 countries serving Indian interests by repeatedly criticizing Pakistan. A summary of the report has some eye-opening facts for Pakistan.
Pakistani experts and political commentators always maintained that India uses various methods of propaganda to damage its reputation before the international community. Some Pakistani nationalists also claimed that the agenda of India is to defame Pakistan by exaggerating the challenges that the minorities are facing in Pakistan.
“What type of challenges are minorities facing in Pakistan? Don’t we all stand by them whenever there is any attack against them?” a journalist told GVS.
The websites which are more than 265 in number, are designed to influence the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN) with the objective of damaging Pakistan, according to the report.
- The majority of the websites are named after defunct local newspapers or imitate working media outlets.
- Plagiarized content from news agencies (VOA, Interfax, etc.)
- Similar coverage of India-related demonstrations and events.
- Republication of anti-Pakistan content from the aforementioned Indian network, including EP Today, 4NewsAgency, and New Delhi Times.
What fake media outlets do
- Influence international institutions and elected representatives by publishing particular news items.
- Help out NGOs by providing them with the desired material to enhance their credibility.
- When several media outlets publish the same content, it is hard to trace the manipulation, thus legitimizing the wrong information.
- Damage Pakistan’s public image by making similar content available on search engines.
Hybrid warfare aims to spreads chaos in Pakistan
Recently, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa said at a ceremony held at the General Headquarters that “we are facing the challenge that has been imposed on us in the form of the fifth-generation or hybrid war”.
“Its purpose is to discredit the country and its armed forces and spread chaos. We are well aware of this danger. We will surely succeed in winning this war with the cooperation of the nation, by the will of the Almighty,” he added.
While speaking at events in Peshawar and Rawalpindi Gen Bajwa had cautioned against the “engineered protests” and emphasized that “no anti-state agenda would be allowed under the garb of those protests”.
‘Diversity is our strength’
COAS Gen Bajwa believes that these protests have been instigated to undo the gains made by the armed forces in the fight against terrorism. “We also refuse to be pulled asunder on issues of sect, ethnicity, caste or creed. The diversity of Pakistan is our strength.”
“The very resilience of Pakistan comes, not just from our military capacity, but from the synergetic mix of a people who have come together, willingly towards a single purpose,” he said. He was referring to the protests by a movement led by some young Pashtuns.
Similarly, Minister for Human Rights Dr Shireen Mazari, while addressing the audience at a seminar titled “Understanding Strategic Coercion in the Realm of Grey Hybrid Conflict – Way forward for Pakistan” organized by the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), said the hysteria about hybrid warfare is not a new phenomenon.
“Rather, it is old one with changing tools such as fake news, disinformation and propaganda with the purpose of going beyond the truth to disrupt the society. The strategic coercion in the realm of hybrid warfare imposed by the United States of America (USA) on various countries through economic and military means has no basis in international laws, whether it is a breach of nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) with Iran or backing out from the international agreements (Paris Agreement),” she said.