Disinformation, according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a piece of false information deliberately and often covertly spread (as by the planting of rumours) to influence public opinion or obscure the truth. This phenomenon is not new in global politics, it was used by Nazis in 1930s in the form of fake military plans to have them stolen by foreign governments so they can be misled. Later the tactic was used by Soviet KGB. The unending Indo-Pak war has entered into a new phase with the information technology revolution of the 21st century. Due to growing antagonism, New Delhi has always been active in discrediting its regional rivals (China and Pakistan) by propagating subversive agenda not only through its mainstream media but through social media, NGOs, websites, and Film industry as well.
The Indian proxies on the information front were unveiled in a 2019 report the EU Disinfolab which pointed out about 265 fake local media outlets active in 65 countries, multiple dubious think tanks and NGOs proactive in Geneva and Brussels pursuing the Indian goal of defaming Pakistan in the West. New Delhi’s objective has always been to improve the perception of India and damage the reputation of Pakistan and ultimately get more support from the international community. To fulfil this agenda, Delhi not only supports various non-state actors but also promotes the resurrection of shuttered organizations and deceased persons, maximizes negative content about Pakistan using fake media in Europe and around the world, uses members of European Parliament to create a mirage of institutional support for minority and human rights organizations and think tanks. The grandfather of the International Law in the US and former chairman of US-based NGO Commission to Study the Organization of Peace (CSOP) Louis B. Sohn who passed away in 2006 and the organization was inactive since the 1970s resurrected in 2005. Sohn not only listed as attending the UN Human Rights Council meeting in 2007 but also participating in an event organized by “Friends of Gilgit-Baltistan” in Washington in 2011.It also uses fake office addresses to justify their existence.
Recently in a new report of a 15 years long investigation named “Indian Chronicles,” conducted by the Brussels based research organization ‘EU DisinfoLab’ revealed the Indian anti-Pakistan propaganda which it pursues online and offline since 2005, to discredit Pakistan internationally and influence decisions United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and European Union. It is the largest network the organization has ever exposed, according to Alexandre Alaphilippe, executive director of EU DisinfoLab. “We are alarmed to see the continuation of Indian Chronicle, which despite our first report and wide press coverage, has pursued its 15-year operation and even recently launched EU Chronicle, a fake EU outlet,” the researchers at DisinfoLab said. According to the report India bought more than 550 fake domain names of NGOs, think tanks, media, European Parliament informal groups, religious organizations, publishing companies and public personalities to spread false information against Pakistan internationally.
The disinformation is propagated in a loop as explained in the report through evidence such as EP today, a Brussels based fake European Parliament Magazine active since 2006. It would provide a platform for the members of the European Parliament and other politicians to publish their views which would serve Indian interests and undermine Pakistan. These politicians would then attain various UN events, hold press conferences and demonstrations with rights NGOs to form a public opinion that is favourable to New Delhi. Fake media like Times of Geneva and 4 News Agency would publish online and offline platforms which would then be reused by NGOs and international media such as Indian Press agency (ANI) to promote anti-Pakistan sentiment. The disinformation is focused on the issues such as human rights violations, minority rights, militancy, gender-based rights, geographical fault lines etc. something which European nations care about. Besides that, activities like organising events in European Parliament, protests in Europe for minority rights in Pakistan and display of “Free Balochistan” posters across Geneva are sponsored by New Delhi based Srivastava Group. Even though Islamabad has exposed Delhi’s efforts to sabotage peace of the country on various occasions but still with the new developments in technology the country must brace to counter the new forms of assaults through traditional and non-traditional ways.