Is India using Pak media for nefarious designs?
ISLAMABAD — A joint peace initiative launched by a Pakistani newspaper with the Times of India media group is showing the first signs of turning into a propaganda tool for the Indian establishment.
This is happening under the guise of a peace initiative where both media groups publish material prepared by the other. But instead of giving equal airtime and print space to viewpoints from both countries, the initiative has become a one-way traffic of Indian official propaganda peddled as ‘peace stories’ that highlight Indian policy priorities or force Pakistani writers and artists to seek Indian patronage.
The said Pakistani English newspaper published a report on Wednesday titled, ‘When the enemy isn’t.’ The report could have been a promotional flyer for India’s one-sided invasion of East Pakistan in 1971, where India exploited internal Pakistani political instability to stab the neighbour in the back. The anonymous writer of the article created and built a story about how the Indian invading army personnel in Dhaka in 1971 were more of humanitarian workers than soldiers. The writer mentioned stories about Indian soldiers protecting pro-Pakistan Urdu-speaking Biharis from the wrath of pro-Indian militias rampaging through the city.
The writer said Indian soldiers, some of whom hailed from Bihar, ‘kept ethnicity over religion’ and stood guard at the doors of the pro-Pakistan Biharis. At another place, the writer said Indian occupation commanders tried to financially help the destitute pro-Pakistan Biharis by buying used home appliances and furniture at ‘more than the market rate’.
The implicit theme was that geographic and cultural links to some Indian states should be more important than religious links to Pakistan. This is a roundabout way of attacking Pakistan. Indian propaganda has always tried to tell Pakistanis that links of individual Pakistanis to place of birth that lie in India are more important than their links to Pakistan.
But what was even more preposterous is that the said Pakistani newspaper brazenly promoted the Indian invasion and occupation of East Pakistan as “liberation”. The Pakistani newspaper wrote: “[The article] provides a first hand account of how Indian soldiers, bound by the ties of ethnicity rather than religion, helped and protected a community of fellow Biharis in newly liberated Bangladesh.”
So now, under the guise of this so-called peace initiative, naked Indian propaganda is being peddled through a Pakistani newspaper and a Pakistani television channel, and Pakistanis are now expected to adopt the Indian version of history even on something as sensitive as India committing blatant aggression and violating international law and borders and invading Pakistan in the dark of night while Pakistanis were busy in the aftermath of a divisive election in 1971.
The worst part of this so-called peace initiative is that it is depicting Pakistanis as aggressors. The name of the initiative is in Hindi, an Indian actor with close links to Hindu extremists has been chosen as its brand ambassador in TV and print advertisements, and not a single Indian artist or intellectual or public figure has visited Pakistan under this initiative whereas the Pakistani newspaper is spending a huge budget on sending Pakistani actors, artists and musicians to India as if it is a ritual or a rite of passage for Pakistanis to seek Indian approval.
Pakistan’s political and security managers should see this so-called peace initiative for what it is: a vehicle for India propaganda in Pakistan. A naked Indian invasion against Pakistan is now being described on the pages of a large Pakistani newspaper as “liberation”. What is next? That Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah was a terrorist and separatist wanted in India?
The Government of Pakistan should intervene and ask Pakistani newspapers to uphold national interest. Interestingly, the same Pakistani newspaper has reportedly been asked by the Government to shut down another propaganda it is running in the shape of TV programming prepared by US government through one of its agencies (Voice of America).
Source: The Nation