Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Friday called upon the United Nations and the European Union to take notice of and initiate a probe into a massive disinformation and propaganda campaign being “run by India” to promote anti-Pakistan sentiment on an international level.
He was addressing a press conference alongside Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security Moeed Yusuf, regarding a report released earlier this week by the Brussels-based EU DisinfoLab.
The report had uncovered a vast network of 265 coordinated fake local media outlets in 65 countries serving Indian interests, as well as multiple dubious think tanks and NGOs.
Qureshi said that Pakistan has been consistently alerting the international community to India’s designs and intentions and that the findings of the report “corroborated our stance and stamped our claims”.
After discussing the results of the report and its implications, the foreign minister called upon the international community and international institutions to take action on its findings.
“We urge the UN human rights machinery […], the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights […] as well as human rights experts to take a serious look as to how a prestigious platform such as the human rights council was thus misused,” said Qureshi.
The foreign minister said that it is necessary that government-owned and sponsored organisations are scrutinised and denied UN platforms if they are found “spreading fake news and hate”.
Qureshi mentioned that this disinformation network had manipulated EU parliamentarians and abused the legal institution by using the EU letterhead.
“We also urge EU authorities to take notice of this massive campaign against Pakistan and not let their legal institutions and frameworks be abused in such a blatant manner,” the foreign minister said.
“Additionally, we call on the EU parliament to begin a credible investigation into the manipulation of the EU parliament and its legislative process by these fake organisations involved in anti-Pakistan propaganda.”
Qureshi also called upon the Reuters news agency to disassociate itself from India’s ANI and “reconsider their existing partnership” since the latter was identified in the report as being complicit in the mass propaganda network and dissemination of fake news.
SAPM Yusuf elaborated on the details uncovered in the report and likened the actions of the Indian government akin to a “mafia” instead of a state.
He also read out several revelations in the report and remarked: “International laws were broken with the use of UN and EU letterheads and identity theft is punishable by 20 years.”
He did not clarify which law pertaining to identity theft he was referring to.
Both Qureshi and Yusuf insisted that the report was vindicated Pakistan’s consistent stance on Indian sponsored terrorism and it will be portrayed with renewed vigour on international forums.