Accessibility links

Breaking News

Pakistan Demands UN, EU Investigate Fake Pro-India NGOs, Media

FILE - Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi addresses the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland, Sept. 10, 2019.

Pakistan is urging the United Nations and the European Union to investigate after it says a new report uncovered a 15-year global disinformation campaign allegedly designed to serve India's interests and "discredit" Pakistan, charges New Delhi denies.

The investigative report was published on Wednesday by the EU DisinfoLab, a nongovernmental organization in Brussels working to raise awareness about disinformation.

The extensive report details how a network of think tanks and long-defunct but U.N.-accredited NGOs were resurrected and used alongside at least 750 "fake media" outlets to spread disinformation.

"It even resurrected dead people," said the report titled Indian Chronicles. "This network is active in Brussels and Geneva in producing and amplifying content to undermine — primarily — Pakistan."

The EU DisinfoLab said the purpose of the ongoing campaign was to influence decision-making at the U.N. Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and European Parliament.

"The scope and extent of India's operations against Pakistan under their hybrid war is now apparent for the world to see," Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told reporters Friday.

"Pakistan calls on the United Nations and UNHRC to immediately begin investigation and de-listing of the 10 fake NGOs created by India to malign Pakistan," said Qureshi.

He also demanded the EU Parliament launch its own "credible" investigation into what he alleged was a "fully funded disinformation and influence operation" run by India.

EU DisinfoLab researchers, however, said they have not found any connection between the disinformation campaign and the Indian government, or its intelligence agencies. The report said the network was being led by New Delhi-based Srivastava Group in 119 countries.

India's denial

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Anurag Srivastava on Friday rejected the report and the ensuing Pakistani allegations.

"As a responsible democracy, India does not practice disinformation campaigns," he told a weekly news conference in Delhi. "In fact, if you are looking at disinformation, the best example is the country next door, which is circulating fictional and fabricated dossiers and purveys a regular stream of fake news."

The "dossiers" the Indian spokesman referred to is a set of documents, banking transactions worth millions of dollars, and audio clips made public by Pakistan last month as "irrefutable evidence" allegedly linking India directly to "terrorism" on Pakistani soil.

For its part, New Delhi has long accused Islamabad of sponsoring Islamist militants blamed for plotting terrorist attacks in India, including the part of disputed Kashmir it administers.

Tensions between the two nuclear-armed South Asian rival nations have dangerously escalated in recent years over Kashmir, one-third of which is administered by Pakistan. Both countries claim the Himalayan region in its entirety and have fought three wars since gaining independence from Britain in 1947.