Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General of Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR), is among the 17 military officers who were awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military) on 14 Aug. Another Pakistan Day, another award ceremony, to confer all manner of stars and medals for nepotism, favoritism, cronyism – or any other nefarious –ism and also terrorism.
In particular, I want to highlight the case of Maj Gen Asif Gafoor which has once again put Pakistan Army under the scanner for its nefarious modus operandi.
Gafoor is holding the appointment of DG ISPR which carries out propaganda tactics, targetting India primarily in J&K and Punjab. There have been umpteen instances where ISPR and its aliases have come under scanner from twitter. The most significant being the suspension of the verified Twitter account of Pakistan Defence a leading web portal dedicated to the country’s military affairs, for spreading baseless malicious campaign against India.
@defencepk an official twitter handle of Defence Pakistan, tweeted an image of a young Indian woman standing in front of Delhi’s Jama Masjid with a placard reading: “I am an Indian but I hate India, because India is a colonial entity that has occupied nations such as Nagas, Kashmiris, Manipuris, Hyderabad, Junagarh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Goa.”
Indian netizens noticed the gaffe and flooded Twitter with complaints that, it was a doctored version of a photo shared by Delhi University student Kawalpreet Kaur. In the original image, the placard held by Kaur said:
“I am a citizen of India and I stand with secular values of our constitution.”
After investigations Twitter found the complaint to be correct and suspended the account.
Pakistan was also caught trying this stunt at UN in September last year, when Pakistan’s Ambassador to UN Maleeha Lodhi, showed a picture of a wounded Palestinian girl and tried to pass it off as evidence of Indian atrocities in Kashmir in reply to the speech of Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, the Indian Foreign Minister.
A thread of other award-winning tweets by this General is shown below:
Recently, he posted a tweet from his personal account insulting the national flag eulogizing slain BLA leader Siraj Raisani.
He is seen carrying out active propaganda activity in Kashmir from his personal handle too @peaceforchange
The battle today is two dimensional. It is not just physical territory but Cyberspace (Information Warfare, Cyber Warfare, Propaganda tactics, Psy warfare, Sockpuppetry) has become a major challenge. It is capable of changing the dynamics and this is well understood by armies around the world.
However, a high ranking Pakistani officer who has a following of 1.46 million in Pakistan is seen propagating a tweet insulting a national flag reflects very poorly on the ethos of Pakistan Army. The message which he has percolated down the domestic audience negates all efforts of resolving the existing differences between the two Asian nuclear-armed states which have remained strained ever since their inception. It also trashes the narrative of Pakistan that it is a victim of terrorism since a senior officer is openly using terrorism as an instrument of state policy.
We live in an interdependent world where perceptions play a key role. Such negative propaganda only reflects Pakistan as a radical and intolerant society.
As a responsible citizen & most importantly at the helm of social media management and face of Pakistan Army, General Gafoor posts are distasteful. His tweet insulting Indian National flag, not only got backlashed in International forum but within Pakistan too. Ex Pakistan Ambassador to America Husain Haqqani (2008-2011) too condemned this act of his. Despite such an unbecoming conduct, Pakistan Army chooses to honor him with Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military), has put a question mark on the sanctity of the second highest civilian award.
This most certainly ascertains Pakistan Army’s nefarious objectives against India. If they are rewarding an officer who is stooping to the level of an extremist, there is nothing much left to prove the deep state’s role in sponsored terrorism in India.
The above incidents show that the role/aim of ISPR is of dubious nature and instead of strengthening media-cultural relations it is doing just the opposite, in all likelihood with the blessings of the top brass who have conferred him with Hilal-i-Imtiaz.
On one hand, Maj Gen Gafoor threatens media and urges citizen of reporting cyber terror and on the other, ISPR is enticing, propagating hate among Pakistanis. It is heartening to see uniformed agencies ruthlessly flouting cyber laws and fooling the public by initiating numerous eyewash measures like “Surfsafe”.
What does the law say? The ban on Hate speech (Sectarian/ Racial)- Preparation and Dissemination (Section 11, Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016), Ban on programs and advertisement whose content contains or encourages terrorism (Section 20-C PEMRA Ordinance 2002) and so on…
Truth is that on everyday basis clerics and leaders in Pakistan spew venom and preach nonsensical stuff to the young minds. Please watch the following video http://hdvidzpro.pro/video/hafeez-saeed-hate-speech-against-india going viral.
It is hard to believe that such online hate speeches of Jamaat-ud Dawa chief, Hafiz Saeed, and likes, which largely contribute to religious violence on an ethnonational issue (Kashmir) are going unnoticed by Pakistani cyber agencies.
Pakistan through its malicious campaign has tried every trick in its basket to discredit India but has failed miserably. It must realize that poor photoshop, morphing effort, and fake news does not always pass the test of truth. Suspension of a verified Twitter account is a direct slap in face of pseudo-Pakistan organizations spreading false propaganda and such activities should be banned if Pakistan wants it to be taken seriously by the world community.
The discordant notes that DG ISPR’s achievements strike in the context of contemporary Pakistani society are alarming. But If they are happy pinning blood-soaked(of a common man) medals who can stop them?
16 Feb 19/Saturday. Written by Afsana