Daily brief: Pakistani media in Wikileaks hoax

Crude propaganda hoax Yesterday morning, major Pakistani newspapers carried stories allegedly based on U.S. diplomatic cables released by the web site Wikileaks in which U.S. officials purportedly described Indian spies supporting Islamist militants in Baluchistan and Waziristan, called former Indian army chief General Deepak Kapoor "an incompetent combat leader and rather a geek," said a ...

RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images
RIZWAN TABASSUM/AFP/Getty Images

Crude propaganda hoax

Yesterday morning, major Pakistani newspapers carried stories allegedly based on U.S. diplomatic cables released by the web site Wikileaks in which U.S. officials purportedly described Indian spies supporting Islamist militants in Baluchistan and Waziristan, called former Indian army chief General Deepak Kapoor "an incompetent combat leader and rather a geek," said a "Bosnia-like genocide" is occurring in Indian-administered Kashmir, and asserted that the Indian military is supporting Hindu fundamentalist groups, among other claims (Guardian). The cables, however, could not be found in the Wikileaks database, suggesting Wikileaks was exploited for propaganda purposes.

Pakistan's Express Tribune and The News have issued mea culpas admitting that the "story was dubious and may have been planted," acknowledging that the reports came from the Islamabad-based Online wire service, which is "known for their close connections with certain intelligence agencies" (AP, AFP, BBC, ET, The News). However, the Urdu-language Jang, which carried the story on its front page yesterday, has not mentioned the incident, and the right-wing daily The Nation, which "still appeared to believe the story," editorialized that the cables revealed "India's true face" and "Washington's hypocrisy" (BBC, Nation).

Crude propaganda hoax

Yesterday morning, major Pakistani newspapers carried stories allegedly based on U.S. diplomatic cables released by the web site Wikileaks in which U.S. officials purportedly described Indian spies supporting Islamist militants in Baluchistan and Waziristan, called former Indian army chief General Deepak Kapoor "an incompetent combat leader and rather a geek," said a "Bosnia-like genocide" is occurring in Indian-administered Kashmir, and asserted that the Indian military is supporting Hindu fundamentalist groups, among other claims (Guardian). The cables, however, could not be found in the Wikileaks database, suggesting Wikileaks was exploited for propaganda purposes.

Pakistan’s Express Tribune and The News have issued mea culpas admitting that the "story was dubious and may have been planted," acknowledging that the reports came from the Islamabad-based Online wire service, which is "known for their close connections with certain intelligence agencies" (AP, AFP, BBC, ET, The News). However, the Urdu-language Jang, which carried the story on its front page yesterday, has not mentioned the incident, and the right-wing daily The Nation, which "still appeared to believe the story," editorialized that the cables revealed "India’s true face" and "Washington’s hypocrisy" (BBC, Nation).

A car bombing near a hospital under construction in Hangu left at least 15 people dead earlier this morning (Reuters, Geo, ET). Hangu, which is reportedly segregated between Sunnis and Shias, is said to be known for anti-Shia attacks; there have been no claims of responsibility yet (AP). In South Waziristan, 13 alleged militants including a local commander called Asmatullah were killed in separate clashes with Pakistani security forces, following an attack on a security checkpoint in Sararogha (Geo, Pajhwok).

Yesterday British authorities arrested a suspect in the murder of MQM founder Imran Farooq, who was stabbed to death outside his home in north London in September, and detectives are said to be investigating the 34 year old Pakistani national’s political affiliations (The News, ET, Guardian, Tel). British police are still seeking two other men for questioning.

Flashpoint

Indian police have arrested a college lecturer in Indian-administered Kashmir for giving an exam filled with anti-India questions such as "Are the stone pelters the real heroes?" (AP, PTI). Noor Mohammed Bhat faces charges of "spreading disaffection against the state" and promoting secession, which carry a seven year prison sentence upon conviction.

Abducted at gunpoint

Eighteen Afghans working for the Afghanistan-based charity Mine Detection Center were kidnapped at gunpoint by men on motorcycles on the edge of the capital of the eastern province of Khost, bordering the Pakistani tribal agency of Kurram (AFP, Pajhwok). There have been no claims of responsibility yet, and eleven of the men have been freed (Pajhwok). In Nangarhar, a Taliban suicide bomber killed two Afghan civilians and injured at least one Afghan policemen earlier today, and in Kabul, some 300 people protested for justice and peace in recognition of International Human Rights Day (Pajhwok, AP). Bonus read: a plan for sustainable Afghan stability, by Bijan R. Kian and Wayne Porter (NAF).

Former Afghan spy chief Amrullah Saleh said yesterday that the key to peace in Afghanistan is to cut off Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, commenting, "Demobilize them, disarm them, take their headquarters out of the Pakistani intelligence’s basements… Force the Taliban to play according to the script of democracy" (AP). Saleh also suggested that the U.S. should give Pakistani officials until July 2011 to go after insurgent leaders inside Pakistan or threaten to send U.S. troops to do so.

Afghan authorities have arrested Michael Hearn, a British consultant with the Global Strategies Group, which oversees security at Kabul’s airport among other contracts, for allegedly failing to register weapons with the Afghan government (Post). He was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Ya got trouble right here

Afghan competitors have beaten opponents from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Iceland during the World Snooker Championship, a pool tournament currently underway in Damascus (Pajhwok). The 40-nation championship is due to conclude next week.

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