Pakistani newspapers apologise for publishing 'fake' anti-India WikiLeaks cables

Islamabad, Dec 10 (ANI): Leading Pakistani newspapers, which had published fake WikiLeaks cables attacking the Indian Army for false propaganda, have acknowledged that their reports were unauthentic.

The Express Tribune published an apology over its fake report, "WikiLeaks: What US officials think about the Indian Army", saying that "the story... was not authentic", and it "deeply regrets publishing this story without due verification and apologises profusely for any inconvenience caused to our valued readers."

The News said that the "story filed by a news agency about purported WikiLeaks cables disclosing India's involvement in Balochistan and Waziristan, carried by The News, Daily Jang and many other Pakistani newspapers, has been widely criticised as not being accurate."

"The story was released by the Islamabad-based Online news agency and was run by The News and Daily Jang with the confidence that it was a genuine report and must have been vetted before release. However, several inquiries suggest that this was not the case," the paper added.

It said that when contacted, the owner of the agency, Mohsin Baig, and some of the editorial staff were "themselves unclear about the source of the story and said they would investigate the matter at their end."

"On further inquiries, we learnt from our sources that the story was dubious and may have been planted," The News conceded.

According to the fake reports, US diplomats had described senior Indian generals as vain, egotistical and genocidal, said that the Indian government is secretly allied with Hindu fundamentalists, and also claimed that Indian spies are covertly supporting Islamist militants in Pakistan's tribal belt and Balochistan.

"Enough evidence of Indian involvement in Waziristan, Balochistan," read the front-page story in the News, while an almost identical story appeared in the Urdu-language Jang, Pakistan's best selling daily.

The News had carried a report saying that a leaked cable from US Embassy in Islamabad disclosed that there were enough evidences of Indian involvement in Waziristan and other tribal areas of Pakistan as well as Balochistan.

An earlier cable described Indian Army involved in gross human rights violations in Kashmir and Lt Gen HS Panag, the then GOC-in-Chief of the Northern Command of the Indian Army, was equated with General Milosevic of Bosnia "with regard to butchering Muslims through war crimes," reported The News.

It also said that another cable indicated "involvement of top Indian Army leadership in engaging Hindu extremist militants to carry out certain terror operations to keep Indian Muslims on the backfoot and to keep pressure on neighbouring Pakistan's Army and intelligence agencies, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence." (ANI)

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