London, Dec 10 (ANI): The whistle blower website WikiLeaks is being exploited for propaganda purposes against India by Pakistani newspapers, which have published fake cables attacking the Indian Army.
Citing the WikiLeaks cables, major Pakistani newspapers this morning carried stories that purported to detail eye-popping American assessments of India's military and civilian leaders, the Guardian reported.
According to the reports, US diplomats 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.
If accurate, the disclosures would confirm the worst fears of Pakistani nationalist hawks and threaten relations between Washington and New Delhi, but they are not accurate, the paper said.
An extensive search of the WikiLeaks database by the Guardian by date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations, suggesting that this is the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes.
The News 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 Indian-held Kashmir while some 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 back foot and to keep pressure on neighbouring Pakistan's Army and intelligence agencies, particularly the Inter-Services Intelligence."
Shaheen Sehbai, group editor at the News, described the story as "agencies' copy" and said that he would investigate its origins.
The controversial claims, published in four Pakistani national papers, were credited to the Online Agency, an Islamabad-based news service that has frequently run pro-army stories in the past, the Guardian said.
While in the west, reports have focused on US worries for the safety of Pakistan's nuclear stockpile, or the army's support for Islamist militants such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, the group blamed for the Mumbai attack, Pakistan's media has given a wide berth to stories casting the military in a negative light, focusing instead on the foibles of the country's notoriously weak politicians, it added.
The lopsided media coverage highlights the strong influence of Pakistan's army over an otherwise vigorous free press, the Guardian said.
This morning's stories disparaging Indian generals is counterbalanced by accounts of gushing American praise for Pakistan's top generals.
However, the actual WikiLeaks cables carry more nuanced portraits of a close, if often uneasy, relationship between the US and Pakistan's military, it added. (ANI)