Jammu and Kashmir’s separatist leaders and police officers are finally on the same page – a phoney Facebook page of Pakistan’s foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar.
The profile message reads, “I feel Pakistan has a great deal to offer. I love trekking, love to visit Nanga Parbat and K2. I appreciated the diversity of the landscape and the hospitality of people as enough to warm one’s heart towards that country.”
At present there are nearly 100 Facebook accounts purportedly belonging to the 33-year-old Birkin-toting Khar. This one in particular has gained as many as 230 ‘friends’ in a matter of weeks, many of them from the embattled state over which India and Pakistan have fought three wars in the last six decades.
The ‘friends’ range from militants and cops to journalists, professors and even traders.
“I received a friendship invite from Khar and I accepted, though I had my doubts,” said Shahid-ul Islam, a militant commander-turned-separatist leader.
The invites started doing the rounds soon after Khar’s visit to India almost immediately after being anointed Pakistan’s first woman foreign minister in July.
The Wall of the Facebook account is full of red roses and mushy pictures posted by Khar’s fans. But the messages from the account holder are few and far.
One message posted on August 28, in the wake of social activist Anna Hazare’s campaign against corruption read, “Congratulations to all Indians on their win for self-respect over the dirty bhrastachar (corruption).”
But not everyone has been fooled. “I did receive an invite (from Khar’s fake account) but I did not accept it,” said a senior politician from Kashmir, asking not to be identified. “At a time when Pakistan was burning with militants attacking right, left and centre and its relation hitting record low with the US, I assumed Khar would not have time for Facebook.”