Fake news, morphed pics get Pak Defence Forum’s Twitter, FB accounts suspended
Pakistan Defence Forum, which describes itself as “a one stop resource for Pakistan defence, strategic affairs, security issues, world defence and military affairs” has been repeatedly accused of putting out anti-India propaganda.Updated: Nov 19, 2017, 07:51 IST
The Twitter account and Facebook page of Pakistan Defence Forum, one of the longest running forums devoted to Pakistan’s armed forces, were suspended on Saturday shortly after it posted fake news involving Kulbhushan Jadhav and a morphed image of a Delhi University activist.
Over the years, Pakistan Defence Forum, which describes itself as “a one stop resource for Pakistan defence, strategic affairs, security issues, world defence and military affairs” and is better known by its website url of “defence.pk”, has been repeatedly accused of putting out anti-India propaganda.
Though retired and serving Pakistani military personnel are among the forum’s members, it is not an official website of the armed forces.
Searches for the forum’s Twitter handle, which was verified, and Facebook page turned up messages that they had both been suspended.
On Saturday, numerous Indian Twitter users complained about Pakistan Defence Forum’s Twitter handle when it posted a doctored image of Kawalpreet Kaur, a student activist of Delhi University that purported to show her standing in front of Delhi’s Jama Masjid with a poster that read: “I am an Indian but I hate India…”
The poster used by Kaur in an image that she had herself posted on Twitter on June 27 this year had read: “I am a citizen of India and I stand with secular values of our Constitution.” At the time, Kaur had said she was asking Indians to change their profile images to “protest mob lynching”.
The issue of Kaur’s photo being doctored by flagged by Shehla Rashid, the former vice president of JNU Students Union, who contended that forum should not use such images in the name of the Kashmir issue.
Also on Saturday, Pakistan Defence Forum had tweeted that India had “refused to avail the generous offer made by #Pakistan to facilitate a meeting” between Kulbhushan Jadhav, sentenced to death by a military court for alleged involvement in espionage, and his wife.
The reality was that India had accepted the offer and asked for Jadhav’s mother to be included in the meeting. Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman had even acknowledged, in a tweet, that India had sent in a reply to the offer to facilitate the meeting.
Following the suspension of the Twitter handle and Facebook pages, a thread on Pakistan Defence Forum was devoted to discussing the matter and numerous members hurled abuse at India and Indian nationals.
The various threads in Pakistan Defence Forum are devoted to discussing issues such as Pakistan’s politics, operations against terrorists, and also problems faced by Muslims around the world. The threads are also replete with the conspiracy theories that often find space in mainstream Pakistani media and discussions about India’s domestic politics.
In the past, Pakistan Defence Forum has also been accused of running malicious campaigns against Pakistani journalists, commentators and activists who have been critical of the powerful military and intelligence agencies.