Is Pakistan's idea of Info War flawed?

Major General Asif Ghafoor, Director General of Inter Services Public Relation (ISPR), had clearly mentioned that Media is Pakistan’s First line of Defense. By this statement, he tactfully conveyed that, Pak media is a “Force Multiplier.” However, not many could decipher what the “5G Warrior” actually wanted to convey.

The majority fell for his bait, only very few were able to grasp his cryptic message. His statement very covertly implies, that now since We have declared Media as the First Line of Defence, by default, We ~ ISPR ~ Military become “in charge of it” although, in Incognito mode.” 

Effectively he has done his job. And it’s Huge!! Not only has he empowered himself as DG ISPR, he has also advocated for the strong army which has umpteen accusations leveled by the local and international journo community for “Media seize in Pakistan“.

True to his words, he unfolded the preparedness of Pakistan Army’s Media House n the past few weeks. He is amongst the 17 military officers who were awarded Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military)  on 14 Aug and will be conferred with the same on 23 Mar. Not only has his Generalism over Journalism doctrine won him accolades by the powerful military, but he is now revered as the Face of Pakistan, a National Hero truly & deeply revered by the keypad brigade that he owns. Though I have my reservations that does he actually command some respect from one of the boldest, most vibrant & influential Pakistani journalists fraternity.

It goes without saying that to establish such a monopoly, ISPR has been given a free run by the top brass. So, unfortunately, it would be just another award ceremony, to confer all manner of stars and medals for nepotism, favoritism, cronyism – or any other nefarious – ism and also terrorism.

We all understand that the battle today is two dimensional. It is not just physical territory but 5G warfare which has become a major challenge. But is it really capable of changing the dynamics on the ground?

Is Pakistan’s idea of perception management flawed?

Let me now highlight why I mentioned, unfortunately above. In particular, I want to highlight the case of Maj Gen Asif Gafoor which has once again put the Pakistan Army under the scanner for its nefarious modus operandi. An army is an institution in itself, and the most bankable force in any country. However, I don’t know how should I give credit to a general ranking officer who has made his Army the butt of jokes worldwide.

So before I unfold  Gafoors gaffe, lets just first understand that why ISPR is not a success against India. I don’t contest that its propaganda is doing wonders to its domestic audience but for sure it leaves no mark on  Indian soil. Instead, it only exposes the fault lines which are getting attributed to Pakistan Army.

Firstly, at the helm of social media management and face of the Pakistan Army, General Gafoor posts are distasteful. Not very long ago his tweet insulting the Indian National flag, not only got backlashed in the International forum but within Pakistan too.

Ex Pakistan Ambassador to America, Husain Haqqani (2008-2011) also condemned this act.  Very recently he referred to Indian soldiers as “Monkeys”.  Such an act by an officer who is at the helm of ISPR reflects very poorly of his military ethos. But despite such unbecoming conduct  Pakistan Army chose to honor him with Hilal-i-Imtiaz (Military). This has put a question mark on the sanctity of the second highest civilian award and most definitely exposed the modus operandi of ISPR.  

So now it is not difficult for anyone to figure out what ISPR is expected to do. The primary role of ISPR of strengthening media-cultural relations has taken a backseat long ago. Too late to make amendments I may say, because of the fact that ISPR is now known as a Fake News Factory worldwide and has little or no substance attached to it, is probably the doing of this national hero.

ISPR is enticing, propagating hate among Pakistanis. It is heartening to see uniformed agencies ruthlessly flouting cyber laws and fooling their own citizens. Through its malicious campaign, it has tried every trick in its basket to discredit India but has failed miserably. It must realize that poor photoshop, morphing effort, and fake news does not always pass the test of truth. Suspension of verified Twitter account is a direct slap in the face of pseudo-Pakistan organizations spreading false propaganda and such activities should be banned if Pakistan wants it to be taken seriously by the world community.

The discordant notes that DG ISPR’s achievements strike in the context of contemporary Pakistani society are alarming.  But if they are happy pinning blood-soaked(of a common man) medals who can stop them?

Let’s take a look as to why ISPR is a rip-off.

  • Fauji Diktat to Journos.
  • The endless list of silenced and harassed activists & journalists in Pakistan.
  • Yellow journalism, Fake news & propaganda.
  • Biased ethnonational sentiment – Suspension of accounts of Baloch, PTM activists.

Fake News FactoryViewpoint

The conflicting professional requirements of media and military can lead to a misunderstanding of each other’s working environment, however, by no means can military subjugate media. This clearly implies undermining democracy.

Also, who is ISPR campaigning against? Managing perception of own people? If ISPR had succeeded, success would speak for itself and they did not require to make noise.

Crossing the mandate in the greed of power will come with a heavy price. Till then ISPR can keep blowing its own trumpet.

13 Mar 19/Wednesday                                          Written by Afsana 

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