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Editorial: Propaganda war

Pakistan is engaged in a continued propaganda war against Afghanistan and India as the key regional and global players are trying to isolate Pakistan for its support to domestic and trans-national terrorists groups. These groups have wrecked havoc in the region. These terror outfits kill and injure scores of innocent people in the region, especially in Afghanistan. Afghan leaders have repeatedly urged Pakistan to stop supporting the notorious Haqqani Network, the Taliban and Daesh.  However, the calls were fall on deaf ears. Seemingly, Islamabad has no intention to stop providing breeding place to the terrorist groups. The narrowly defined foreign policy objectives and strategic depth has pushed Pakistan to the dark corner.

Instead of realizing her mistakes and changing the extreme-adventurist mindset, Pakistan continues to be engaged in a blame game and propaganda war against neighbors that would isolate the country further. Pakistan is caught in the war hysteria. Pakistani military officials have unleashed a wave of propaganda news and messages on social, print and electronic media to throw dust in public eyes and rebuild its distorted image among the citizens. Military establishment of the neighboring country is spending huge amount of money to tell the masses that Pakistan could be attacked. Pakistani media have also reported that India would send troops to Afghanistan via Iran’s Chabahar. According to that country’s media, the Afghan and Indian intelligences have formed coalition against Pakistan. However, these messages have no truth.

Pakistani military establishment can pressurize the civilian government and fool Pakistanis but it cannot play double game with the experienced countries. Security policymakers in the United States have realized that Islamabad claims to be against terrorism but in reality it has extended full support to terrorist groups who have earned reputation for attacks on key civilian and military installations in the world. The military which used fighter jets and tanks against its own people is forgetting that modern wars are different and fought on different fronts. Second, it is suffering from India-phobia as the foreign minister Salahuddin Rabbani pointed out. Islamabad is also afraid of losing the territory that it has controlled through force and artificial patriotism.

Therefore, Pakistani authorities are trying to present India and Afghanistan as enemies to citizens. Reality is different than what is projected by military establishment of Pakistan. Relations between Kabul and New Delhi are as old as the hills.  The two countries were engaged in cultural, diplomatic and trade relations when Pakistan was not on the world map. Both countries are committed to the global peace and regional stability.

Islamabad is putting the onus on the neighbors. To become a favored country, Pakistan has to dump the strategic depth policy and engage in healthy relations with the neighboring countries. Propaganda war or ‘High Mark’ will do more damage than good. To become respectful member of the international community, Pakistan must eliminate terrorist groups and resolve disputes with neighboring countries in an amicable way rather than using mercenaries and violence.

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