Follow Us on Google News
In the modern world, battles are fought not just on the ground but on new platforms such as the internet and social media. In recent days, a sinister campaign has been launched against Pakistan amid the increasing violence from a Taliban offensive.
The use of Twitter hashtag #SanctionPakistan has shown the disdain many Afghans have towards their neighbour. It also shows the efforts by hostile elements to malign the country and blame it for Afghanistan’s worsening situation. The hashtag has been used more than 730,000 times with one-third of the tweets originating in Afghanistan and amplified by anti-state elements.
Pakistani think-tank Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) released a report stating that the hashtag was artificially pushed by Indian and Afghan-sponsored accounts. The report has been cited by Pakistan to highlight the well-ordinated and calibrated social media campaign against it. NSA Moeed Yusuf has said we live in a world where online actions have offline consequences. We must stand united against disinformation and fake news that affect peace and prosperity. He said Pakistan was facing the onslaught of the information war through propaganda on social media. These social media trends have targeted state institutions, CPEC, and even called for placing Pakistan on FATF’s blacklist.
There is certainly a sustained disinformation campaign against Pakistan by external forces emanating from India or Afghanistan showing the extent of the fifth-generation warfare. The objectives remain the same but the methods have changed with the extensive use of bots and fake news pushed on social media. The relations between Afghanistan and Pakistan have been intense in recent months. Many senior Afghan officials including President Ashraf Ghani have accused Pakistan of actively supporting the Taliban, who have seized control of at least nine districts and could seize control of Kabul within months.
Pakistan has repeatedly pointed how India is engaged in hybrid warfare after the shocking disclosures made by EU DIsinfo Lab but the world did not take action. While we have a military to defend our borders, social media is a greater canvas that we are unable to control. However, we must be prepared to thwart all conspiracies against our country.