A Never-Ending Game In India-Pakistan Rivalry – OpEd

Media is considered the fourth pillar of any state. Political as well as social narratives are built through media. Elite of any country uses it to shape the pictures in our mind. Different theoretical perspectives including the Agenda Setting theory, Kite model, Gerbner’s model and other as well explains that how media shapes the reality and promulgate the sponsored agenda to build the public opinion.

India and Pakistan are two rival countries from their inception. Both countries have prioritized each other as a threat to the national security and builds the public opinion accordingly. India and Pakistan have media acceptance because both countries are not well developed intellectually, and myths or sponsored agenda is well accepted. In both countries two types of media channels are working, progovernment and critical.

In India, government sponsors the biased agenda against Pakistan through news channels and even Bollywood is recently criticized for its content. Indian media has been repeatedly exposed globally for its irresponsible reporting/ peddling fake news especially with regards to propaganda against Pak. The EU Disinfo Lab report un-earthed a huge Indian network propagating falsehood influencing EU Parliamentarians and international public opinion. There are numerous examples of international news channels (France 24, BBC) which at different occasions pointed towards the ethical lacking in reporting by Indian news channels. Pakistan has been the primary target of Indian state sponsored falsehood, recently Indian media with a lapse of two years have again started a malicious propaganda campaign accusing Pakistan for cross border terrorism in IIOJK.

After the Modi government took control, the nationalism and Hindutva ideology has surged in India. That is only because of the Saffronized agenda which BJP is promulgating through media outlets. Pakistan is portrayed as an eternal enemy of Hindus which not only pushes the Hindus hostile towards Pakistan but against the native Muslims as well. A content analyses done by Muhammad Ashraf Khan and Syeda Zuria Bokhari of the Indian media reveals that 65% content is against Muslims. India Today and Zee News are pro-government and promulgates anti-Pakistan agenda. These anti-Pakistan tactics are used for election campaigns as well. For example, in the recent elections time Modi government did spread a video showing an Apache Helicopter killing Taliban. Modi promoted that India has conducted this operation in Kashmir killing Pakistani militant. The fact checker unearthed that the video was actually a game video which was uploaded on YouTube in 2014. But beside such facts Modi got official victory and wide acceptance. This shows that how Indian media is working to shape the culture against Pakistan. A careful analysis of the Indian media reporting on the subject highlight a visible pattern of propaganda. After abrogation of Articles 370&35A in 2019 Indian media started claiming rapid improvement in state of normalcy in the troubled occupied region.

The tall claims by Indian military command also supported Indian state narrative. The statements of GOC 15 Corps deployed in IIOJK bear the testimony. “We have stopped infiltration to a large extent. In 2020 there were 130 attempts of infiltration in Kashmir; this year, the number is less than 30, the decline in the infiltration incidents from across the borders was due to the Indian Army’s effective measures”. Economic Times highlighted GOC 15 Corps statement “At least in the Kashmir Valley, there have been zero ceasefire violations. Also, there has been no instigation from across the border”.

Interestingly for continuous two years after the Indian highly illegal move to strip the Kashmiris from their right of autonomy accorded as per the UNSC resolution, India boosted the military achievements of completely seizing cross border terrorism. Moreover the Indian government and senior army leadership trumpeted about bringing the level of so-called militancy to near zero. The latest Indian propaganda regarding surge in cross border terrorism from Pakistan seems that Indian government have ulterior motives to build a data base to intrude and invade Pakistan.

On the other side Pakistan also has some channels which portrays India as an eternal enemy. But Pakistan news channels have conciliatory approach and prefers negotiation as well. Facts are much preferred. The recent difference was revealed when India ran out of oxygen in the COVID pandemics and Pakistani nations started to pray for the Indians while in India the public has trended in favor of Israel against Palestinians.

This is the difference between the media channels of both countries. Though Pakistan also have some elements who portrays India as an eternal enemy, but culture is not much harmed and prefers conciliation. International community must come forward and caution India to refrain from the state sponsored policy of falsehood to initiate propaganda campaigns against Pakistan. Pakistan has time and again reiterated its stance of solving Kashmir problem through peaceful dialogue in line with the UNSC resolution.