Pak papers apologise for carrying fake anti-India reports

Pak papers apologise for carrying fake anti-India reports

Protesters rally to condemn the arrest in London of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, seen in poster, during a protest in Multan, Pakistan, on Thursday. AP

The reports splashed prominently in several papers including The Express Tribune and The News, a partner of the International Herald Tribune, quoting alleged US diplomatic cables to confirm bias Pakistani views and conspiracy theories about India particularly about Jammu and Kashmir.

The two papers today carried prominent apologies on their front pages regarding the report they had published yesterday on alleged disclosures in purported diplomatic cables from the US embassy in Delhi about Indian Army generals and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir.

However, The Nation, a daily known for its anti-India views, showed no regret for carrying fake reports and instead printed an editorial titled "India's true face" that criticised India on the basis of the fake report.

Both The Express Tribune and The News blamed the fake cables on Online news agency, an Islamabad-based wire service that has often carried pro-army reports.

However, inquiries by PTI have shown that the report on the fake cables first appeared on the website of Daily Mail, a little-known newspaper, on December 8.

Several Pakistani bloggers have noted that the Daily Mail is noted for printing wild conspiracy theories.

In a recent report, it claimed that India's external intelligence agency was involved in framing Pakistani cricketers in a spot-fixing scam.

In its apology, The Express Tribune said the report it had published with the headline "WikiLeaks: What US officials think about the Indian Army" was "not authentic".
"The Express Tribune deeply regrets publishing this story without due verification and apologises profusely for any inconvenience caused to our valued readers," it said.

The News, in its apology, said it had run Online news agency's report "with the confidence that it was a genuine report and must have been vetted before release".
It added: "However, several inquiries suggest that this was not the case." The News said Online's owner Mohsin Baig and some editorial staff "were themselves unclear about the source of the story and said they would investigate the matter at their end".
It added: "On further inquiries, we learnt from our sources that the story was dubious and may have been planted."

The daily too acknowledged that the fake report had "originated from some local websites such as The Daily Mail and Rupee News known for their close connections with certain intelligence agencies".

Britain's Guardian newspaper, which has been provided the entire database of leaked US diplomatic cables, reported that an extensive search by "date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations" about India.

"It suggests this is the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes," the paper reported.

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