Pakistan on Sunday hoped that the international community would hold India accountable for vitiating the regional security environment after it emerged that New Delhi had staged the Pulwama attack to ensure an election win for Narendra Modi.
A damning transcript of WhatsApp messages between Arnab Goswami, chief editor of Republic TV, and Pratho Dasgupta — the incarcerated head of rating company Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) — has exposed New Delhi’s smear campaign against Islamabad.
The conversation is part of a 3,400-page supplementary charge-sheet filed by Mumbai Police investigating the alleged tampering case.
The Foreign Office, in a statement, said the conversation has vindicated Pakistan’s stance on India’s hegemonic designs.
At least 40 Indian paramilitary troops were killed in an attack that took place in February 2019 in Pulwama just weeks before the Indian parliamentary elections.
India was quick to blame Pakistan for the attack and rejected repeated offers of cooperation by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Just days after the Pulwama attack, India sent its fighter jets across Pakistan, for the first time since the 1971 war, dropping bombs and hurrying back after being chased by PAF fighters.
The Indian media and authorities had claimed to kill 250 to 300 terrorists in Jaba area of Balakot. But the claims were not only rebuffed by Pakistan but also international media outlets that found no such evidence.
In reaction to the Indian airstrikes, Pakistan retaliated the very next day, shooting down two Indian planes of which one fell on the Pakistani side of LoC. Pakistan captured the Indian pilot but freed him soon to avoid the situation escalating out.
Indian Prime Minister Modi used the Pulwama attack and Balakot's so-called strikes as part of his election campaign.
But the leaked Goswami-Dasgupta conversation confirmed that the Pulwama attack was staged to amplify Modi’s election bid.
"In recent months, the world community has been presented with irrefutable evidence of India’s state-sponsorship of terrorism against Pakistan and anti-Pakistan disinformation and smear campaign globally," the Foreign Office said.
"The transcript, included in the Mumbai police charge sheet against the Republic TV anchor in the TRP case, has further exposed India’s sinister designs and vindicated Pakistan’s long-held position," the statement added.
It said the latest revelations further confirmed what Pakistan has consistently been pointing out: the BJP government stages ‘false flag’ operations; maligns Pakistan with terrorism-related allegations; stokes hyper-nationalism in the country; claims to have launched so-called ‘surgical strike’; and then deviously manipulates the national sentiment in its bid to win elections.
The pattern is unmistakable and has been repeated to suit the RSS-BJP regime’s electoral calculation.
"We had, at the outset, rejected India’s malicious propaganda against Pakistan and highlighted that the biggest beneficiary of the Pulwama attack in February 2019 was the BJP government, as it secured a landslide victory in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections.
“The transcript provides further evidence of how this whole enterprise — from ‘false flag’ operation to massive electoral success — was scripted and fully realized."
It further said the transcript also illustrated the unholy nexus between the ‘Hindutva’ regime and its cronies in the Indian media.
"On the one hand, they show how far and deeply the extremist agenda of the RSS-BJP combine has permeated India’s institutions and pillars of the state.
“On the other hand, they show how the rights and freedoms of Indian citizens and democratic values in Indian society are being seriously jeopardized through cynical manipulation. Equally important, they show how actions of this reckless regime driven by considerations of domestic politics are gravely imperiling regional peace and security."
The statement said Pakistan, for its part, will continue to counter Indian falsehood with truth, and will act firmly and responsibly in the face of India’s provocations.
"We hope that the international community would take full cognizance of the situation and hold India accountable for its actions aim at vitiating the regional environment and endangering peace and security in South Asia," the statement concluded.