Pakistan has declared that an air raid on India in 2019 was a “false flag” operation carried out by India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata (BJP) party for electoral gains and urged the global community to end ” the reckless militarist agenda ”of his longtime rival.
In a series of tweets on Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said India’s “fascist” government led by his counterpart Narendra Modi “used the Balakot crisis for national electoral gains”, referring to the Indian raid on the city. from northwest Pakistan on February 26. 2019.
In 2019, I spoke to the UNGA about how India’s fascist Modi government used the Balakot crisis for national electoral gains. Latest communication revelation from Indian journalist known for hawkishness reveals unholy link between Modi government and Indian media
– Imran Khan (mImranKhanPTI) January 18, 2021
Khan’s tweets followed the publication of hundreds of pages of transcripts of WhatsApp discussions between prominent right-wing Indian TV presenter Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the incarcerated head of the Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) rating firm ).
The conversations, published as evidence submitted by police in the city of Mumbai as part of an ongoing investigation into the manipulation of TV ratings, suggest that Republic TV co-owner and host Goswami knew in advance of New Delhi’s plan to attack Balakot in the Khyber region of Pakistan. Pakhtunkhwa Province.
India’s “surgical strike”, which it said targeted a training camp for Kashmiri rebels in Balakot, was carried out to avenge the killings of 40 Indian soldiers in the Pulwama region of Indian-administered Kashmir in India. Beginning of the month.
India has blamed Pakistan-backed Kashmiri rebels for the February 14 attack on its military convoy, an allegation Islamabad denied.
The day after the Balakot attack, the Pakistani Air Force shot down two Indian planes and arrested an Indian Air Force pilot, who was later released by Islamabad as a “gesture of goodwill.” will”.
Since independence from British rule in 1947, India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars in Kashmir – a Himalayan region divided among themselves but claimed by both nuclear powers in its entirety.
According to the transcript of the WhatsApp chat, published in a report on the Scroll.in news site, Goswami texted Dasgupta on February 23, 2019, three days before the Balakot attack, saying “something big is going to happen. happen”.
Partho Dasgupta: “Good”
Partho Dasgupta: “It’s good for the big man this season”
Partho Dasgupta: “He will then sweep the polls”
Partho Dasgupta: “Strike? Or bigger “
Arnab Goswami: “Bigger than a normal strike. And at the same time something major about Kashmir. In Pakistan, the government is convinced that it is striking in a way that will please the people. Exact words used. “
Pakistani Prime Minister Khan said on Monday that the latest revelations from the WhatsApp chat “reveal the dirty link” between the Indian government and its media “which is pushing our nuclear region to the brink of conflict it cannot afford.”
“The latest revelations from the communication of an Indian journalist, known for his hawkishness, reveal the unholy link between the Modi government and the Indian media which has led to dangerous military adventurism to win an election in total disregard of the consequences of the destabilization of the whole region, ”Khan tweeted on Monday.
In India’s 2019 general election, the ‘surgical strike’ was one of the BJP’s main polls, helping the Hindu Nationalist Party win a larger majority than in 2014.
Khan said Pakistan “avoided a wider crisis through a responsible and measured response to Balakot. Yet Modi’s government continues to turn India into a rogue state.
BJP spokesman Syed Zafar Islam dismissed Khan’s claim, calling Pakistan a “terrorist factory” and saying his party never used the 2019 air raid to gain gains in parliamentary polls.
“National security and nationalism are elements of paramount importance to our party. We never compromised, we never will compromise, but are we going to use it for political purposes? Never, ”he told Al Jazeera.
A similar statement from Pakistan’s foreign ministry on Sunday said India “claims to have launched [the] so-called surgical strike, then slyly manipulates national sentiment in its bid to win elections’ in 2019.
“We initially rejected India’s malicious propaganda against Pakistan and pointed out that the biggest beneficiary of the Pulwama attack was the BJP government, as it won a landslide victory in the Lok Sabha election which followed, ”Pakistan’s foreign ministry said. adding that he would continue to counter “the lies of India with the truth and to act with firmness and responsibility in the face of provocations from India”.
“The pattern is undeniable and has been repeated to fit the electoral calculations of the RSS-BJP regime,” the ministry said, referring to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP who aims to create an ethnic Hindu state in India. .
The statement referred to a November 2020 report released by an independent group based in Europe, EU Disinfo Lab, which exposed a 15-year campaign to “denigrate” the Pakistan and Kashmir movement in international forums, disseminating a campaign of disinformation targeting the European Union and the United Nations with over 750 bogus local media and over 10 non-governmental organizations.
He said the Goswami transcripts “further exposed India’s sinister designs and justified Pakistan’s long held position.”
– Republic (@republic) January 17, 2021
In response, India’s Republic Media Network released a statement on Sunday rejecting “Pakistani government’s allegations against Arnab Goswami.”
“The Pakistani government’s statement against the main Indian news network – the Republic Media Network is proof of the deep conspiracy of anti-Indian and anti-national forces” against the network and its editor-in-chief Goswami, he said. he declares.
He said Goswami, during his long career as a journalist, “exposed all the sinister designs and bad intentions of the Pakistani government”, claiming to be the first network “to denounce Pakistan after the Pulwama attack”.
Bilal Kuchay contributed to this report from New Delhi, India