In statements, Foreign Office accuses Delhi of playing role of spoiler in Afghan Peace Process; hits out at use of spyware to hack phones
Pakistan’s Foreign Office on Thursday condemned the “gratuitous and unwarranted” remarks of India’s Ministry of External Affairs on last week’s reported abduction of Silsila Alikhil, the daughter of Afghan Ambassador to Pakistan Najibullah Alikhil, from the federal capital.
In a statement issued in response to media queries about Indian spokesperson Arindam Bagchi describing the incident as “very shocking,” spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri said India had “no locus standi, whatsoever, on the matter.” During a media briefing earlier in the day, Bagchi had referred to Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed’s declaration of the matter being a “drama” as Pakistan “stooping to a new low.”
Chaudhri said India’s “malicious smear campaign” against Pakistan was known to all, adding that “independent organizations” such as EU DisinfoLab had “established India’s credentials” as a global distributor of anti-Pakistan propaganda. “Even in the wake of the reported incident involving the daughter of the Afghan ambassador, Indian propaganda machinery against Pakistan was active and fake pictures of the ambassador’s daughter were being circulated by Indian Twitter handles and websites,” he said. “It is unfortunate that India used such an incident to peddle false narrative against Pakistan,” he added.
Slamming India, the Foreign Office spokesperson said the only “domains where India has set standards are state-sponsored terrorism, illegal occupation, disregard of U.N. resolutions, mass murders and repression against women in the territory under its illegal occupation, political violence against minorities, and running organized fake propaganda networks around the world; and is, therefore, in no position to pontificate on ‘standards’ for other countries.”
Reiterating its call for India to refrain from its smear campaign against Pakistan, Chaudhri added: “We remain determined to pushback against unabated Indian machinations and also to draw attention towards India’s role of a spoiler in the ongoing Afghan peace process.”
In a second press release, issued on Friday, the Foreign Office addressed India’s reported use of Israeli spyware Pegasus to hack the phones and computers of journalists, judges, diplomats, government officials, rights activists and global leaders such as Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“We have noted with serious concern recent international media reports exposing Indian government’s organized spying operations against its own citizens, foreigners as well as Prime Minister Imran Khan, using an Israeli origin spyware,” read the statement issued by spokesperson Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri. “We condemn in strongest possible terms India’s state-sponsored, continuing and widespread surveillance and spying operations in clear breach of global norms or responsible state behavior,” it said.
“Keeping a clandestine tab on dissenting voices is a longstanding textbook ploy of the RSS-BJP regime to commit human rights atrocities in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir and peddle disinformation against Pakistan,” it continued, referring to the reports of E.U. Disinfo Lab from last year.
Stressing that Pakistan was following the expose and would bring Indian abuses to the attention of appropriate global platforms, it called upon relevant U.N. bodies to “thoroughly investigate the matter, bring the facts to light, and hold the Indian perpetrators to account.”