NEW DELHI: Social networking websites have suspended the account of Pakistan Defence Forum, one of the oldest-running websites devoted to Pakistan’s armed forces, after it posted a morphed picture of a Delhi University student activist.
Both Twitter and Facebook suspended the account after it came to the notice of former vice-president of JNU Students Union, Shehla Rashid, who asked Twitterati to report the image.
Pakistan Defence posted the picture of Kawalpreet Kaur, a student of Delhi University, standing in front of the Jama Masjid with a placard reading, “I am an Indian but I hate India, because India is a colonial entity that has occupied nations such as Nagas, Kashmiris, Manipuris, Hyderabad, Junagarh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Goa."
However, the original image stated, “I am a citizen of India and I stand with secular values of our Constitution. I will write against communal mob lynching of Muslims in our country. #CitizensAgainstMobLynchng.”
Kawalpreet also flagged the issue, saying, “There is a real security concern if Pakistan uses morphed pictures just to spread hate across nations".
“Let us appeal to them as peace lovers to pull it down and apologize. I hope they understand that citizens across the subcontinent want peace not terror and lynchings. The last thing I want is to be used as a pawn for spreading anti-India and anti-Pakistan sentiments,” she said in her post on Facebook.
In her tweet, Kawalpreet said, “The account of @defencepk has been suspended by Twitter for posting my unverified and morphed pictures. Grateful to all who reported it in large numbers. The message of the picture shouldn't be lost in these dark times. No nation wants lynchings and killings. Only bigots want hate.”
Pakistan Defence Forum describes itself as a one-stop resource for Pakistan Defence, strategic affairs, security issues, world Defence and military affairs. The forum has all retired and serving Pakistani military personnel as its members and is not an official website of the armed forces.
This is not the first time that Pakistan has used fake pictures to establish a false narrative. A few months ago, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United Nations Maleeha Lodhi, while responding to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj's speech at the UN, showed pictures of Palestinian victims and tried to pass them off as 'evidence' of atrocities on Kashmiris.
The picture, used by Pakistan's Ambassador to UN, was of Rawia Abu Joma, a 17-year-old girl injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza city in 2014.