Indian Army Chief Taken For A Ride By His Own Staff
- Why Is Ruling PPPP’s website joining Indian media in attacking Pakistan Army?
- Indian media and army chief misled by a junior Indian intelligence analysts’ report
This story shows how India is a large country with the mindset of a mouse. It demonstrates how Indian spy agents spend hours dissecting a public website of the Pakistan Army. In this case, an Indian intelligence officer analyzing the names of Pakistani martyrs posted on Pakistan Army’s official website thought he ‘discovered’ something. He shared it with Indian Army chief. Now all major Indian newspapers are celebrating this discovery. Amazingly, one of the official websites of President Zardari’s PPPP is also joining Indian celebrations. Here, a Pakistani website, Brasstacks.pk, shows how the Indian military might have been taken for a ride by incompetent intelligence officers.
SPECIAL REPORT | Thursday | 16 December 2010
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Indian Army chief General V. K. Singh is still smarting from several recent hits. Apart from land scams, there are corruption cases the army chief, and an internal power tussle involving him and supporters of his predecessor Gen. Deepak Kapoor. The latest hit came from an unexpected quarter: United States.
A recently leaked cable from US embassy in New Delhi has ridiculed Indian army’s Cold Start doctrine as a ‘mix between myth and reality’ and described Indian soldiers as ‘slow and slumbering’, not a good assessment for the next superpower.
To top it off, the website of India’s premier domestic intelligence agency, CBI, remains inaccessible almost two weeks after a hit by Pakistani cyber activists responding to an unprovoked Indian cyber attack, possibly by Indian intelligence, that defaced almost forty websites belonging to the Government of Pakistan.
So how does Asia’s next military power react to all this and pull up the troops’ sagging morale?
Answer: the way Gen. Singh did this week. He picked up a Pakistani army soldier’s name, a man who worked for the Pakistani mission in New Delhi and died three years ago from kidney failure, and claimed the man was on a suicide mission in India.
You would think a statement from India’s highest army officer would be based on serious reporting and analysis. But as we have explained in earlier reports, India’s foreign and military policies often have a lot in common with the country’s racy musicals of the Indian film industry: they are noisy, tacky and exaggerated.
What prompted the Indian army chief to step in and personally comment on this dangerous disclosure? The answer, believe it or not, is a data-entry error.
‘This is how they were duped’
Indian intelligence’s cyber watchers were carefully studying the website of the Pakistan Army www.PakistanArmy.gov.pk and particularly a page on the site called Martyrs Corner, where the names of Pakistani martyrs on the Afghan border are regularly updated.
According to official documents released by Brasstacks.pk, a Pakistani think tank focused on defense-related issues, Naik [or Corporal] Zulfiqar Ahmed was assigned to guarding duties at the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi. He was duly accredited by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. He developed a kidney problem in November 2007 and died at the Ganga Ram Hospital in the Indian capital. Eight Indian doctors examined his condition and endorsed the cause of death. He was embalmed and then handed over to the Pakistan mission for burial back home.
That was November 2007.
Fast forward to December 2010. A Pakistani data-entry officer mistakenly added Nk Zulfiqar’s name to the Martyrs Corner at the official Pakistan Army website. A screen shot of the wrong entry shows how the mistake was made. The entry form is standard and most deaths have been a result of suicide attacks by terrorists. So ‘suicide attack’ is often written in the ‘Operation’ column. The data entry officer did not pay attention to a glaring contradiction a couple of lines below where Nk Zulfiqar’s cause of death is clearly written as ‘Neptrotic Syndrome at Ganga Ram Hospital N/Delhi’.
But apparently one of Indian intelligence’s analysts who analyzed the Pakistani data twisted the material to conclude the dead corporal was on a suicide mission in India.
A junior Indian military intelligence officer got excited over this ‘discovery’. What is not clear is how someone as senior as the Indian army chief was misled into believing this was such a credible piece of intelligence information that warranted a personal comment from India’s army commander.
This is how Gen. Singh commented on this news:
“I have nothing to say on what they (the Pakistan Army) has put up on its website. But if it has, then it clearly show what their intentions and ways are and what their next move will be,” Singh told reporters here when asked about the Pakistan Army’s website posting. All I can say is we have to be more alert and only then we can protect the people and our troops.”
Even more scandalous is how India’s major news organizations are hand in glove with the Indian intelligence. Not a single Indian newspaper or TV news channel has deviated from the official story script. Pakistani analysts know in detail about India media’s impressive unanimity in toeing the official line without double checking, but this realization escapes American and British media.
Big names in the India media ran the same report produced by the Indian intelligence without independent verification. Here are some of the headlines:
- : Pak ‘owning’ bomber makes its intentions clear: army chief
- Rediff News: Pak honors ISI agent on suicide mission in India
- Times of India: ISI suicide agent is Pak army man
- Even MSN’s Indian office didn’t escape publishing Indian military propaganda, here’s MSN News: ISI man on Delhi ‘suicide op’ is martyr on Pak Army’s website
- Indian Express: Delhi hospital confirms ISI agent’s death, details vanish from Pak site
‘Et tu, PPPP?’
The stunning part is how a Pakistani website that is part of ruling PPPP’s network of online propaganda promptly in endorsed the Indian intelligence reports and supported the reports published by the Indian media. The site runs propaganda material for President Asif Zardari and other PPPP stalwarts. Senior journalist Hamid Mir accused this site of being run from Washington by Mr. Zardari’s close aide and envoy in Washington Husain Haqqani.
The PPPP site, called LUBP, in a post titled, , said:
“Online factories of suicide bombers: An ISI production: LUBP has been boldly stating for the last many years that Pakistan Army’s continued policy of jihadi and sectarian suicide attacks […] Now it has been once again proven without doubt that jihadi and sectarian suicide attacks are an integral element of the Pakistan Army’s military strategy”
The link shows this PPPP site relying heavily on India propaganda. It did not verify if the Indian news is correct and posted two links, both of Indian TV channels, to prove the Indian allegations.
The Indian army chief is nincompoop who is willing to buy a junior intelligence analyst’s ridiculous story based on a minor data entry error. But what is PPPP’s excuse for endorsing Indian propaganda? And does President Zardari’s media adviser Mrs. Farahnaz Isphahani know what the party’s media cell’s kids are doing online?
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