Pakistan’s Dhaka mission running smear campaign through social media: Bangladesh largest selling daily

Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka has allegedly launched a disinformation campaign based on religion using social media platforms through a section of the civil society, political parties, academia and media, claimed a sensational report in Bangladesh’s leading daily Prothom Alo.

The Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka has allegedly launched a WhatsApp group with representatives of Bangladesh’s political parties, civil society, prominent citizens, academics and the media, alleged Prothom Alo in a report published on Thursday, quoting informed sources.

“Pakistan’s ISI has been running various campaigns from behind the scenes by capitalizing on religious sentiments. Pakistan’s intelligence agency is spreading misinformation as well as fabricated information to serve some interests,” the report alleged. Prothom Alo is the highest selling Bangla daily.

The investigations have revealed that many of these media posts are suitably tailored to convey a distorted message and news and posts are routinely shared within the Whatsapp group with the aim to generate negative sentiments and create tensions between the communities in India and Bangladesh, sources alleged.

Bangladesh is no stranger to Pakistan’s modus-operandi, as the Pak High Commission has, in the past, used their territory for alleged anti-India operations. In 2015, Pakistan diplomat FarinArshad was forced to leave Bangladesh for promoting terrorism. Later in 2016, another Pak diplomat Mazhar Khan was caught when he was making payment to a cadre of outlawed terror group JMB. There are also other instances of misuse of diplomatic channels for facilitating smuggling of fake currency and fuelling anti-India activities after New Delhi revoked Article 370 which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Dhaka based official sources told ET.

The WhatsApp group created by the alleged ISI person in the Pak High Commission in Dhaka is falsely raking up Islamophobia in India, sources alleged. A similar pattern was noticed last year when Twitter suspended the fake account used by Pak / ISI to spread false news about India in the Gulf.

This WhatsApp group administered by Aurangzeb Haral, Press Secretary Pak High Commission Dhaka has an alleged entity called ‘Black Cobra with registered number in Mogadishu, Somalia and has people working with Chinese and Korean Embassy, Pak and Saudi tele-selectors, which is a cause of concern.

Earlier this year, Pakistan was in the centre of controversy for orchestrating protests and encouraging Islamists ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee Bangladesh’s independence. The allegations were levelled by no less than Bangladesh MPs.

Bangladesh police investigations into the Hefazat (Islamist group) inspired violence during the visit of Modi have revealed that Hefazat leader Mamunul and his brother Mufti Neamatullah had close links with a Pakistani terror group.

Neamat had been in Pakistan working as a Madrassa teacher for about twenty years with the help of Pak/ISI. Both Mamunul and his brother-in-law visited Pakistan in 2005, according to one of above mentioned sources.

Bangladesh Police had also found evidence of huge transactions with money coming from Pakistan, Dubai and Qatar. Mamunul’s links with terrorists responsible for the grenade attack on an Awami League rally on August 21, 2004 that targeted then Opposition leader and now Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has come to the fore.

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