So What Can Pakistan Do?
I think the ISPR is in way over its head in this effort to persuade the world to believe Pakistan's case in the face of the well-honed Indian spin machine. Pakistan needs serious professionals for this job, the kind of professionals who have experience in orchestrating a campaign that includes news stories, TV analysts' commentaries, newspaper columns and magazine Op-Eds, think tank reports and speeches by the pro-Pakistan Caucus in the US Congress.
India's Spin Machine:
The Indian spin machine was recently in full gear when it tried unsuccessfully to stop the sale by the United States government of just 8 F-16s to Pakistan. The campaign orchestrated by the Indian government included placement of favorable news stories, TV analysts' commentaries, newspaper columns and magazine Op-Eds (including one by Husain Haqqani), think tank reports and speeches by the members of the India Caucus in the US Congress. They all blatantly toed the Indian line that these 8 F-16s would be used against India, not in Pakistan's ongoing counter-insurgency operations. The biased nature of all of these efforts can be gauged by the following facts that were completely ignored by them:
1. There is a huge imbalance in the conventional defense capabilities between India and Pakistan as laid out by GlobalFirePower.com. It ranks India at number 4 in the world while Pakistan is way down at number 17 in 2016.
2. India is world's largest importer of sophisticated weapons, including fighter aircraft, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Here's what it says about the import of weapons between 2011 and 2015: India (14 per cent of global arms imports), China (4.7 per cent), Australia (3.6 per cent), Pakistan (3.3 per cent), Viet Nam (2.9 per cent) and South Korea (2.6 per cent).
3. Pakistan, like the United States elsewhere, has been using F-16s in Operation Zarb e Azb against militants hiding out in Pakistan tribal belt along the border with Afghanistan.
I did not see a single piece in the US media supporting Pakistani position in this battle. It was completely one-sided. They succeeded in forcing a US Senate vote to block the sale. Luckily for Pakistan, Obama administration barely succeeded in overcoming this Indian campaign to do something as trivial as selling just a few F-16s to Pakistan this time.
Kulbushan Yadav Arrest:
The facts about India's sponsorship of terror in Pakistan clearly favor ISPR. The confession video shows a very relaxed Kulbhushan, caught on Pakistani territory using a false Muslim identity as Husain Mubarak Patel, talking to the interrogators and revealing details of his work. He appears to be under no stress. However, I do not think that facts alone can help. Why?
The Obama administration and the western governments and analysts already know what India has been doing to hurt Pakistan. Ex US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has confirmed based on US intelligence reports that "India has always used Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. India has over the years been financing problems in Pakistan".
Back in 2009, after visiting Indian consulates in Zahedan, Jalalabad and Kandahar, the pro-Indian analyst Christine Fair acknowledged that "they are not issuing visas as the main activity!" She futher said: "Moreover, India has run operations from its mission in Mazar (through which it supported the Northern Alliance) and is likely doing so from the other consulates it has reopened in Jalalabad and Qandahar along the border. Indian officials have told me privately that they are pumping money into Baluchistan".
Kulbhushan Yadav's arrest is further confirmation of the fact that India is using development projects such as Chahbahar Port Project in Iran and various infrastructure projects in Afghanistan as cover for Indian intelligence agencies to sponsor terror in Pakistan.
Successful PR Campaign:
Pakistan needs to learn from prior successful PR campaigns used by other countries. For example, Pakistani government needs to look at the Kuwaiti government funded effort that involved as many as 20 PR, law and lobby firms in its campaign to mobilize US opinion to use force against Saddam Hussein in the 1991 Gulf War. Hill & Knowlton, then the world's largest PR firm, served as the mastermind for the Kuwaiti campaign. Its activities alone would have constituted the largest foreign-funded campaign ever aimed at manipulating American public opinion at the time.
Pakistan can take heart from the fact that India's spin machine does not always succeed. However, it still needs to employ modern PR techniques to match India's to make the case that it is a victim of terror sponsored, at least in part, by India's intelligence agency. The end goal needs to be to show the world that there is a proxy war being waged in Pakistan. This war needs to end to begin serious diplomacy to bring peace to South Asia.
Let me quote US analyst Stephen Cohen to conclude this: "The alphabet agencies—ISI, RAW, and so forth—are often the chosen instrument of state policy when there is a conventional (and now a nuclear) balance of power, and the diplomatic route seems barren."
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