Pakistan Strategic Forum: A Think Tank That Never Was
Pakistan Strategic Forum pretends to be a think-tank but peddles hate narratives and fake news. Here's why.
Pakistan Strategic Forum is a popular Twitter handle which claims to represent a group of academics and researchers at a think-tank, and it has more than 58,000 followers. This Twitter handle @ForumStrategic mainly focusses on the creating a positive image of Pakistan and was created in December 2019. It gathered attention through a series of tweets on Afghanistan in 2020.
But over time it has become clear that the main work of this handle is to spread misinformation about India, and especially Jammu and Kashmir, and tag agencies of the United Nations in this fake news campaign.
In fact, this handle has been found to be peddling a series of fake news. For instance, before the visit of the prime minister of Bangladesh to India, Pakistan Strategic Forum spread the false information that the chief minister of Assam had said that Bangladesh should be ‘reintegrated’ into India. This was found to be completely false.
This handle also tried to portray Kashmir as ‘the world’s largest open-air prison’ on August 5, the day when Article 370 was removed in Kashmir. This of course is completely untrue. On the contrary on August 5, 2022, a refurbished major stadium called Bakshi Stadium was opened in Kashmir by the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha. Around 16 million tourists have visited Kashmir – the highest number ever – in the last one year.
Pakistan Strategic Forum also spread the fake news that the Khalistan flag representing the terrorist movement demand a separate Sikh state of Khalistan carved out of Indian Punjab had been flown on the Red Fort in Delhi during the farmer protests. This was again proved to be completely fake news because the flag that had been flown was the Nishan Sahib, or the Sikh spiritual flag that is seen at every Gurudwara.
Apart from pushing out wrong information about ‘Pakistan zindabad’ slogans being shouted in India, the handle @ForumStrategic has also claimed to be concerned about ‘women’s rights in India’.
Ironically, to take just one statistical parameter, according to the World Bank, female school enrolment rate in India is nearly double that of Pakistan! It might be more useful for Pakistan Strategic Forum to worry about the condition of women in Pakistan!
Whether it is trolling Indian cricketers or insidiously claiming that Muslim Indian cricketers support Pakistan or spread fake news about the accident that killed Indian Chief of Defence Staff, this Twitter handle has worked non-stop to spread fake news and false information to create conflict within India and give India a bad name internationally.
For instance, it tried to peddle that conspiracy that the helicopter that crashed with General Rawat in it was brought down by Tamil insurgents – a complete lie. Quite like the lie they tried to sell that the Indian government had a role in the murder of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala.
The one country that this handle cheers of course is China and Pakistan’s friendship with China. All-in-all, therefore, there is enough evidence to suggest that the Pakistan Strategic Forum is far from being a think-tank. It is merely a factory for fake news and propaganda against India.