Another Anti-Pakistan Campaign

Ali Anwar

It is a matter of fact that attempts are made quite often to launch anti-Pakistan campaigns from outside but such nefarious designs are always foiled due to the resilience of our nation. Just recently, Al-Qaeda in Sub-Continent (AQIS) has started a well-orchestrated and systematically developed anti-Pakistan social media campaign. The negative campaign is meant to target the Pakistan Army, our premier intelligence agency ISI and some recent democratic events that happened in the country. The negative campaign launched by the AQIS is trying to portray that the government of Pakistan, the Army and ISI support anti-Islam elements that is contrary to the facts. The social media team of AQIS is using some parts of speeches of religious scholars out of the context only for their personal agenda. These religious scholars that are being quoted belong to a particular sect whose current leadership is politically active in Pakistan and remained part of different democratic governments in the past. The social media team of AQIS was also found spreading rumours regarding the COVID-19 vaccine but we have witnessed that it was administered worldwide and played an important role in controlling the pandemic. Similarly, the same users are exploiting the negative role of media to pollute the raw minds but our people are quite aware of differentiating between the good and evil. Every propaganda against Pakistan is always targeted at Army and ISI. The enemies of Pakistan always remain busy weakening the institutions that are responsible for the security of the motherland’s ideological and geographical boundaries. The same enemies have tried in the past to create a rift between the people of Pakistan and the Army/ ISI but they failed miserably. The Pakistani nation loves the Army and ISI from the core of its heart and no power on earth can undo it. It is very important to know the history of AQIS. It is an Islamist militant organization that fights against the governments of Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Myanmar and Bangladesh to establish an Islamic state here. AQIS is a US-designated terrorist group having affiliation with Al-Qaeda. The militant organization was originally founded in September 2014 and it has taken responsibility for launching numerous terrorist attacks in the region since then. It had also claimed the responsibility for an attack on a naval dockyard in Karachi. The group has also killed several secular rights activists, writers, teachers and doctors in Bangladesh. The primary aim of AQIS is to ensure a presence in the region for future benefits as it remained the strategy of Al-Qaeda for long. As per June 2020’s report of the United Nations Security Council, there were 400 to 600 fighters of Al Qaeda Core (AQC) in twelve different provinces of Afghanistan while 100 across South Asia. The group remained engaged in attacks in different parts of the region. The situation on ground also showed the propaganda launched by the AQIS. Their plan can be gauged by this one example. The AQIS had released several propaganda pieces while congratulating the Taliban on defeating the US since the deal was announced with the United States in 2020. They started changing the names of their news magazines from Nawai Afghan Jihad to Nawai Ghazwat ul-Hind (Voice of the Conquest of India). This change of name clearly shows their intention towards the region after the complete withdrawal of US. The propaganda could also be seen in the form of videos. The militant group released two propaganda videos in September and October 2021 in which only India and Kashmir were the targets. “Do not sit idly by,” was the first video. It was the collection of short videos in which alleged persecution of Muslims in India was highlighted. The Muslims were urged to take revenge of all the problems. The AQIS was seemed annoyed with the Indian Muslims for not doing anything to uplift jihad in the nation. The second video was “Kashmir is Ours” and it was more focused on the conflict zone of Kashmir. The militant group urged the Kashmiri Muslims to reject Pakistani support by its premier intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). It was continuity of propaganda of AQIS and its Kashmir chapter in which they criticized Pakistan for derailing the Kashmiris from participating in “true” jihad. AQIS could also be seen in some activities outside of its base in Afghanistan. Pakistani security agencies apprehended a person from Punjab in November 2021 who was planning to conduct attacks on different government installations in Pakistan. The individual was arrested with a huge cache of weapons including guns and grenade launchers while posing a severe threat. There is a dire need to monitor the AQIS vigilantly in the future too to avoid any untoward incident. It is highly likely that the formation of Taliban government and the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan may give more impetus to AQIS to reshape its objectives and think of expanding its presence and operations across South Asia. It is quite possible keeping in view that the group has a safe haven in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan from where it can regroup and expand its ranks. Bangladeshi officials have also said that a few of its citizens had travelled to Afghanistan to join jihadist groups there. There is a dire need that the social media campaign launched by AQIS should be monitored closely as it is sowing the seeds of discontent in different segments of Pakistani society by instigating religious sentiments. One thing is clear that the people of Pakistan love its Army and such hollow campaigns cannot undo it. The writer is an old Aitchisonian who believes in freedom of expression, a freelance columnist, entrepreneur and social activist. (Courtesy Daily Times, Pakistan)