False WikiLeaks story leaves Pakistani media red-faced
Leading Pakistani newspapers have been forced to retract a story that US diplomats dubbed Indian generals "genocidal" and accused Delhi of aiding armed Islamists. The articles were based on fake US cables which had supposedly been released by the WikiLeaks whistleblowing website.
On Thursday, The News, Daily Jang and several other Pakistani publications reported that US diplomats accused New Delhi of sponsoring Islamists in Pakistan.
"The story was not based on Wikileaks cables, and had in fact originated from some local websites such as The Daily Mail and Rupee News, known for their close connections with certain intelligence agencies,” wrote Pakistan’s The News on Friday.
On Thursday, The News ran a story alleging US cables branded Indian generals “genocidal.”
Datelined Washington, the newspaper said US diplomats thought of one Indian general as “incompetent” and a “geek,” and of another as “self-obsessed, petulant and idiosyncratic”.
The News also claimed US cables said Indian spies “were covertly supporting Islamist militants in the tribal belt and Balochistan”.
The report is “the first case of Wikileaks being exploited for propaganda purposes”, The Guardian writes.
The English-language newspaper The Express Tribune also published a front-page retraction, saying it “deeply regrets publishing this story without due verification and apologises profusely for any inconvenience”.