A few days ago a story began appearing all over Pakistan media that reported “Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif has topped the list of military generals in the world”, even beating out Army chiefs from Germany, the US, South Korea, Japan, Russia, India, Turkey, China and the UK. It is an impressive example of global appreciation, and not the first one for the military. Last year ISI was ranked the best spy agency of the world also. What is the source of these rankings? A website called “ABC News Point”. No, not the American news channel. And no, not the Australian news channel either. So, who exactly is this “ABC News Point”? Following my report exposing another covert propaganda operation using fake websites to fool Pakistanis, Umar Cheema wanted to know. What he found out may surprise you.
As Umar Cheema points out, this is not the first time a fake website has been used to spread lies. However the question we should be asking as Pakistanis is why we need these fake websites to make ourselves feel good? Whether they are being run by official agencies or misguided individuals, the result is the same. Mainstream media picks up their lies and repeats them as if they were true. The people who read the reports in the newspaper or hear anchors repeating them on television accept them as authentic.
Hyper-nationalists say that there is no harm in this and what is wrong with building national pride. They are completely missing the point, though. The correct response is to ask what good can result from building national pride on lies? It is like building a fort on a riverbed. The first flood of truth will wash away the foundation and the whole structure will collapse on those inside. To build a stronger Pakistan what is required is a strong foundation built on truth. The lies peddled by these fake websites may make us feel good for a short time, but the feeling is only an illusion.