9 April 2017

DNA Exclusive: Pakistan organising cyber workshops to instigate unrest in Kashmir


With setting in of summer and melting of the snow, Pakistan has upped its game on social media to instigate the civil society in Kashmir Valley against the state government and security forces.

Apart from laying importance on physical attacks on public property and damage to security forces, there is a renewed attempt to use cyberspace to mobilise public opinion against the Indian Army. A look at it anti-India cyber operation reveals its sophistication.

A social media publicity material in possession of DNA is an example. The publicity material clearly states the days and the dates of social media workshops in different parts of Pakistan to organise cyber warfare against India. Not only does it inform them of the time but numbers are available, which are working and can be used to take quick notes if internet connection is slow. The most important is the message saying only thing required to wage cyber war in Kashmir is a phone and an internet connection. It also clearly states that the current workshops are only focused on the year 2017, indicating that every year terror organisations based in Pakistan would use social media platforms differently.

DNA spoke to Arun Chaudhary, a retired Intelligence Bureau officer who headed the Kashmir division on this matter. He is of the view that social media is being increasingly used to organise people in the valley and its power should not be underestimated.

The best example of this is the recent phenomena of quick mobilisation of people against security forces to pelt stones at them during an operation against militants. “Reach of social media in Kashmir is huge. It should be understood that Pakistan continues to heavily invest in technology to ensure that their assets remain safe inside the valley,” said Arun Chaudhary.

The political establishment continues to be tense because the mobilisation of people in isolated pockets during anti-terror operations is making the job of the Indian Army tough and delicate at the same time. Though the government in the state would like lesser publicity in television when anti-terrorist operations are on, it acknowledges the power of social media as it continues to shape a different narrative in the valley despite a different position taken by the mainstream media. Despite different content running on main channels, social media continues to create a different political landscape where heroes are martyrs and protest is both physical and digital at the same time.

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