RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir has said that social media is rife with fabricated claims against the state of Pakistan as he came down hard on anti-national elements.
“Social media is being used to create an environment of chaos, despair, and panic. Through fake news, an impression is being created that the state is losing its [writ],” the army chief said in an address to the National Farmers Convention in Islamabad on Friday.
Like many countries, Pakistan is also grappling with the growing challenge of fake news on social media — masquerading as truths and spreading like wildfire. The reports, despite being unfounded, are fuelled by emotional appeals and designed to existing societal divisions.
A detailed report issued earlier this year by EU DisinfoLab showed that Indian media outlets have also been part of a smear campaign against Pakistan by quoting non-existent organisations, journalists, and bloggers.
This is not restricted to other states being involved in smear campaigns against Pakistan and its institutions, but investigations have also revealed that a political party — the Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) — was also involved in using state resources for spreading false propaganda against state institutions.
In his address to the farmers, the army chief further said that “rumours” and “negative impressions” were being spread about Pakistan.
“But you should know that only two states were established on the bases of the Kalima: the state of Madina and Pakistan,” COAS Munir said, emphasising divine backing to the country.
He added that Pakistan is rich in resources; it has glaciers, rivers, mountains, and fertile land that produces some of the world’s best rice, fruits like kinnow and mangoes, and treasures like granite, gold, and copper.
In the 1960s, he said, Pakistan was one of the fastest-growing countries in Asia, but “we forgot the three golden principles of the Quaid-i-Azam — faith, unity, and discipline — which is why we saw a decline”.
Moving on, Gen Munir said that agriculture and animal husbandry were professions of almost every prophet because they included discipline, hardship, growth, and patience, which resulted in countless rewards.
The army chief mentioned that the driving force behind the Green Pakistan Initiative was to boost agriculture.
A major chunk of the initiative’s income will go to the provinces, while the rest will be kept for farmers and agricultural research, he said, noting that the “role of the army in this is only to serve the people and farmers”.
The army chief added that agriculture malls will be organised in districts, where all kinds of agriculture-related facilities will be available to the farmers.
COAS Munir added that the provision of easy agricultural credit, cold storage chain, climate change-resistant seeds, and genetically engineered livestock will be ensured for the farmers.
“All types of mafia will be crushed together with the nation,” the army chief added.