October 23. Recently, Indian media and social networking sites have circulated news about the outbreak of civil war in Karachi, Pakistan.
The BBC’s investigation on the 23rd found that this is a complete fake news. The rumored riot is A place that does not exist at all, even the explosion caused by the gas leak is speculated as a “civil war”.
Not surprisingly, this operation by the Indian media caused ridicule by netizens.
At first, local media in Pakistan reported that the Pakistani army kidnapped the provincial police chief and forced him to arrest a senior leader of the opposition.
This news quickly aroused the interest of the Indian media and carried out follow-up reports, claiming that a conflict between the Pakistani police and the army led to the death of a large number of Karachi police officers and tanks appeared on the streets.
Fake videos have also circulated on social media Twitter, vividly describing the so-called riots in Pakistan.
Later on the 20th, an unknown Twitter account posted that a war broke out between the army and the police and tanks drove onto the streets of Karachi, causing at least five casualties. One hour later, the account tweeted again:
“Emergency: The Pakistani army and the Sindh province police had a fierce exchange of fire in the Gulshan e Bagh area of Karachi.”
The BBC investigation found that none of these were true. The Pakistani police and opposition members did disagree over the arrest of politicians, but no violence occurred. In addition, those who are familiar with Karachi should know that there is no place called Gulshan e Bagh, there has not been any fighting, and no tanks have been seen on the street.
But with the hype in the Indian media, news of Pakistan’s “civil war” spread quickly. Coupled with the gas leak and explosion accident in Karachi on the 21st, the “civil war” rumors further fermented. A large number of verified personal accounts and mainstream Indian media, including CNN18, Zee News and “India Today” have published this fake news.
A user named Prashant Patel even declared that the U.S. Navy is about to arrive at Karachi Port. An account named “International Herald” shared a video of the alleged conflict scene: some young people walked to the building, one side of which lit a flame, they threw stones and chanted slogans.
The BBC stated that the “International Herald” is an Indian media that has closed down. The followers of the account currently include two leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). British media found that most of these Twitter users who reposted fake news were related to India.
Regarding the hype of the Indian media, Pakistan’s mainstream media and Twitter users expressed ridicule and sarcasm, and brought on the labels “Karachi civilians”, “fake news” and “Indian media”. Fahal E. Alam, a famous Pakistani singer and actor, joked on Twitter:
“The Karachi Civil War has become so bad that the takeaway boy had to crawl through the minefield with an AK47 rifle to deliver food to me.” Pakistani writer Bina Shah also refuted the rumors: “I live in Karachi, I went out to buy some groceries, went to the bakery, bought some clothes, and then went home. If there is a civil war, why would I not see.”
The BBC stated that the fake news report was a “collaborative dissemination of false information” by the Indian media. Hatoshi Barr, the political editor of the well-known Indian news magazine “Caravan”, believes that India does have a bias in reporting this matter.
Another senior Indian journalist who asked not to be named said that exaggerating the differences between the Pakistani army and the police is in line with India’s negative description of Pakistan’s decline.
Aslan Khalid, the digital strategy adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan, said that most of the people who posted these fake news on Twitter were supporters of the Indian ruling party. It was not the first time they launched a disinformation war against Pakistan.