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Pakistan’s radical Islamist Zaid Hamid uses tweets by Barkha Dutt to demonize India and fear monger about ‘build up in Kargil’

Indian government never said that Article 35A was the reason behind military build-up and cancellation of Amarnath Yatra. It was entirely a media speculation. Therefore, to call is red herring is completely misleading.

Whenever India-Pakistan conflict comes to limelight, some statements of Indian left-liberal chatterati are always used by Pakistan to propagate its propaganda. In a repeat of such situation, now Pakistanis are using comments and analysis of Indian secular journalists to attack India, when panic had gripped Pakistan and political parties and separatists in Jammu and Kashmir over the rapid deployment of additional forces in the state by the Indian government.

Zaid Hamid, a Pakistan based radical Islamist, today used tweets of controversial journalist Barkha Dutt to claim that India is trying to expand the conflict along the entire LOC and to try capture strategic regions inside Pakistan. He speculated that a massive crackdown in Kashmir will follow an attack on Pakistan. He lamented Pakistan, its government and media are not ready for this.

Zaid Hamid made this analysis based on a series of tweets posted by Barkha Dutt. When Congress was in power, journalists like Barkha Dutt had direct insider information from the government, which has stopped now after the Modi government came to power. This has left her and many others speculating and wondering what is happening in J&K, as govt is sharing information only on a need to know basis.

Barkha Dutt said she believes that internal issues, like the increased terror threat in the state, particularly on Amarnath Yatra, and the speculation that Article 35A will be repealed, are absolute red herrings, and the reasons of India’s quick action in the state are external. The former NDTV editor had claimed that the current happenings in Jammu and Kashmir are linked with US President Donald Trump’s offer of meditation and the latest situation in Afghanistan. She said that instead of looking at the situation from the prism of Srinagar, one should look at what is happening in the Kargil-Ladakh area, along with Poonch Rajouri at the other end.

The Radia tape famed journalist said that if the government’s move was related to Article 35A, they would have waited till the end of Amarnath Yatra. Therefore, the Indian government is reacting to something which is already in play or pre-empting something they may be coming, which she speculated to be related to Afghanistan, Trump, Pakistan, China. She meant that she does not believe the government version that the government’s moves are due to increased terror threat in the state.

This tweets by Barkha Dutt provided enough ammunition to Zaid Hamid to claim that India is mobilising troops in Kargil too, a clear indication of aggression against Pakistan. He, with most people in Pakistan, is already claiming that India’s military build-up in the valley is to attack Pakistan occupied Kashmir, and not to control terror activities in the Indian side of the border.

The tweets of Barkha Dutt came as a golden opportunity to present as proof of his claim, which Hamid readily used.

It may be noted that Barkha Dutt had also said that India’s mobilisation may be due to the expected rise of the Taliban after the US withdraws from Afghanistan. She had tweeted that threat assessment is external, from possible Taliban attacks probably enabled by China. This version is actually in the line of Indian government’s version, as it says that there is increased threat perception from terrorists across the border. But Zaid Hamid chooses to ignore those comments by her, as it does not suit his propaganda.

It is important to note that the Indian government never said that Article 35A was the reason behind military build-up and cancellation of Amarnath Yatra. It was entirely a media speculation. Therefore, to call is red herring is completely misleading.

Barkha Dutt’s theory of increased threat from Taliban partially matches with government’s explanation of increased threat perception, therefore there is no reason for her to claim that government used any red herring to explain its actions.

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