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50 years apart Pakistan still uses companies to run propaganda and call for ‘Jihad’

Times have changed, 'jehad' cause may have changed, modus operandi remains the same.

Since the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, the social media accounts of multinational companies with branches in Pakistan are being used to propagate Pakistan’s agenda on Kashmir. In recent times several such posts came to light, including that of Hyundai, KFC, Dominos and many others. It is noteworthy that the Indian branches of these companies are well established and make much more money compared to Pakistan’s branches.

Social media posts by KFC and Hyundai Pakistan. Source: Twitter.

Despite the fact India is a far more important market, the global headquarters of these companies did not take any action until Indians marked their protest against these companies and started campaigns to boycott them. KFC and Hyundai have already issued statements, but netizens are yet not pleased with the statements as they fail to call Kashmir an integral part of India.

Pakistan celebrates 5th February every year as ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ to extend support to the Kashmiri separatist movement which is funded and supported by the Pakistan state. It was launched by Nawaz Sharif as the Pakistani Prime Minister in 1991. Since then, anti-India groups and individuals and Pakistani dispensation have used the day to convince Kashmiris to incite violence. So-called solidarity ‘rallies’ are held in Kashmir illegally occupied by Pakistan. In fact, in 2007, terror organisation Lashker e Toiba chief Hafiz Saeed had also addressed one such ‘Kashmir solidarity rally’ on February 5.

Interestingly, a lot of these commercial companies in Pakistan are owned and controlled by members of the Pakistan’s armed forces. A November 2020 report by news agency ANI stated that since its independence in 1947, Pakistani armed force personnel have very successfully rooted themselves in the commercial establishments. The three foundations in Pakistan, Fauji, Shaheen and Bahria, controlled by Army, Air Force and Navy respectively control over 100 commercial establishments. Hence, it is not surprising some commercial establishments in Pakistan would work as Pakistani armed forces propaganda outlets.

It is also not something new. It is old trick in new bottle.

Pakistan’s dirty old tricks

This is not the first time Pakistan is using companies and brands to spread propaganda. In 1971, during Bangladesh (then-East Pakistan) Liberation War, several small and large companies in Pakistan published ads in the newspapers urging people to support the regime and army in war. Pakistani Daily The Dawn was one of the newspapers that extensively published such ads for five straight days from December 14 to December 18.

In an ad, Habib Bank Limited published an ad urging people to donate to National Defence Fund. The ad read, “Jehad means total commitment.”

Source: Dawn

It further read, “When Muslims are in a state of Jehad, total mobilization becomes the need of the hour. Let each one of us work over and beyond the call of duty – produce more, export more, save more and avoid wastage.” It added that its employees donated part of the salary to the fund and urged everyone to contribute.

Habib Bank, founded by Habib Esmail, had a close connection to Mohammad Ali Jinnah. When Pakistan was created, Jinnah personally requested Habib Bank to shift from Bombay to Karachi.

Another ad was published by Muslim Commercial Bank. The ad, with the title “Appeal to every Pakistani”, urged everyone to donate 10 per cent of their wealth to the fund in the name of the Holy Prophet. It read, “When Jihad Fund had to be raised, Hazrat Abu Bakr offered whatever he owned, and Hazrat Omar gave away half of his wealth.”

Source: Dawn

In an ad by Rizvi Brothers (P) Ltd, the text read, “While our gallant forces are engaged in crushing the enemy in her territory, the entire nation has stood by them like a solid rock. We have resolved, and it is our firm belief that Insha-Allah, with the help of Almighty, we will give a crushing defeat to the coward enemy.” On the contrary, it was Pakistan’s army that turned coward and surrendered on December 16, 1971.

Source: Dawn

In another ad by Darbar Soap Works Ltd, then-President AM Yahya Khan was quoted where he said, “Remember the promise of Almighty Allah that, if you are steadfast in the path of Justice, he will bless you with final victory. Advance and strike at the enemy with the rallying call of Allah-o-Akbar. God is with us.” Apparently, it is evident God was, in fact, not with them.

Source: Dawn

In an ad by Aftab Shafiq Qamar Shafiq & Brothers, the owner of the store urged the women to donate woollen jerseys of 40-inch chest size to “Mujahids”. They had also slashed the price of wool. It seems the store wanted the women to weave jerseys for the soldiers for free. Which is why they asked women to rush to join jehad.

Source: Dawn

Other ads by banks also urged Pakistanis to donate generously to the Defence Fund.

Source: Dawn
Source: Dawn

50 years down the line, the method of spreading propaganda remains the same. Pakistan is still using corporates and businesses to spread propaganda.

Times have changed, ‘jehad’ cause may have changed, modus operandi remains the same.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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