Arnab Goswami's leaked conversation on Balakot strike sparks India-Pakistan faceoff
Arnabgate or by whatever other names the leaked WhatsApp conversations of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami are known by has sparked off another round of diplomatic tussle between India and Pakistan, this time over the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot airstrike.
Arnabgate or by whatever other names the leaked WhatsApp conversations of Republic TV Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami are known by has sparked off another round of diplomatic tussle between India and Pakistan, this time over the Pulwama terror attack and the Balakot air strike.
Around 500 pages of WhatsApp conversations between Arnab Goswami and former BARC CEO Partho Dasgupta that are believed to be part of the voluminous charge sheet filed by the Mumbai Police as part of its fake Television Rating Points probe, were leaked recently.
The Controversial Conversation
In one such leaked conversation dated February 23, Arnab Goswami is reported as telling Partho, "... Pakistan. Something major will be done this time."
He further states, "Bigger than a normal airstrike. And at the same time something major on Kashmir. On Pakistan, the government is confident of striking in a way that people will be elated. Exact words used."
The conversation which happened 3 days before India targeted terror camps in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
Now, even as questions are being raised internally with regard to how Arnab Goswami was given access to such classified information, Pakistan has used the leaked WhatsApp chat to indulge in mudslinging and new weaving conspiracy theories.
Pakistan Claim: We stand vindicated
In a statement, the Pakistan Foreign Ministry said: "The latest revelations further confirm what Pakistan has consistently pointed out: The BJP government stages 'false flag' operations; maligns Pakistan with terrorism-related allegations; stokes hyper-nationalism in the country; claims to have launched so-called 'surgical strike'; and then deviously manipulates national sentiment in its bid to win elections. The pattern is unmistakable, and has been repeated to suit the RSS-BJP regime’s electoral calculations.'
"We had, at the outset, rejected India's malicious propaganda against Pakistan and highlighted that the biggest beneficiary of the Pulwama attack in February 2019 was the BJP government, as it secured a landslide victory in the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. The transcripts provide further evidence of how this whole enterprise from ‘false flag’ operation to massive electoral success was scripted and fully realized."
The Pakistan Foreign Ministry also claimed that the "transcripts also illustrate the unholy nexus between the 'Hindutva' regime and its cronies in the Indian media. On the one hand, they show how far and deeply the extremist agenda of the RSS-BJP combine has permeated India's institutions and pillars of the State. On the other hand, they show how the rights and freedoms of Indian citizens and democratic values in Indian society are being seriously jeopardized through cynical manipulation."
India: Strikes Gave Confidence
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who was on a two-day trip to Karnataka said that the surgical strikes gave confidence to the public that the nation's borders are safe because Modi is the Prime Minister and the country is ruled by the BJP.
A determined government had responded fiercely to the terror attacks in Uri and Pulwama in Kashmir between 2014 and 2019, Shah said, adding that the BJP government carried out surgical strikes inside Pakistan twice and eliminated terrorists there.
Republic TV: Pakistan is Desperate
Reacting to the Pakistan Foreign Ministry's claims, Republic TV said, "The desperation with which the Government of Pakistan has attacked the Republic Media Network in an open forum today, lays bare the involvement of anti-India forces in the conspiracy behind the Republic Media Network."
Lashing out at the Congress party, which has sought a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into how Arnab Goswami got access to classified information, the Republic TV statement said: "We urge the Congress party to stop working in tandem with the Government of Pakistan, consciously or unconsciously, to spread lies against India's interests.