A leading Pakistani newspaper on Friday retracted a front-page story that used fake US diplomatic cables to brand Indian generals “genocidal” and accuse New Delhi of sponsoring militants. The News on Thursday reported that cables released by WikiLeaks showed Indian spies were supporting Islamist militants in Pakistan’s northwest tribal region of Waziristan and the southwestern province of Baluchistan. Datelined from Washington, the newspaper told how US diplomats thought of one Indian general as “incompetent” and a “geek”, another as “self-obsessed, petulant and idiosyncratic” who was “barely tolerated” by subordinates. It likened another to late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic “with regard to butchering Muslims through war crimes” in Indian-held Kashmir.
But on Friday The News wrote that “on further inquiries, we learnt from our sources that the story was dubious and may have been planted”. The News said the report originated from some local websites “known for their close connections with certain intelligence agencies”. A variety of Pakistani newspapers carried the report on Thursday, crediting the story to the Islamabad-based Online news agency, where a receptionist on Friday refused to put through telephone calls from AFP to senior editors. India and Pakistan have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947 and Pakistan’s powerful military establishment continues to see India as its primary threat, despite a Taliban insurgency along the Afghan border.