Hello, this is Pranab Mukherjee speaking

A prank of unlikely innocence

This looks like it is out of GreatBong. Because it can’t get more bizarre than this—Dawn‘s Zafar Abbas reports that someone claiming to be the Indian foreign minister called Asif Ali Zardari late on November 28th, and threatened military action. And this sent the Pakistani government in a tizzy, and they alerted the air force and the army threatened to pull 100,000 troops away from the war they don’t want to fight anyway.

The fake Pranabda then tried calling the US Secretary of State, but the Americans saw through the hoax. To top it all, the Pakistanis “are convinced the source of the mischief was someone in the Indian external affairs ministry.”

Seriously! How credulous can the good people in Islamabad be? That apart, what is disturbing in the whole story—if indeed it is true—is that it reeks of an attempt to use the aftermath of the terrorist attacks to trigger off a military crisis.

Update: Just over ten years ago, after India’s Pokhran-II nuclear tests, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif received intelligence inputs suggesting that India and Israel were planning a pre-emptive strike against Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. Bruce Riedel, then a senior official in the US State Department recalls that he “had the Israeli Chief of Staff deny categorically to the Pakistani Ambassador in Washington any such plan the night before the tests but that fact mattered little to Islamabad.”

5 thoughts on “Hello, this is Pranab Mukherjee speaking”

  1. Siddharth Varadarajan has detailed the attempts of the Pakistani military to whip up hysteria. Could this latest incident be one more attempt cooked up to showcase the danger of a nuclear war to scare the West?

  2. “Hallo, Mr Zardari? Mah name eez Kirpaaal… your daughter, she keeck mah dog”


    Seriously though – while it’s certainly possible that AlQaeda tried to fake a phonecall to provoke war, it’s ridiculous for the Pakistanis to take such a call seriously, and even more suspicious that they choose to hype it. To me, it sounds like they’re looking for ways to weasel out of fighting the war against Taliban/AlQaeda.

  3. It is an out and out information war. Right from the great hallucinations of 6th century to the talibisation of illiterates in madrasas. It is highly motivated and working at grass roots levels. The very fact that there are photos of mullah omar resembling muhammed, should leave no doubts in anybody’s mind as to where all this is leading.

    But of course these guys can’t see beyond their beards, so for them, a fire burning in any part of the world is sufficient to be called a right step in establishment of sharia. Since it is an information war, it has to be countered with information, but sadly, highly technically advanced world today is just not equipped to counter the information war unleashed since the 6th century.

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