Back in May 2020, two Pakistan High Commission officials in New Delhi were caught spying and declared persona non grata. According to media reports, Tahir Khan and Abid Hussain – the two officials were working as visa assistant at the High Commission in New Delhi’s Chanayapuri. Members of the Indian intelligence caught them when they were having meeting with their Indian agents and were getting information on Indian Army and railways. It was anticipated that the Pakistani spy agency ISI was plotting terrorist attacks on the Indian military personnel travelling by rail.
According to Indian intelligence, Tahir Khan and Abid Hussain have used fake identities in the past and came under the radar of the intelligence while they were having conversation with their contact over mobile phone.
It was further learnt that Tahir Khan used to “proactively” scout for contacts in government establishments in Delhi. “He was actively pursuing officers and middle-run employees luring with money and in some cases honey trap. It said, Pakistani ISI has been using females in trapping officials through social media and later blackmail them with the motive of extracting sensitive and secret information on the targeted institution.
Sources revealing the details of the operation said the official who nabbed Abid asked him to ‘finish eating Samosa fast, your time is up’. Initially, they claimed that they were Indian nationals and even produced fake Aadhaar cards.
Abid Hussain posed as Gautam, brother of a media person, to establish contact with an individual working in the Indian Railways. He also tried to gain his confidence by pretending that he needed information about rail movements for his brother who was supposedly doing a story on the Indian Railways and for which he was willing to pay, said Anil Mittal, Additional PRO (Delhi Police).
The officials were working at the visa section of the Pakistan High Commission and confessed during the interrogation that they worked for Pakistani spy agency ISI. These two officials were reportedly under the radar of intelligence agencies for about a year for involvement in espionage activities.
The motive of the two Pak officials was to extract the details by befriending railway staffers. During the investigation, it had emerged that Hussain reportedly operated under several fake identities to lure people working in organizations and departments of his interest.
Military intelligence reportedly stated that “documents used by Indian nationals while applying for a visa are illegally used to procure SIM cards in India. And using that SIM, they try to get in touch with important officials.”
In 2016, Indian police busted a spy racket run by one Akhtar Mahmood, a Pakistani national who worked in the visa section of the High Commission in Delhi. Mahmood was mainly collecting information on Indian border guard deployed within India-Pakistan borders.
It is learnt from credible sources that Pakistani ISI has been maintaining a number of “safe house” in New Delhi, where recruitment process of agents is taken place. It also said, ISI’s prime targets are Hindu males and females, who are offered large amount of cash as well as are in some cases blackmailed for collecting required information from the targeted sectors.
Pakistani ISI also has a squad of female agents, who are mainly assigned to establish intimacy with important or key individuals – thus finally compelling them in providing information as they fall victims of blackmailing.
Pakistani ISI’s made-up story about farmer protest in India
On January 12, 2021, attorney general KK Venugopal told the Indian Supreme Court that Khalistanis had infiltrated the farmer protests along Delhi’s border. An affidavit was filed in this regard.
While the court did ask Venugopal to prove his allegation, that the Khalistan story, which began as a baseless claim pushed by sections of the mainstream media, has found its way to the highest court of India in the first place is astounding. The theory claims that groups campaigning for the secession of Punjab – and the formation of a Sikh homeland, Khalistan – are orchestrating the farmer protests.
But this conspiracy theory of Khalistanis joining the farmer protests did not come out of nowhere. It had originated in Pakistan, by its spy agency ISI. But sections of the Indian media, Hindutva groups, and even ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) picked it up unquestioningly.
According to disinfoLab website, the seeds of the Khalistan involvement in farmer protests was sown back in August 2020 and this narrative was born in Pakistani – more precisely inside ISI’s conspiracy lab. Inter Service Public Relations, the media and Public Relations wing of the Pakistan armed forces pushed this theory through sponsored social media groups.
It was then peddled by Pakistani “influencers” such as actor Veena Malik.
On August 15, Malik posted a photo of a farmer holding a poster that read “We want Khalistan”. She wrote that Indian citizens must “demand a separate homeland” for its Sikh farmers.
According to Disinfo Lab, despite this theory originating from India’s “mortal enemy”, Hindu nationalists in India – referred to as “useful idiots” in the report – still fell for it. And once the narrative found an audience in India, it took on a life of its own.