Imran Khan attacks Modi government over Arnab Goswami chats


Editor-in-Chief of ‘Republic media network’ blames Cong., Indian media for ‘assisting’ Pak narrative

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan waded into the controversy over leaked conversations between a television channel head and the chief of television ratings agency Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC), saying that they proved that the Modi government had planned the Balakot air strikes in February 2019 in order to “win general elections”, and to “push our nuclearised region to the brink of a conflict it cannot afford”.

Mr. Khan’s statement, which followed a similar statement by Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday, raised a response from the Editor-in-Chief of the “Republic media network”. He claimed that there was a “Pakistani hand” in the case against Republic and BARC’s former CEO Partho Dasgupta, currently in police custody.

Mr. Khan said the communications revealed the “unholy nexus between the Modi govt & Indian media” and accused the government that “dangerous military adventurism to win an election”.

‘Conspiracy against Republic’

Mr. Goswami said the comments by Mr. Khan made it clear that Pakistan had a role in what he claimed was a “conspiracy against Republic”. “If the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Pakistan have come out in support of the malicious police action against the Republic, then nothing much is left to be said,” Mr. Goswami added.

Also read: Cong. seeks probe into chats between Arnab, ex-BARC CEO

He also alleged that there was evidence of “calibration” between the Congress party and Indian media which, he said, were “anti-Republic” in order to “assist the Pakistani narrative”.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) did not comment on the exchange.

“We dismiss the allegation with the contempt it deserves,” Congress general secretary Randeep Surjewala told The Hindu when asked about the remarks, and accused Mr. Goswami of “hiding his misdeeds behind Imran Khan”.

Transcripts of conversations

As The Hindu reported some days ago, transcripts of the conversations between Mr. Goswami and Mr. Dasgupta that have been released into the public domain are understood to be part of the Maharashtra police’s charge sheet in the case on fixing of TRPs (Television Rating Points) by BARC and Republic TV.

According to the messages purportedly exchanged on Whatsapp, three days before Indian Air Force jets bombed a building believed to be Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) terrorist training camp in the Pakistani town of Balakot on February 23, 2019, Mr. Goswami told Mr. Dasgupta that India would carry out something “bigger than a normal strike” on Pakistan.

Mr. Goswami allegedly celebrated his TV channel’s rating’s bump after the Pulwama terror attack on February 14 by the JeM, in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed, saying “this attack we have won like crazy”.

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