Islamabad: Pakistani establishment and Jamaat fronts are targeting pro-Indian politicians, especially Indian origin politicians in the US, from getting elected and coming to power, a report has claimed.
Pieter Friedrich, a self-proclaimed expert on South Asia and a propagandist for Pakistani establishment and Islamist organisation, and his Organization for the Minorities of India (OFMI) campaigned against Indian-origin US politicians and publicly levelled unsubstantiated allegations against them, said The Disinfo Lab report.
They targeted Democrat candidate Tulsi Gabbard and campaigned against her in different parts of the US intending to derail her election campaign.
However, it was not just the OFMI and Friedrich, but a group comprising several organisations including IAMC, SADHNA, and Sikh Information Centre (SIC).
OFMI was the face of the campaign, and it ran social media ads against Gabbard in Hawaii, from where she hails, while Friedrich targeted Indian audiences. OFMI ran three campaigns in 2018, after which Pieter took the baton and continued attacking Gabbard in 2019 by associating her with the Indian establishment. Moreover, he ran two Facebook campaigns against her in March 2019.
They accused her of receiving money from ‘Hindu nationalists’ for running her political campaigns multiple times, again without any evidence. His sole evidence against her or the other US politicians of Indian origin he targeted was a reference to a pic of their meeting Indian politicians. On that logic, incumbent President Joe Biden has many visits to India, Barack Obama had met Narendra Modi on various occasions, and Trump too had visited India and they all have praised India before, The Disinfolab report said.
Besides, the likes of IAMC and Pieter Friedrich have also launched similar hate campaigns against Indian-origin politicians.
Most recently, American diplomat Atul Keshap, who was appointed head of the US-India Business Council, was publicly chastised by Friedrich in 2021.
Pieter led group protests against Keshap which was duly supported by IAMC.
Gabbard while running her campaign for presidential election 2020 was hit multiple times by Bhajan Singh Bhinder, Friedrich, Jada Bernard and affiliates of the OFMI which they conveniently tried amplifying through social media. Gabbard announced dropping out of the presidential election on March 19, 2020.
The same clutch of people targeted her during a campaign at a town hall in Los Angeles, on March 30, 2019. Bhinder, Friedrich and Bernard collectively put out their efforts to malign her relationship with the RSS and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP).
The same was posted by Friedrich’s official Twitter handle and OFMI’s official YouTube channel.
Friedrich and Co. again disrupted a campaign of Gabbard where she was addressing a group of people through the webinar. Friedrich along with some supporters broke into the hall and raised placards with the title “Tulsi, Mascot of India’s KKK”. And in another event, Bernard, accused the Democrat of using election campaign funds inappropriately.
Gabbard and Keshap’s cases are not only examples of how India’s interests abroad have been tampered with.
On January 22, 2021, Friedrich gave away his agenda to target the Indian-origin US politicians and ambush their campaigns since 2018, The Disinfo Lab reported.
The network also targeted other Indian-origin US politicians in the US such as Preston Kulkarni, Amit Jani, Sonal Shah, Padma Kuppa, and Raja Krishnamoorthi — all Democrats.
Kulkarni was appointed as the new Chief of External Affairs of Americorp under the new Biden administration on February 8, 2021.
Friedrich launched a signature petition against Kulkarni’s appointment and alleged him of receiving funds from the RSS-affiliated entities for running his campaign. Additionally, IAMC also wrote a letter to Kulkarni based on his association with the RSS.
Similarly, Friedrich and Ubaid also targeted Shah and Jani, starting July 2019. They created political pressure on the Democratic officials. They went on doing tagging campaigns wherein they kept on tweeting against the appointment of Shah and Jani ahead of the US elections in 2020. As a result, both the politicians were left out of the newly formed Biden administration in January 2021 based on their links with RSS-BJP.
Kuppa and Krishnamoorthi were targeted between 2019 and 2020 for their ties with the RSS and BJP.