Arnab Goswami, the Indian anchor, was left embarrassed during a recent television show after his claims about the presence of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officials at Kabul’s Serena Hotel were proven to be false.
Goswami had asked an Indian analyst as well as PTI spokesperson Abdul Samad Yaqoob to represent Pakistan on his program ‘The Debate’ on Republic World TV channel last week. In a discussion on what the station referred to as a “big split” inside the Taliban, who took control of Afghanistan last month. The Indian anchor went on to allege that Pakistan Army officers were residing on the ‘fifth level’ of the Serena Hotel, apparently to aid the Taliban in their takeover of the Panjshir valley.
Then, when Yaqoob called Goswami out on his allegations, he went on to say that his intelligence was correct, claiming that the warriors were still opposing the Taliban and that Pakistani soldiers were withdrawing from the valley.
According to the anchor, go and check today… on the fifth floor of the Serena Hotel, I’m telling you, please check… on the fifth floor of the Serena Hotel in Kabul, how many Pakistani army officers are there?
He also went on to say that I may be able to tell you what they ordered for dinner, so don’t doubt my intelligence sources; we’ve had all of our aerial surveillance on you.
Yaqoob, on the other hand, returned to the show a day later and responded to the allegations by claiming, “According to the information I’ve gathered from my sources, Serena only has two floors. Three additional floors are not available (third, fourth, and fifth).”
The result was an embarrassed expression on the firebrand anchor’s face, which was hidden beneath a forced burst of laughing.
Netizens from Pakistan and India equally criticized Goswami for making false accusations after the funny debate went viral on Sunday. The hashtags #ArnabGoswami and #ISIon5thFloor received thousands of tweets in response.
In an interview with Geo tv, a receptionist at the Serena Hotel revealed that the building has only two floors.
Shen Shiwei, a Chinese journalist, also debunked Goswami’s claims by posting photographs of the hotel on social media.
In recent years, the Indian media has demonstrated its unprofessionalism on several occasions. Leading Indian television channels were left red-faced in early September, as the battle of Panjshir raged on in Afghanistan when they aired what they claimed was “exclusive footage” of the Pakistan Air Force dropping bombs on anti-Taliban forces in Panjshir. As soon as it was revealed that the footage in question was not exclusive at all, readers all over the world burst out laughing because it had been taken from the video game Arma 3.
Hasti TV also labeled the Arma 3 game footage as “exclusive” before Republic TV and TV9 aired the same clip. In the video, shots are seen being targeted towards an airborne plane as it navigates being struck.
Furthermore, an Indian army general recently took to Twitter to share photographs of Pakistani soldiers who were allegedly martyred in the Panjshir valley. But when it was discovered that the images uploaded were photographs of actors Shaan Shahid, Umair Jaswal, and Bilal Ashraf from the sets of the 2017 film Yalghaar, the general was exposed to widespread mockery on social media.
At that time also people responded mockingly on Twitter.
But now it’s time to ask a question about when India will stop trying to present pro-Pakistani claims on media. When will Indian media shows some responsibility and grow up?
Author is a Lahore College for Women University graduate. She writes with zeal and believes that there is nothing greater than words to express herself.