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Pakistani newspapers fooled by fake cables

Dec. 10, 2010 at 10:29 AM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- Newspaper leaders in Pakistan admitted they published reports based on phony documents -- supposedly from WikiLeaks -- containing anti-Indian comments.

The fake U.S. State Department cables, believed to have been planted by Pakistani intelligence, indicated U.S. diplomats believed the Indian army was riddled with factions, a "Bosnia-like genocide" was occurring in Indian-administered Kashmir and the Indian military supported "Hindu fanatic groups," among other things, the BBC reported Friday.

The Guardian, a British newspaper that has all of the more than 250,000 State Department communiques leaked by Wikileaks, said a thorough search turned up nothing to match any of the claims published by Pakistani media.

One publication, The News, said Friday, "On further inquiries, we learned from our sources that the story was dubious and may have been planted."

The English-language Express Tribune, a Pakistani affiliate of the International Herald Tribune, printed a Page 1 retraction Friday, saying it "deeply regrets publishing this story without due verification and apologizes profusely for any inconvenience."

The hoax is thought to have originated from the Islamabad-based Online wire agency, which the BBC said was known for its ties to the country's intelligence service.

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