LAHORE – Punjab DisinfoLab, a Lahore-based food disinformation watchdog affiliated with Punjab Food Authority (PFA), on Thursday cracked open a massive 15-year-old Indian operation targeting traditional gastronomic institutions including outlets selling paaye, nihari, taka-tak and karahi in the provincial capital.
Hundreds of fake restaurants and cafes have been unearthed ranging across Punjab, with clear links to India, The Dependent has reliably learnt.
Over 750 fake Butt Karahi outlets and more than 10 dead halwaais specialising in poori channay have been found in Punjab, who were serving Research Analysis & Wing (RAW) interests by serving India-funded food.
“They were installed to undermine Turko-Arab – or neo-Pakistani – and Chinese cuisines, instead serving food that can be traced to Northern India,” revealed a senior investigative officer of the Punjab DisinfoLab while talking to The Dependent.
Investigations revealed that the operation led by the Mahesh Butt-owned Butt Group and WN (Waris Nihari) – an Indian agency selling food originating from Delhi — began in 2005 and is still underway. Its mission is to discredit food in conflict with Indian food in Asia, in particular, Pakistan but also China to a lesser extent.
In this regard, the operation deploys anti-national politicians in Pakistan to prop up these fake restaurants and provide credibility to them.
“The key objective is to undermine Pakistan internationally. To do so, they resurrected dead café owners and fake restaurants. They impersonated food connoisseurs – spreading disinformation through fake food. They laundered food produced by fake restaurants to authentic restaurants – through money laundering politicians – and reached millions in Punajb,” the Punjab DisinfoLab report reveals.
Investigators revealed that suspicions of Indian foul play were aroused immediately after reading signboards displayed across these outlets saying: ‘humaari aur koi branch nahi’.
“Given the sheer number of Butt Karahis across the province, clearly something was amiss. This is a clear case of fifth generation pakwaan-fare,” revealed the investigating officer.