The WhatsApp message came an hour after I landed in Islamabad. Sardar Masood Khan, the president of Pakistani-administered Kashmir, wanted to know if I was available to meet. I had interviewed him for Foreign Policy during the February 2019 India-Pakistan military confrontation over Kashmir, and he was eager for another conversation.

His outreach was part of a carefully coordinated PR offensive by Pakistan to seize the global narrative over India’s early August annexation of the semi-autonomous territory of Jammu and Kashmir. It included an op-ed by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in The New York Times, interviews by Pakistani diplomats in Washington and New York, and a meeting with Pakistani-Americans by Raja Farooq Haider, the prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir, as the Pakistani portion of the divided territory is officially known (“Azad” means “free”).

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By Lawrence Pintak

Lawrence Pintak is an award-winning journalist and scholar. He is a former CBS News Middle East correspondent and was founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication at Washington State University (2009-2016). He was named a Fellow of the Society by the Society of Professional Journalists in 2017 for "outstanding service to the profession of journalism" around the world. Pintak is a contributor to, The Daily Beast, and other outlets. Read his articles at His books include Reflections in a Bloodshot Lens: America, Islam & The War of Ideas; Islam for Journalists (co-editor); The New Arab Journalist; and Seeds of Hate: How America’s Flawed Middle East Policy Ignited the Jihad. He holds a PhD in Islamic Studies from the University of Wales, Trinity St. David. Follow him on Twitter @LPintak.