Impacts of Hybrid Warfare on Pakistan’s Internal Security

For the last 60 years, nuclear weapons are considered the main components of deterrence that alter major conflicts among nuclear weapons states. Many nuclear powers have endorsed the fact of an unimaginable catastrophe of nuclear weapons. Offensive objectives through nuclear weapons have become a shallow dream due to its mass destruction and notion about nuclear weapons MAD “mutual assure destruction “. In the 19th & 21st centuries, objectives of a direct military clash among powerful states have changed to indirect military conflict in the form of hybrid warfare. Powerful states have opted for the strategy of coercion through small-scale or conventional arms against weaker states to deter the powerful. The U.S led military intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq was pursued by many political strategists as a known policy of war tactics.

The term Hybrid warfare was coined first after Russian clandestine intervention in Ukraine that is called Gerasimov doctrine by the Russian. Hybrid warfare is also known by many other names like Asymmetrical warfare, gray zone conflict, non-conventional, new generation warfare, and so on. It is an emerging threat to the existing nature of Power politics. States have come with new technological assets, war strategies, and covert operations. By new means of strategies have been applying to disrupt enemy capabilities in different spheres of influence. For instance, it is aimed not to defeat an enemy with an immediate attack, or direct military confrontation but to erode its overall morale to isolate it in the comity of Nation, disrupt its command and control system, to harm important strategic installation, Seaports, bridges, highways, trade corridor, pipelines and other means of states assets.

Pakistan has been the immediate target of enemy nations, several factors are included why Pakistan is being a cornerstone of hybrid warfare from the day first. Multiple reasons are behind the story to highlight Pakistan’s position for enemy covert activities. Due to its magnificent role in the Muslim world, vast natural resources, lucrative Geostrategic location, traditional rivalry with India & thorny diplomatic history with neighboring Muslim state Afghanistan, Indian ocean factor, Pak-China diplomatic bonhomie and first Non-NATO ally of the sole super Power United States.

Pakistan has experienced the most daunting challenge of the first Hybrid Warfare during the 1970s when India launched several offensive hybrid strategies to harm Pakistan’s position in East Bengal. Propagating Mujib’s six points, Indian alleged genocide and refugees blames, training thousands of Anti Pakistan elements the Mukti Bahni insurgents against Pakistan & finally the fame Indo- Soviet friendship treaty that badly hurt Pakistan’s position concluded on Indian military intervention and Separation of East Bangal as an independent state.

Pakistan has excellently managed conventional and nuclear weapons deterrence against India. But in the case of hybrid warfare, Pakistan has been in the most vulnerable position. In case of direct military intervention or nuclear coercion, the enemy knows that it would be a potential catastrophe for both the Attacker & the targeted state. Thus to gain maximum military or hybrid objectives, Pakistan’s adversaries have planted a web of clandestine operations to weaken Pakistan’s position on internal & external fronts. There are many areas in which the enemy is trying to deflect its devil design. The tragic incident of 9/11 has brought Pakistan on the verge of hybrid warfare. Many nations have turned their fall narrative & propaganda machinery against Pakistan. Pakistan has been facing extremely vague and covert asymmetrical confrontations in multiple areas. The list is too long and painful.

Pakistan’s nuclear & missile program has always been a key target of an adversary state. They sought out to roll back Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program. Their prime objective is to engage Pakistan in internal disruption to justify the nuclear vulnerability of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Propagating IQ khan network declaring Pakistan as a nuclear threat to world peace and nuclear proliferation. In the last few years, Pakistan sustained standard nuclear command and control system praised by many states and international agencies.

The deteriorating economic position of Pakistan and perpetual decline in GDP growth, rising prices of different commodities can lead to nationwide unrest and social discord. To impose economic pain to secure maximum political demands, Pakistan has been witnessing this challenge for the last fifty years. Despite the huge potential in the country’s demographic size, enormous natural resources, and fine geostrategic position. The issue of FATF and enlisting Pakistan in the grey list also ascribed enemy malign intentions. In the global war against terror, Pakistan has been playing a central role to curb the menaces of global terrorism. This all means of conspiracy theories put Pakistan in a serious security danger.

Sectarian tussle in Pakistan is a common threat. Several lobbies organizations and anti-state elements are funded by foreign hands. Sectarian tussle gives rise to social unrest in many parts of the country. Shina Suni split is not only sponsored by an enemy but also by friendly Muslim states. Thousands of innocent civilians lost their lives in the rhetoric sectarian war in the last forty years. The clash within civilization is the easiest way to disrupt the social fabric of any society. Pakistan still has to bear the brunt of secretion antagonism. Ways are open for enemy evil intentions.

Non-state actors promoted, supported by an enemy have taken thousands of innocent lives particularly after the U.S attack on Afghanistan. These types of non-state organizations are working as hybrid agents. Groups like BLA ( Balochistan liberation army ) TTP ( Tehriki -e-Taliban Pakistan ) Lashkar-e- Jangvi- (LJ) are some of the prominent non-state actors. These kinds of militant wings are actively involved in sabotage, infiltration, target killing, bomb blast, and genocide. The killing of Hazara community people is one of the gruesome examples of social unrest. U.S military failure in Afghanistan and allegedly criticizing Pakistan as safe heaven of terrorist outlets, safe sanctuaries, and blame game are only intended to harm Pakistan.

China Pakistan strategic partnership and China belt & Road initiative, their flagship project China Pakistan economic corridor( CPEC ) keenly disturbing enemy intentions. The media campaign against CPEC, declaring it as a Debt trap strategy and China’s illicit strategy to colonize Pakistan in the future. a plethora of falls information was shed against Pak-China strategic partnership. apart from its cyberattacks, guerrilla warfare, autonomous weapons, information technology, and hatred against Pakistan armed forces and security agencies shows the covert design of an enemy state.

Pakistan must have to ensure robust cyber capability to safeguard its important strategic assets, command and control system. To deter any cyber attack Pakistan must have to launch offensive capability for a timely begetting response. Many states have acquired the capability of cyber attacks and strategies of hybrid warfare. Pakistan adversaries have reasonable prowess in the IT sector, therefore it’s a need of the hour to restructure Pakistan’s security paradigm from top to bottom. Pakistan must be aware and ready for any non-conventional and hybrid assault in the coming years to thwart mounting security challenges Pakistan faces today.

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About Qaisar Mahmood 1 Article
The author is graduated in international relations from International Islamic University Islamabad. He is also a Geostrategic expert, freelancer, and has published several articles in different national and international magazine newspapers.