Impacts of Hybrid Warfare on Pakistan’s Internal Security
Nuclear weapons have been considered the main components of deterrence for the past 60 years, altering major conflicts between nuclear weapons states. Many nuclear powers have acknowledged that nuclear weapons have the potential to cause immeasurable devastation. Due to nuclear weapons’ mass destruction and the concept of “Mutually Assured destruction,” offensive objectives with nuclear weapons have become a utopian dream. The goals of direct military conflict between powerful states have shifted to indirect military conflict in the form of hybrid warfare during twenty-first century. To deter, powerful states have used small-scale or conventional arms coercion against weaker states. Many political strategists saw the US-led military intervention in Afghanistan and Iraq as a well-known policy of war tactics.
The term “hybrid warfare” was coined after Russia’s clandestine intervention in Ukraine, which the Russians refer to as the Gerasimov doctrine. Asymmetrical warfare, grey zone conflict, non-conventional warfare, and new generation warfare are some of the other names for hybrid warfare. It is a new threat to the current nature of power politics. States have introduced new technological assets, warfare strategies, and covert operations. New strategies have been implemented to disrupt enemy capabilities in various spheres of influence. For instance, it is not intended to defeat the enemy with an immediate attack or direct military confrontation, but rather to erode its overall morale in order to isolate it in the community of nations, disrupt its command-and-control system, and harm important strategic installations such as seaports, bridges, highways, trade corridors, pipelines, and other means of state assets.
Pakistan has been an immediate target of enemy nations; several factors have contributed to Pakistan’s status as a cornerstone of hybrid warfare since its inception. The concept has been discussed for a number of reasons, including highlighting Pakistan’s position as a target for enemy covert operations. Because of its magnificent role in the Muslim world, vast natural resources, lucrative geostrategic location, traditional rivalry with India and thorny diplomatic history with neighboring Muslim state Afghanistan, Indian ocean factor, Pak-China diplomatic bonhomie, and first non-NATO ally of the sole superpower United States. During the 1970s, Pakistan faced the most daunting challenge of the Hybrid Warfare, when India launched several offensive hybrid strategies to harm Pakistan’s position in East Bengal. Propagating Mujib’s six points, Indian alleged genocide and refugee blames, training thousands of anti-Pakistan elements in the Mukti Bahn insurgents against Pakistan, and finally the famous Indo-Soviet friendship treaty, which severely harmed Pakistan’s position and resulted in Indian military intervention and the separation of East Bengal as an independent state.
Pakistan has made considerable progress of deterring India with conventional and nuclear weapons, h however, when it comes to hybrid warfare, Pakistan has been the most vulnerable. The enemy understands that direct military intervention or nuclear coercion would be a potential disaster for both the intruder and the targeted state. As a result, Pakistan’s adversaries have planted a web of clandestine operations to weaken Pakistan’s position on both the internal and external fronts in order to achieve maximum military or hybrid objectives. The enemy is attempting to deflect its devil design in a variety of ways. Pakistan is on the verge of hybrid warfare as a result of the tragic events of 9/11.Many countries have used their fall narrative and propaganda machinery to target Pakistan. Pakistan has been confronted with an extremely ambiguous and covert asymmetrical confrontation in a number of areas. The list is far too long and painful to read. Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes have long been a target for adversary states. They sought to halt Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programmes. Their primary goal is to engage Pakistan in internal disruption in order to justify the vulnerability of Pakistan’s nuclear assets. Propagating the IQ Khan network’s declaration that Pakistan is a nuclear threat to global peace and nuclear proliferation.
In recent years, Pakistan has maintained a standard nuclear command and control system that has been praised by many states and international organizations. Pakistan’s deteriorating economic position and continuous decline in GDP growth, as well as rising commodity prices, may lead to nationwide unrest and social discord. Pakistan has faced this challenge for the last fifty years, attempting to impose economic hardship in order to secure maximum political objectives. Despite the country’s enormous demographic potential, vast natural resources, and excellent geostrategic location. The issue of FATF and the inclusion of Pakistan on the grey list also suggested that the enemy had malign intentions. Pakistan has been a key player in the global war on terror, helping to combat the threat of terrorism around the world. All of these conspiracy theories put Pakistan’s security in jeopardy. In Pakistan, sectarian strife is a common phenomenon. Foreign interests fund a number of lobbying organizations and anti-governmental groups. In many parts of the world, sectarian strife causes social unrest. Not only hostile Muslim states, but also friendly Muslim states, are supporting the Shia Sunni split. Thousands of innocent civilians have died as a direct result of the scaremongering sectarian war. Civilizational clashes are the simplest way to destabilize any society’s social fabric.
Pakistan continues to bear the brunt of secretion resentment. There are numerous avenues for the enemy’s evil intentions. Non-state actors promoted and supported by an enemy have killed thousands of innocent people, particularly following the United States’ attack on Afghanistan. These non-state organizations function as hybrid agents. Non-state actors include the BLA (Baluchistan Liberation Army), TTP (Tehrani-e-Taliban Pakistan), and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LJ). These militant wings actively engage in sabotage, infiltration, target killing, bomb blasts, and genocide.The assassination of Hazara community members is one of the most heinous examples of social unrest in Pakistan. The United States’ military failure in Afghanistan, as well as alleged criticism of Pakistan as a safe haven for terrorist outlets, safe havens, and blame game, are all intended to harm and ill-repute Pakistan. The China-Pakistan strategic partnership and the Belt-and-Road Initiative, as well as their flagship project, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), are causing concern among adversaries. The media has waged a campaign against CPEC, branding it a debt trap strategy and China’s illegal plan to colonies Pakistan in the future. A slew of information was leaked about the Pakistan-China strategic partnership. Apart from that, cyber-attacks, guerrilla warfare, autonomous weapons, information technology, and hatred for Pakistan’s armed forces and security agencies demonstrate an enemy state’s covert design. Pakistan must ensure a strong cyber capability to protect its critical strategic assets, including its command-and-control system.
To deter any cyber-attack, Pakistan must be able to launch offensive capabilities in order to respond in a timely manner. Many states have developed cyber-attack capabilities and hybrid warfare strategies. Pakistan’s adversaries have reasonable prowess in the IT sector; therefore, it is imperative that Pakistan’s security paradigm be restructured from top to bottom. To address the mounting security challenges that Pakistan faces today, Pakistan must be aware of and prepared for any non-traditional and hybrid attacks in the coming years.