Col Ikram Ullah Khan

Hybrid warfare and role of politicians

Col (r) Ikram Ullah Khan

With the latest technological development that has greatly influenced every sphere of life, the dynamics of modern warfare have also undergone a huge metamorphosis.

The old practice of trench warfare has given way to new concepts of war. Gone are the days when the adversarial forces would fight pitched battles. Even the use of latest weaponry is on the decline. New warfare techniques have supplanted the old ones. The utility to keep a huge standing army is gradually diminishing and is considered a big drain on national exchequer.

Nations have explored new sophisticated techniques of fighting war without involving the use of conventional or even strategic weapons. This new technique of warfare which is widely used by nations against their nemesis, and has become a buzz word these days, in military parlance, is called ‘hybrid war’.

But, before deliberating upon the nature and devastating consequences of hybrid warfare and the role of political leadership, I would like to explain this clichéd expression in as simple words as possible for the convenience of my valued readers sans military background.

Hybrid warfare is a concept of military strategy widely adopted by nations and is fought without using conventional or strategic weapons. It dexterously blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyber warfare – the trio with other powerful methods such as spread of fake news, diplomacy, politico-religious indoctrination, psychological warfare, brain washing, militancy, terrorism and indiscriminate violence. Militants are also dispersed among civilian population to terrorise and intimidate the unarmed civilians.

Besides, mass communication networks including cell phones, electronic media, print media and the likes are used for powerful propaganda against the targeted adversary and for spreading hatred and for carrying out smear campaign against the premier state institutions in order to cause public alienation and create a wide chasm of mistrust and suspicion between the state institutions and the public. On top of all, social media makes the most lethal weapon of hybrid warfare.

Since the last one decade or so, nations have resorted to the use of this new technique of warfare to teach their adversary a good lesson.

So those political forces in our country who are targeting the premier state institutions in their speeches while addressing public rallies and attempt to play to the gallery, are inadvertently assisting our enemies, particularly our archenemy in fulfilling their nefarious agenda, and who are always busy in waging a hybrid war against our motherland. They (politicians) need to measure their words carefully while discussing touchy and sensitive issues and while addressing public rallies, holding press conferences or giving interviews to foreign journalists.

Unfortunately, an unhealthy culture of apostrophising state institutions and their leadership in a threatening tone by politicians has become a norm these days which presages ominous future, and not a wise thing to do. Instead of acting as ‘Maula Jatt’ and indulging in such unrewarding practices and barren enterprise, political leadership needs to focus on serious issues including security and economic issues plaguing the country.

Politicians must understand that every single word they utter has a great bearing on national security and interest. They need to realize that by giving loose statements without considering their serious repercussions on the country’s security and economy, they inadvertently become part of a hybrid warfare thus providing an opportunity to our enemies to capitalize on it.

Remember Indian PM Modi’s venomous utterances who once said in a gloating tone that he would make Pakistan bleed white without waging a formal war. By this he was making an oblique reference to a hybrid war which is being so aggressively waged against Pakistan.

Those who have a deep understanding of hybrid warfare phenomena know it quite well that Pakistan makes no exception as the menace is spreading its tentacles across the globe with an indecent rapidity.

Having said all that, I would like to make it clear that when I use the word political forces, I don’t mean any specific political party or political figure, rather I mean all the political forces in general who unintentionally become instrumental in helping the antagonistic forces who are bent upon destabilizing Pakistan.

Remember, honour, safety and interest of the country stand paramount and come first and foremost always and every time. Personal interest, honour, safety and comfort come last and have least priority always and every time. Our interest, honour, security and even our very existence is inextricably linked with the security and existence of our great country.

Last but not the least, as a great nation, we need to put up a dignified show, exhibit a balanced approach, behave responsibly and gracefully like all great nations do in times of adversity, and acquit ourselves well in the face of a string of crises afflicting us in a row. We need to tell our adversaries in unison that whether it’s hybrid war or conventional war, we are here to knock you down.

Moreover, our educated youths whom future of this great nation belongs to, should exude maturity and sobriety instead of getting overwhelmed by inordinate and wild emotions and playing into the hands of those elements who keep their personal interests above national interests. In this regard, let’s do necessary introspection, amend our conduct and behaviour and seriously reflect upon the famous quotation attributed to Martin Luther King Jr who says: “We have developed guided missiles but unguided human beings”.

Pakistan Zindabad.

One Reply to “Hybrid warfare and role of politicians”

  1. The benefits of Hybrid regime
    “A SIZEABLE splinter within the military-led establishment is demanding that Imran Khan, as its former creation, deserves a second stint in power. Fractures have cascaded downwards and split the superior judiciary, bureaucracy, police and the general public.

    A hapless prime minister recently admitted that anarchy reigns. Punjab’s heavyweights — PTI and PML-N — are slugging it out on centre stage. Their mutual hatred has boiled over into abuse, abductions, assaults upon the police, petrol bombs and bullets.” Daily DAWN Apri 1, 2023.

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