M. Ali Hussain Dogar
Pakistan since its inception has confronted multifaceted national security threats and nascent is the threat posed by fifth generation warfare.
Combination of multiple conventional and unconventional tools , 5G warfare is a military strategy of employing political warfare which attributes dissemination of misinformation to accomplish strategic ,operational and tactical objectives. Blend of kinetic and non kinetic warfare, 5G warfare is waged in social and cognitive realms by state and non state actors.
Subversive in nature, 5G war is making Pakistan vulnerable to cyber challenges such as, data espionage, information theft, cyber warfare and terrorism. Both state and non-state actors employ these warfare tactics to bleed Pakistan and to coerce and shape its policies to their advantage. Some plausible manifestations in the context of Pakistan could be domestic critique of the state and its institutions , money laundering, hacking of bank accounts, secessionist movements , insurgencies in tribal areas and soaring sectarian strife. Domestic critique often reinforces an international mala fide attempt, on part of the enemies of Pakistan,to abase the national outlook. Other nefarious activities objectify to mar the credibility of the state by creating a wedge between army and the civil administration,which eventually fosters mass unrest and malign Pakistan`s image globally.
5th generation warfare poses challenges to Pakistan both on external and internal fronts owing to the presence of non state actors, including TTP , ISIS and other Indian backed sectarian organisations , which create anarchy and chaos through exploitation of ethnic and sectarian fissures. While state actors pose threat internally through political subversion , coercive deterrence and intervention.
Political subversion of Pakistan is being carried out diplomatically, economically, militarily, and through psychological subversion. In diplomatic domain , Pakistan is being portrayed as an epicenter of terrorism and an endorsee of insurgencies in other countries. FATF is a prime illustration of how malicious propaganda sways different actors and has direct implications not just for economy but for security as well.
Economically, CPEC is subjected to paramount flake and efforts are being made to bastardize this corridor of economic prosperity by disseminating disinformation regarding its route and trust deficit among provinces. India has been simultaneously and adaptively employing a fused mix of conventional small weapons, irregular tactics, terrorism, and criminal behaviour to vandalise the project. At the same time, the United States is utilizing economic pressure to impede the work of CPEC, and the local cliques on the behest of foreign powers have been commissioning internet-enabled propaganda to scandalize the CPEC.
Militarily, spiteful divide has been constituted betw-een armed forces and civil administration by anti-state actors, while psychological subversion is being done through demoralisation and polarisation of civil and security institutions, simultaneously. Misinformation of 5G warfare also threatens the democratic principles of the state, while making narratives and policy implementations worthless at the same time.
5th generation war is irredeemably changing the dimensions of the future warfare. Its potential of achieving supra-combinations; tendency to blur the warfare restricted boundaries and capability of transitioning the mode of traditional diplomacy ,while curbing the role of modern combined mechanised force have compelled nations to upgrade and redesign their traditional policy framework .
This enigma demands modern and non- militarized antidotes.Changing contours of future warfare require reformation in the prevalent national security approaches. Therefore, the conceptualization and contextualization of 5G warfare are imperative for evasion of doctrinal lag. First, a long term strategic perspective of security must be taken ,and focus must be shifted from a pure military dimension to conflict resolution. Secondly, the elements of national power must be transformed by not mere reorganization of governmental apparatus ,but by a redefinition of forms and functions. Thirdly , given that National Action Plan has political consensus and a broad framework of involvement of all the elements of national power, it should be implemented in totality. Fourthly , there is an urgent need to revive the national spirit, fervour and the ideology of Pakistan to curtail sectarian and ethnic divide.
Fifthly, as local governments provide channels of communications and execution of reform policies , hence need to be empowered at the grass root levels. Sixthly, we need to work on cyber security,as it malfunctions the government and financial institutions . Lastly , policy makers have to be exposed to best information regarding science, technology and innovation.
Undoubtedly, this generation of war cannot be fought through traditional military means and it requires an ardent use of science, diplomacy and non-conventional military technologies. This war has to be fought through right tools, knowledge and diplomacy sans brute military force,while adopting comprehensive strategies, which are substantial at this crucial time.
The writer is an alumnus of Aitchison College and is currently a law student.