By Agha Iqrar Haroon
On August 20, 2021, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) while addressing at Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) Kakul again indicated that enemies of Pakistan are trying to weaken our society and state through hybrid war.
Hybrid is very lethal particularly when it is using social faultlines through propaganda for polluting the minds of a Nation.
Since India is licking its wounds after its dreadful defeat in Afghanistan, it will surely accelerate its terrorism network against Pakistan to keep engaging Pakistan Army from Gwadar to Chitral and to keep trying to exploits faultlines within our society.
Indian hegemony has been busted in Afghanistan and the arrival of the Taliban in power symbol Palace of Kabul has dismantled NDS and RAW networking. The enemy would, of course, continue to try to keep engage Pakistan therefore chances of an increase in terrorism-related events in urban as well as in bordering areas are well expected. Gwadar attack was claimed by the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). This was the second major attack on Chinese officials in the last month, the first was in Dasu. Since BLA would not be in a position to work freely from Afghanistan, it would try to move on within bordering areas of Pakistan, increasing further chances of engagement.
Meanwhile, protests and demonstrations have been planned against Gwadar Port and the Chinese as part of a hybrid war. The role of Pakistan media is very important again to protect the national interest in the forthcoming sensitive phase because of the Indian campaigns against Pak-China relations, Chinese citizens, and Gwadar Port.
Pakistan is facing multiple challenges and threats directly linked with its geopolitical positioning, proximity with Afghanistan, its Foreign Policy, and its relations with archrival India.
India since the birth of Pakistan always worked expanding our social faultlines and targeting our youth to stand against our state. We had faced the brunt of this Indian policy in former East Pakistan in 1971 under Indian Sponsored “Operation Jackpot”.
Social scientists believe that social inadequacy operates as a booster to disintegrate any society which is the victim of manipulation of its faultlines by its enemies rather social inadequacy is itself a dreadful faultline.
With the war between states now exceptionally rare, injecting violence within countries is a known tactic of enemies through launching hybrid wars to achieve the goal of destroying the enemy. This goal can easily be achieved to widen already present social and economic faultlines. The dysfunctional administrative system, un-proportionate population growth, and obsolete educational system are considered prone to accepting the enemy’s propaganda.
Almost every country possesses immeasurable and at times dramatic social, economic, and political faultlines and its enemies work to widen these fault lines if a country allows them to do so.
African and Middle Eastern countries are prime examples where ethnic, religious, sectarian, and social differences (fault-lines) were used to intensify the process of their disintegration. The Rwandan genocide and Nigerian civil war, the Sudanese civil war, and the Darfur conflict can be considered prime examples in Africa while the Libyan, Iraq and Syrian civil wars were designed on sectarian differences. Yemeni crisis is (was the) latest example of the disintegration of society as well as country through expanding ethnic and sectarian faultlines.
In South Asia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Sri Lanka faced disasters due to their ethnic and sectarian fault-lines during the last four decades. India launched fourth-generation warfare on the same design against Pakistan because ethnic and sectarian faultlines can easily be expanded through launching any narrative against the state.
Anthropologists believe that consolidating Nationalism helps to teach a Nation to live for itself and govern itself. Nationalism is oriented towards developing and maintaining National identity based on shared characteristics such as culture, language, race, religion, political goals, or a belief in a common ancestry. Nationalism, therefore, seeks to preserve the nation’s culture. It often also involves a sense of pride in the nation’s achievements and is closely linked to the concept of Patriotism.
Nationalism survives through “Heroism” in every society and this important module has been taken away from the syllabus for a long in Pakistan. The importance of heroes for nation-building provides a better understanding of why we are the way we are. Anthropologically, what distinguishes us from other nations is our historical culture and heritage, i.e., the main factors that shape and nurture an individual. Pakistan is no more a young nation as we are 73 plus years old and enjoy versatile strong Pakistani indigenous culture but we are not owning this culture and trying to find our cultural identity either in Muslim Heritage or Sub-continental heritage. Sociologists believe when a group (nation) finds cultural ideals and identities outside the land (State), this group can face crises of “Citizenship”. It is evident that enemies always hit Citizenship through propaganda to attack a country.
In her article titled “EU DisnfoLab: Dissection of Indian Propaganda exposes customary incompetency of its engineers”, Prague-based Foreign Affairs expert Shazia Anwer Cheema writes that the very base of propaganda, positive or negative is semiotics and it requires meaning-making tools and all the aspects which can create meaning become a resource for propagation.
“A word, a brush, a picture, a gesture a melody, all are meaning-making tools and their use cannot detach from personal biases and that is the beauty of it, having numerous expressions coming from uncountable individuals create our collective knowledge. However, this human cognitive ability can be played like all other brain functions. Our cognitive system can be manipulated with the help of manipulation. Manipulation is the informed use of meaning-making tools under the shadow of controlled agenda. Manipulation is an art and a science both and fundamental elements of propagation. Cognition is higher-order brain functioning like thinking, reasoning, remembering/ memory function, inference /interpretation, judging, decision-making, and problem-solving that requires language, imagination, perception, and planning. Every individual cognitive system operates in his/her unique way, so they interpret the world around them on an individualist basis, and these interpretations shape feelings and behaviors. Therefore, manipulation with cognitive system gets desirous results to change the untrue as true in propaganda,” writes Shazia Cheema.
Since our enemies are trying to manipulate our cognitive system slowly but surely, therefore understanding to such kind of lethal weapon is important to youth particularly and the State should guide our youth on what kind of propaganda we are facing. This goal can be achieved by holding seminars in universities and colleges (virtual or physical) by inviting propaganda tool experts, linguistic experts, sociologists, anthropologists, and experts from media studies.
COAS has rightly indicated that the enemy is working hard to exploit anything that it can find against Pakistan and this is our duty as a Nation to work collectively to mitigate such attempts against our Motherland—-Pakistan.
Since we know that every art form is the propagation of personal beliefs and ideology and these impact forms could be positive as well as negative, therefore we need to watch what is being provided to us and in what form that can harm our national integration.
The views and opinions expressed in this article/Opinion/Comment are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk (DND). Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of the DND Thought Center and Dispatch News Desk News Agency.