Analysis & Opinion World

Indian Imposed Hybrid War – The Roles of PTM And BLA

Pakistan has been a victim of many conventional and non-conventional wars imposed by India since the inception. Even after seventy years of the partition still, Indian establishment is unable to accept the existence of Pakistan. They have been involved in inventing vicious and odious strategies to undermine Pakistan politically, economically and socially. Many proxies are being carried out by RAW in erstwhile FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Areas) and Baluchistan using Afghan territory.  India is not alone in this odious mission, she has a full support from the people saddling the power in Kabul. In an address to passing out parade ceremony of cadets at Pakistan Military Academy Kakul­­­—Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa expressed grave concerns over Indian and Afghan involvement in carrying out a hybrid war on Pakistan’s soil. He said ‘’a hybrid war had been imposed on Pakistan to internally weaken it’’. In an interaction with participants of national security workshop in GHQ — the Army Chief once again highlighted that Pakistan is facing religious, ethnic and sectarian version of hybrid war. This shows the grimness of the situation.

What is hybrid warfare and how it is different from conventional warfare? Russian scholars define hybrid war, “an externally provoked identity conflict which exploits historical, ethnic, religious, socio-economic and geographical differences within geostrategic transit states”. It is a military strategy that employs political warfare with conventional warfare, irregular warfare, cyber warfare, and other influencing methods such as fake news, propaganda, diplomacy and electoral interventions. In hybrid warfare, the enemy conducts psychological assaults using ethnic, religious, sectarian and nationalistic narratives. This is the most dangerous version of warfare which hollows the foundation of national integration and cohesion by fissuring the gulf between the state and its people.

The ideology behind the emergence of PTM was the protection of Pashtuns’ political, economic, social and constitutional rights but its practical approach shows how PTM is paving the fray for enemies to play.  

This time the enemies are using ethnic weapons against Pakistan. The Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement (PTM) and Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) are practical manifestations of Indian imposed hybrid war against Pakistan. The Pashtun is the second largest ethnicity of Pakistan and its patriotism cannot be undermined. Pashtuns are the backbone of Pakistan’s defense and Indian establishment is well acquainted of the role played by the Pashtuns during the four Indo/Pak wars. But unfortunately, the seventy years of the state negligence toward erstwhile FATA paved the way for enemies to play Pashtun card. The enemies are exploiting Pashtuns sentiments very well through the plate farm of PTM which emerged after the brutal murder of a young social media star Naqeeb Ullah Mehsud in Karachi last year. 

The ideology behind the emergence of PTM was the protection of Pashtuns’ political, economic, social and constitutional rights but its practical approach shows how PTM is paving the fray for enemies to play. Despite the assurance of constitutional rights by Pakistani establishment and even after fulfilling its just demands—the reluctance of its top brass to sit with Pakistani Government shows something wrong at the bottom.  It is true that Tribal areas are the least devolved areas in Pakistan and the plight of inhabitants is grim but the way PTM is involved in creating anti-Pakistan and anti-state narrative shows that it has no interest in the development of war-torn area; the only purpose of its existence is to create antipathy and animosity in the mind of general populace toward state and reputable state institutions. The impediment of a young man carrying Pakistani flag from entering in PTM jalsa in swat and slogans in favor of Israel shows the vicious dream of the enemy to blur the national identity of Pakistan.

On social media, the activists of PTM are less involved in highlighting social, economic, political and administrative issues of Tribal Areas than blaming state and state institutions.

The support from the Afghan president and parliamentarians shows the real motivation behind the PTM agenda of the irredentist claim of greater Pakhtunistan.  

The recent attack on the Chines consulate in Karachi once again ring the tocsin for Pakistani security establishment. Karachi Police Chief Dr Amir Ahmed Shaikh during a media briefing said that the attack was planned in Afghanistan and carried out with the assistance of Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He further said the attack was aimed at sabotaging the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and meant to create trouble between Pakistan and China. Before it, the banned Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) had claimed credit for the attack. The master mind of the attack was under treatment in an Indian hospital. It is a deliberate attempt to electrify the Baloch insurgency once again. The enemies of Pakistan cannot digest the success of CPEC. It is a very suitable time for them to undermine Pakistan’s endeavors for prosperity by creating insurgency in Baluchistan. As the success of CPEC depends upon political and security stability in all provinces particularly Baluchistan. 

Baluchistan has strategic importance for CPEC– its port Gwadar– strategically not only important for Pakistan but for China too. Economically, Gwadar will be the hub of business and trade activities and create thousands of jobs for Baloch youth. India is desperately apprehensive of the Chinese presence in Gwadar and its geostrategic importance. Gwadar is very important in the chines geo-political theory ‘’strings of pearls’’ which is a network of chines military and commercial facilitation in the Indian Ocean. India considers CPEC a serious threat to her strategic interest and will not let any opportunity vain in undermining it. To pursue her hegemonic design by sabotaging CPEC, India has established a separate wing under the auspices of her notorious agency RAW and allocated a budget of thirty million dollars. Now it is need of time to counter Indian threat in the same way she is doing. Strategically, the opening of Kartarpur border is a very important decision and could be used to counter Indian hybrid salvo in erstwhile FATA and Baluchistan. It is now the need of time to electrify Khalistan Movement and reply Modi the way he deserves.    

The writer Syed Usama Shirazi is an Independent Researcher, based in Islamabad, Pakistan. His area of interest is Defence and Strategic Studies in South Asian context.