Interior minister Chaudary Nisar’s press conference on 27 July 2017, in which he reaffirmed his loyalties to the (then) PM and his party and announced that he would resign after the declaration of the verdict of Panama case, did not have any worthwhile effect on the prevailing political environment in the country. He however mentioned the impending danger to our country by using the words, “dark clouds”. Unfortunately, not much heed has been paid to this aspect even by the media. He also mentioned that only few persons in the top military and civil hierarchy including himself knew about this danger.

In the post cold war era, Pakistan, due to its geopolitical importance and being a leading Muslim state armed with nuclear weapons has always been a focus of attention of the super powers. In this regard the magnitude is further aggravated due to CPEC that is gravely antipathetic to India as well as the great powers. Their design for the balkanisation of the Greater Middle Eastern Region entails slicing Pakistan into different parts; Independent Greater Baluchistan, Jinnahpur and annexation of KPK with Afghanistan. This coupled with disarmament of nuclear assets and impeding the CPEC are the hallmarks of their plans. During the last two decades, the world powers with the connivance of India are trying hard to destabilise this country. Pakistan has therefore been trapped in a triangle of such dangerous strategies. These include Fourth Generation Warfare and AfPak Doctrines by the USA and Cold Start Strategy by India. Although these strategies/doctrines are defined by them in a different manner, they have their own hidden coercive agendas.

Fourth Generation Warfare (4GW) is an American doctrine that came into being in 1989 by a team of American analysts that included William S. Lind. It is defined as conflicts which involve: terrorism, sophisticated psychological warfare through media, pressurising the state by using economic, political, social and military factors, insurgency and guerilla warfare. In this war a direct attack on the core idea/philosophy or the centre of gravity of the target country is made through clandestine operations for creating adverse law and order situations, false reporting on media, exploitation of religious and sectarian beliefs, terrorism, buying loyalties of politicians and bureaucracy through heavy bribes and creating chaos, confusion and bewilderment in the country. Every nation has a core philosophy or a centre of gravity which is believed in and respected by its populace and if that philosophy is shaken, the general public loses its trust and moves into pandemonium. For example the centre of gravity of India lies in its secular system, in case of USA it rests on its democratic and judicial system. Likewise in case of Pakistan, its centre of gravity lies in its Army, which is kept by the public in high esteem and is a symbol of union of the Federation. This is the reason in Pakistan we witnessed a lot of army bashing and propaganda on the media in the recent years. The presence of Black Water in the country, frequent bomb blasts, increased terrorist activities sponsored by TPP, RAW and NDS is testament to their designs.

AfPak is a recent American term which has been possibly coined by Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special representative in 2008-9. AfPak has entered the lexicon of geopolitics, and has made clear to the world that the primary fronts for the global war on terrorism lie in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It has reinforced the message that the threat to US from Islamic religious policy, and the resulting fear infrastructure and problems in the two countries are intertwined. Michael Quinion writes, “It is an attempt to indicate and imprint in our DNA the fact that there is one theater of war, straddling an ill-defined border, the Durand Line, and that on the western side of that border, NATO and other forces are able to operate. On the eastern side, it’s the sovereign territory of Pakistan. But it is on the eastern side of this ill-defined border that the international terrorist movement is located.” The core agenda behind this concept is to gradually lure in the war of Afghanistan to Pakistan and destabilise it. America’s clandestine support of TPP and creating law and order situation through insurgency (as explained above) in recent years, are glaring examples of this strategy.

Cold Start Doctrine is basically an Indian military strategy against Pakistan, which is preluded by creating an adverse law and order situation through intelligence operations in the country with a view to destabilising Pakistan. Cold start is a shift from the old doctrine where the heavy Indian corps would attack and slice the country into two and subsequently achieve gains in northern and southern directions. In this scenario, it would take about a month’s time to mobilise the Indian Army. Smaller, lighter Indian offensive divisions have been grouped into numerous divisions with a view to biting and holding chunks of Pakistani territory so that Pakistan is not prompted to respond by nuclear attack. The overture to this doctrine is to create a conducive environment for them by intense hostile espionage and subversive activities by RAW to create panic in the country and creating a favorable environment congenial for launching their offensive as mentioned above. The capture of Commander Kalbhoshan Yadev, the Indian RAW agent is a glaring example of such activities.

The question is: how should Pakistan respond to these hostile strategies? With regards to Cold Start Doctrine of India, Pakistan’s tactical nuclear weapons and their delivery system - short range Hataf missile in order to destroy any Indian concentration of Divisions close to the border - is considered to be a befitting response. This has been an excellent strategy and is enough of a deterrent to stop India from any such adventure. AfPak concept has also been appropriately responded by Pakistan by carrying out Operation Zarb-e-Azb, effectively cleaning our border areas with Afghanistan. The combing operation, “Radd ul Fasad” is being successfully executed. Additionally the construction of fence on the western border would also effectively impede infiltration of the terrorists from Afghanistan.

Interestingly, Pakistan’s response against both these hostile strategies, i.e. Cold Start and AfPak as mentioned above, have been created and effectively laid on ground by the Army, with the civilian government, due to its incompetence, vested interests and indifference meekly following suit and claiming the credit. Just as in May 1998, when the Pakistan Army conducted the nuclear blast, the civilian government, which had been deadly against it, claimed the credit. As regards the response of 4GW, which is the most dangerous hostile strategy, Pakistan Army’s endeavors to create a response in the shape of National Action Plan which also involves government, politicians, media and the civil society etc., has unfortunately been resisted by few politicians, few people in Federal/Provincial governments and a segment of media due to their vested interests. This is the reason that operations Radd ul Fasad is stalled in Sindh and Punjab and cannot move forward. The great success achieved by Pakistan Rangers through their surgical operations in Karachi could not be consolidated. The resistance by the provincial governments of Sindh and Punjab for the operations are the great impediments for the National Action Plan. The Apex Committees formed as part of the National Action Plan have been rendered worthless and ineffective. Dr. Asim, Uzair Balouch and other such cases are the glaring examples in this regard.

It’s time we realised that the looming danger in the shape of “dark clouds” as mentioned by the Interior minister is imminent. We also need to realize that it is urgently imperative for the entire nation, including politicians, media persons, bureaucracy, civilians and civil society to join hands together and prepare ourselves for fighting against this danger.

The writer is a retired Lieutenant Colonel.