Years of “Ideological Subversion”, launched by former the soviet secret service KGB to assist its strategic partner India, played an important part in the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971.

The former Communist regime of soviet union to protect its interests in the South Asian region through its strategic ally India launched a systematic process to break a nation from within applying the tool of ideological subversion in the early 60s.

Ideological subversion is a psychological warfare tool to change what people believe, or change the perception of reality. As an offensive tactic by hostile intelligence services, large quantities of misinformation and deception are used as weapons against competing nations or political systems.

The purpose of such propaganda driven methodology is to attack people at the psychological level in a bid to destabilize and undermine the entire ideological structure of a nation. The ultimate goal is complete collapse of the target society.

Yuri Bezmenov, an ex-press officer of Novosti, part of the former soviet secret service KGB’s propaganda section in lectures to students of international relations in the universities of the west in 70s revealed the role of KGB in the fall of Dhaka with the effective and successful use of ideological subversion.

Bezmenov who defected to Canada in 1970 made the revelations about KGB’s major role in the fall of Dhaka in the light of his experiences and information he had being the key propagandist of the Soviet Union’s dreaded secret service while posted in India till he crossed over to the west.

In one of the lectures, Yuri Bezmenov narrating the story of KGB’s role to assist separatist Bengali leaders said, “The KGB had launched an ideological subversion operation which was part of active measures of former soviet union propaganda and disinformation programme in the former East Pakistan year ago before its dismemberment.”

“The KGB targeted sections in East Pakistan were civil rights activists, intellectuals, academia, mass circulation newspapers, politicians, rich film-makers and leftist leaning military leaders. The agency had successfully recruited Communist and Leninist sympathizers in all the targeted sections to use them on a mass scale to advance ideological subversion operations,” said Bezmenov in a lecture to students of a western university studying the subject of international relations focusing states’ tactics to practice shadow strategies of diplomacy.

 “We, in assistance to our strategic partner India to protect our interests in the region, launched a slow but effective tactic under the name of ideological subversion to break the target nation from within and we succeeded,” he said.

The four-step ideological subversion tool of the KGB focusing the key measure “Demoralization” had been launched in East Pakistan either through direct agents of the soviet secret service or through the Indian RAW network to pursue the second and third steps of “Destabilization” and “Insurgency” to change the regime and system of the state. The final phase was “Normalization”, which means withdrawing active measures, as they were no more needed after a majority Communist leaning set up in the target state.

Making a shocking disclosure about the fate of their agents, calling them “Useful Idiots” he told the audience that most of them listed for execution after the success of revolution. The first team never led KGB plans ahead. Sheikh Mujeeb was assassinated by his Marxist army generals who were the new Marxists.

In more exposures in that lecture, Bezmenov said, “Awami League leaders were educated in high party schools in Moscow as part of the ideological subversion plan. The MuktiBahani guerillas were trained at KGB training facilities in Kremlin and Tashkent to achieve the final target of the ideological subversion, armed rebellion in East Pakistan.”

“The small arms like Kalashnikov assault rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers and ammunition were sent to Dhaka University students in diplomatic boxes from former soviet consulate in Calcutta (India). The weapon boxes were labeled with printed material for the university,” Bezmenov told the students.

Though it is true that internal factors which could be many, do play a part allowing penetration of ideological subversion on a target nation but the question remains, does each individual has the complete understanding of everything happening around him or her.

The hostile countries change with changing balances in the world political order but the tactics remain almost the same. What matters is, who use them effectively or most effectively on their target nations.

In today’s Pakistan the name of the game is the same, only players have changed in the due course of history because of the changes in the world political order. Pakistan intelligence apparatus is tackling the ideological subversion operations across the country whether it is launched under the garb of liberalism, socialism or extremism.

In Balochistan, the security apparatus is countering the menace while neutralizing the separatist banned outfits who at sometime educated and trained in high party schools of former soviet union and KGB facilities. In tribal areas, they are countering the same weapon being used in the name of religion to achieve political goals. The case is same in Sindh and Punjab.

The media is playing its part to shield the state from ideological subversion to some extent. It has to play more proactive role. The academia, politicians and ulema should also play their important part.

n The writer is a member of staff.