William S Lind, a US analyst coined the term Fourth-generation warfare (4GW) in 1989. The traditional concept of war has undergone a significant transformation since the introduction of this phenomenon. Diluting the dividing line between the civilian and soldier, it has somehow dissolved the war in peace. The previous Generation Wars represents typical state-versus-state conflicts involving the military strength of the belligerents. They were fought by the uniformed soldiers in the defined battlefields under a hierarchy of command.

The 4G war is an asymmetrical war that represents certain engagements between a state and some non-state entities commonly termed as violent non state actors (VNSA). It is a highly complex phenomenon having undefined battlefields and indefinite battlefronts. Besides other disruptive guerrilla tactics, these violent groups use terrorism as their primary instrument. A highly-sophisticated psychological war, aiming at spreading chaos and confusions through organized and excessive media manipulation and propaganda, is also its essential feature.

At present, Pakistan is also experiencing this diabolic complex phenomenon. On account of state’s rapidly-fading writ, the crumbling structure of the state has created a vacuum that has readily been filled by various violent non state actors like (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan) TTP and its various splinters groups, Al-Qaeda, TSNM and LeJ etc. Instead of indulging in controversies regarding their nomenclature and genesis, we should focus on their morphology and the intended agenda.

At present, there exist two significant narratives explaining the nature of the whole phenomenon of terrorism in Pakistan. The first one is a ‘Just-world hypotheses’ while the other relies on oft-stated conspiracies theories. The so-called Just-world hypothesis is simply a blame-the-victim approach that is based on as-you-sow-so-shall-you-reap principle. It attributes all the present violent and volatile state of affairs in the country to Pakistan’s failures as a state and its fading writ to overcome the extremism and other sectarian and ethnic cleavages. Pakistan is, now, reaping the harvest of the ‘wild oats’ it has constantly been sowing in the past.

There are a lot of contradictions and inconsistencies in this so-called just-world hypothesis. After 9/11 incident, the UN authorized the ISAF to invade Afghanistan to dismantle the network of Al-Qaida. Twenty eight different countries of the world contributed their troops for the war on terror in Afghanistan. Pakistan was rather a reluctant ally of the US which only facilitated the Nato supplies thorough its territory as did other Central Asian Republics and the Russia. It is quite inexplicable why is only a poor ‘accomplice’ like Pakistan being punished for this ‘crime’ by these terrorists while ignoring the ‘principal accused’ and its all local collaborators present in Afghanistan?

The recognized rules of engagement in Islam strictly prohibit attacking and killing non-combatants. Ironically, the primary targets of these ‘Jihadists’, generally, have been innocent civilians. The recent attack on innocent school children in Peshawar has significantly exposed the face of these beasts in human clothing. Their beliefs and acts have nothing to do with the teachings of Islam. It shows how sincere and committed they are to impose Islamic Sharia in Pakistan.

One may also absolutely fail to understand why has this so-called ‘Islamic Castle’ been declared and treated as a ‘citadel of infidelity’ by those who called themselves Islamic Jihadists? Why are these ‘Mujahedeen’ are trying to destroy the only Muslim nuclear and military power in the world? Ironically, despite actively participating in the post-takeover reconstruction of Afghanistan, India not only saved itself from the wrath of this reactive wave of terrorism but has also success fully managed to shift the very epicenter of the whole insurgency from its northern Himalayan region to western part of Pakistan. Consequently, the same territory that was relied by Pakistan to be used as ‘strategic depth’ is now being used for ‘strategic encirclement’ against it.

On the other hand, the conspiracy theorists believe that there is an ‘Anti-Pakistan Syndicate’ that is planning and executing all the acts of terrorism in Pakistan. The newly-formed ‘Tetra Entente’ comprising the conventional unholy ‘Triad’ of three Intelligence agencies like the Raw, the Mossad and the CIA with another addition of the NDS of Afghanistan is all important. Aiming at undermining the conventional military strength and nuclear capacity of Pakistan, the ‘Greater Middle East’ initiatives of the US and the ‘Greater and Safer Israel’ policy have converged with India’s regional security doctrine. As reflected by the simultaneous ‘do more policy’ towards Pakistan and ‘drone policy’ towards extremists, the game of run-with-the-hare-and-hunt-with-the-hound is being played in Pakistan in the name of the War on Terror. According to these conspiracy theories, all the violent non state actors operating in the country are nothing but paid agents or hit-men of these diabolic forces. Although this approach can be criticised, it holds certain valid points. It is a fact that the war on terror has facilitated all the anti-Pakistan ‘birds of a feather’ to flock together in Afghanistan. It is also a fact that the extremism has mushroomed in Pakistan since the US invasion in Afghanistan. The increased and excessive interest of India in the affairs of Afghanistan and its rising influence can also be observed. What immediate or direct interest does India have in Afghanistan except to harm Pakistan? In fact, these conspiracy theories are further reinforced when the people at the helm in Pakistan frequently point fingers towards ‘foreign hands’. Recently, former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf has emphatically and openly named and blamed India for the supporting terrorist attacks in Pakistan.

So far, India has fought four 2G wars against Pakistan. Somehow combining the tactics of 3G War and the strategy of Brinkmanship, it devised the Cold Start Doctrine to initiate a limited war against Pakistan following the 2001 Parliament attack. Owing to its inherent weakness in respect of rapid mobilization of troops that was a pre-requisite for such surprise attack, it couldn’t enforce this doctrine. At present, there exists a balance of power between the two countries in respect of conventional military as well as the nuclear strength. Now, a proxy 4G war is perhaps the only option that is available to India.

By 4G Plus war I mean a value-added 4G war which is complex by nature and proxy by character. The so-called Anti-Pakistan Syndicate has imposed this war on Pakistan through various violent non-state actors in the form of these pseudo-jihadists and pseudo-nationalists. Analyzing together the chronology of terrorism in Pakistan, the nature of this violent phenomenon and the regional strategic perspective, making a conclusion about it would no longer be a confusing riddle. Surely, either we are too naive to see the writing on the wall or have buried our head in the sand.

The writer is a lawyer. He can be contacted at mohsinraza.malik@ymail.com.Follow him on Twitter