Modern technology has changed the nature of warfare from a pointy stone to unmanned vehicle (UV), from static line and columns position to power of speed and maneuverability of artillery and from destruction of infrastructure to annihilation of minds. Though modern warfare is all about time and speed where highly sophisticated tanks, mechanized infantry and close air support is mark of superiority over enemy, and history witnessed powerful strike helped in breaking liner of defenses and capture the rear. The emphasis on maneuvering and speed to bypass enemy engagement remains a common strategy throughout the world. Warfare paradigm is shifting from clever linear fighting to striking at soft deeper targets. However, at the beginning of 21st century world experienced another shift in warfare, asymmetric warfare waged by non state actors and, employing terrorism as tool to achieve their objectives.

Fifth generation warfare (5GW) is quite interesting development in this swiftly change in paradigm shift of war affairs, where non state actors fight against nation state out of sheer frustration with vague objectives. Prophets and giants of war & security quoted in their writings and statements that 5GW is blend of conventional to unconventional, regular to irregular and information to cyber warfare, where poverty, economic deprivation and political injustice equalize the breeding ground for ideological anchors to effect state strength. While in presences of this hyped frustration by the negligence or poor state craft and performance, visible faces of state strength come under violent hit. In this particular time, influenced and non-influenced (mainly in skin of foreign elements) acts like, catalyst of violence and creates serious challenges to integrity of state.

State integrity is a sense of togetherness and cohesion towards one’s own country irrespective to their individual differences scratches from religion to region and race to many other. Sir Scruton explained in 1982, “Integration means different groups within a jurisdiction may have the same rights in law that nevertheless enjoy unequal privileges and desperate social, educational and recreational institutions, integration is the process, where by all such institutions are made available to all members of the state regardless of creed, race and origin with the intention of forming a unified civil society within the jurisdiction of a unified state”.

According to scholars, it’s a complex process that unites, culturally and socially, discrete groups into territorial unit. National integrity isn’t only about national spirit or patriotism but it’s a feeling that brings people to come closer from all areas, dialects and beliefs for common endeavor, where, individuals tend to work together for broader perspective to enhance prosperity of nation and its people. Scholars also called it cementing force to bind people peacefully.  

A sense of satisfaction, to all regional and sub regional groups, is required for national integration where all segments of society should be given an opportunity to participate in national system, so to feel them that they are part of main stream and have share in policy making process to satisfy their needs. Positive participation of groups can become major source to increase the process of national integration, while, discriminatory steps, strike against and acts like insult to injury especially if overall situation of state integrity is at stake due to multiple other reasons.   

5GW is all about ideas, how to prepare and wage tomorrow’s war. Peter Layton (2017) classified that all approaches of modern warfare, the network, combat cloud, multi domain battles (all operational domains including air, sea, land, space and cyber) and fusion of warfare functioned together as an integrated, interdependent system of systems’ and is greater than the sum of its parts. This integrated launch of systematic war against integrity of state is more result oriented in terms of total destruction without crossing territories or getting into kinetic deployment of forces. Experts reveals that late 80’s and 90’s of 20th century many states planted this information warfare to penetrate deep into roots their rival states.   

Since its inception, Pakistan has undergone number of challenges in shape of colonial legacy, incompetent leadership, and ethnocentric division to sectarian rifts threatening integration. Unfortunately, inappropriate policies and failed planning to address acute grievances resulted disintegration and fall of eastern part and later on continuous political and economic instability in Pakistan effecting all walks of life. After 9/11, Pakistan in particular and many regional states in general become practicing ground of modern warfare for many world powers, where they all come to play out of their sheer interests by all tools of 4th and 5th generation warfare, from false allegations of terrorism to excuse of political imbalance or future “possible threat” to so called powers. 

Experts cleared this fact that 5GW cannot fought without having penetrated the internal affairs of any state. Pakistan, experienced violent wave of bloodshed and worse law and order situation on name of its policy of war against terror. Beside this, other targeted activities on name of ethno-sectarian centric also effected overall fabric of society and state. Pathetic administrative issues, struggling economic conditions, sky high inflation, uncontrollable poverty, political uncertainty and chaotic confusion add misery in society and gave an opportunity to all catalyst of violence to hold their positions on the name of 5GW.

Out of this suffocated sanario, the most vulnerable and easy to fall pray of this hybrid campaign is youth. As per UN population fund report, Pakistan is 5th largest “young country” in the world with 63% of its 200 million population is youth falling between 18 to 33 years of age. This much majority of population may have potential to create stress over society and state, if mismanaged. Situation may take a serious turn if look into unemployment rate of 2017-18 hitting 7.68 to the age group of 18-29, according to reports it may touch 8.6 by the end of 2020 if not tackled wisely. As per authorities, this age group is more vulnerable towards falling pray of tools of hybrid campaign. 

In his recent statement COAS, Qamar Javaid Bajwa, stated that the subversive phase of the unannounced war against Pakistan has been initiated by the country’s enemies even as efforts are made to tackle the terrorism and sabotage phase. He furthermore added that the youth of the nation is being targeted by a hybrid campaign – at times by protagonists who are “our own people”. Many experts agreed that in this war of narratives, by “ad hoc warriors” of John Robb, are misleading youth, blinded by ethnic or religious hate, misguided ambitions and off tracking them by their socio-national roots and norms. 

During this tricky journey of transformation of whole sanario, youth of Pakistan is directly under influence of storm of narratives and different ideologies, under powerful invasion of media and its vertical penetration into crafting mass opinion. Media with its dynamic role take twist when social media become widely popular and easily approachable. Situation becomes more aggravated when one segment tries to impose their pattern of thinking and values on ignorant one, this specifically hit those unripe minds, having limited or no subjective opinion at all.

Unfortunately, Pakistan has no clear policy towards those destabilizing elements spreading hate and exploiting fault lines of Pakistan. Dr.  Zaman, professor, Quaid-e-Azam University, fears that the state’s failure to harness the youth bulge in the next few years will ultimately lead to economic stagnation, increasing recruits for militancy, social unrest and political conflicts.

Foreign mission of spreading misinformation as tool of 5GW not only effecting perception management but also threatening integrity of state by escalating atmosphere of chaos and anarchy and giving urge to people to stand against state in different cases. However, Studies revealed state employed different strategies to cope with integrity related issues and cohesion based on their relative approaches and ground realities.  

Pakistan youth is like a ticking time bomb if they mismanaged and left without protective measures by state and has potential to create a check over integrity. First, state should have to address grievances of people specially related to economy and curtail evils like unemployment and poverty. According to Dr. Farukh Saleem, “Self-survival techniques should be major focus of federal decision makers for economy booster”.  

State should have to show zero tolerance for extremism and exploitation of people, either on name of ethnicity, region or religion. Govt should have to sit with major state stake holders to find peaceful means to harness challenges on name of national security. If west hold its control over media then why not State Pakistan regulate a policy with accordance of its national interests? Even westernized concept of freedom of speech has barriers and checks in USA and in, Liberalist torch barrier, Europe then surly a balanced policy of filters has to be introduce to counter wave of hybrid mission for the sake of integrated Pakistan. Beside media, education and mosque reforms should be re-define. 

In the complex setup of modern sovereign state system, state survival lies in hands of its citizens. Inhabitant of any state especially youth is considered as potential soft target and it’s obvious that enemy hit this to achieve goals by manipulating time and space. Pakistan can learn lessons from historical events, when different rulers particularly worked on “human resources” to counter propaganda warfare and asked its masses to give their loyalty in return. In the case of Pakistan with diversity in nature of its desolations, needs to renew “Social Contract” to strengthen state individual relation, in terms of rights and duties. 

In this overall situation, Pakistani youth has no need to learn patriotism but to be lectured about nationalism and integrity, that how to tolerate and respect others without falling pray of war of hate, propaganda and narratives. As per wording of prof. Jaspal, “Pakistan needs to revamp its national security strategy in order to improve and publicize its socio-religious narrative, which in turn will combat the radicalized organizations.” 

Clouds of this blind war dissipate only when you follow slogan, “united we stand, divided we fall.” If individuals serve their own interests than they likely to be doomed and defeated.  It’s matter of fact that those nations and states integrity are greatly respected and honored by other people, who valued and sacrificed over national interest. Pakistan needs defending, developing, cohesive and rising youth for a stable tomorrow.