Disinformation and deception are not new concepts in warfare, but we have seen a significant change in how information is being manipulated by nation states, especially through social media. Authoritarian governments have shown they are capable of and want to censor information at home. Democratic countries don’t participate in disinformation efforts because of their high level of transparency and commitment to international law. They generally lack the necessary defences against such campaigns for similar reasons. The phrase “hybrid warfare” may be popular right now, but its future use is unclear. But hybrid warfare, in all of its forms, will continue to exist. Political warfare, which is related to hybrid warfare, is the practise of using force to advance national goals without engaging in direct combat. Such warfare is conducted in the “grey zone” of conflict, meaning operations may not clearly cross the threshold of war. That might be due to the ambiguity of international law, ambiguity of actions and attribution, or because the impact of the activities does not justify a response. Two major concerns are focusing on our growing connection and reliance on information technology: cyberattacks and the undermining of our democratic institutions and social cohesiveness. Both pose known risks to our national security. These are “hybrid threats” since they could be used in conjunction with other campaigns that involve criminal, political, and economic actions. Additionally, they are highly adapted to achieving political goals without using traditional confrontation since they contain the ambiguity associated with the grey zone.
Due to its clear advantages for the actor using it, including plausible deniability and utilising the legal grey area. The strategic rivals are best utilising hybrid warfare methods to destabilise one another by exploiting internal fault lines in the political, economic, and societal spheres. Threats from hybrid warfare are viewed as being just as deadly as those from nuclear weapons and advanced missile technology in modern times. It is accurate to claim that hybrid warfare directly threatens states, causing chaos and devastation. Countries have been gradually searching for cutting-edge strategies and tactics against other states due to the evolving nature of warfare and new technologies. However, India has recently stepped up its hybrid warfare effort against Pakistan, particularly in South Asia.
Pakistan has been a direct target of hostile states, and there are a number of reasons why Pakistan has been a cornerstone of hybrid warfare from the start. The tale was created for several purposes, including to draw attention to Pakistan’s role in hostile clandestine operations. Due to its significant influence in the Muslim world, abundant natural resources, advantageous geostrategic location, long-standing animosity with India, tense diplomatic ties with the nearby Muslim state of Afghanistan, the Indian Ocean factor, Pak-China diplomatic goodwill, and status as the United States’ first non-NATO ally.
When India began a number of offensive hybrid methods in the 1970s to weaken Pakistan’s position in East Bengal, Pakistan faced the most difficult challenge of the first Hybrid War. Promoting Mujib’s six points, Indian claims of genocide and refugee blames, training tens of thousands of anti-Pakistan militants, the Mukti Bahni insurgents against Pakistan, and finally the infamous Indo-Soviet friendship treaty, which severely damaged Pakistan’s position and led to Indian military intervention and the separation of East Bengal as an independent state, were all done to hurt Pakistan.
Pakistan has done a fantastic job of deterring India with conventional and nuclear weapons. Pakistan, however, has always been in the most precarious position in hybrid warfare. The opponent is aware that direct military intervention or nuclear coercion could result in disaster for both the attacker and the targeted state. Thus, Pakistan’s enemies have set up a web of covert operations to degrade Pakistan’s position on both the internal and external fronts in order to achieve the maximum military or hybrid objectives. The enemy is attempting to divert its devilish design in a variety of ways. Pakistan is on the cusp of engaging in hybrid warfare as a result of the horrific events of 9/11. Many countries have shifted their propaganda and fall narrative towards Pakistan.
Pakistan has been facing extremely vague and covert asymmetrical confrontations in multiple areas. The list is too long and painful. Pakistan must have to ensure robust cyber capability to safeguard its important strategic assets and command and control system. To deter any cyber attack Pakistan must have to launch offensive capability for a timely begetting response. Many states have acquired the capability of cyber attacks and strategies of hybrid warfare. Pakistan’s adversaries have reasonable prowess in the IT sector, therefore it’s a need of the hour to restructure Pakistan’s security paradigm from top to bottom. Pakistan must be aware and ready for any non-conventional and hybrid assault in the coming years to thwart the mounting security challenges Pakistan faces today.