- Hybrid warfare demands multi-faceted counter-offensives
The COAS, while addressing an annual elite security-related gathering, the National Security Workshop, employed a ‘green’ term to describe the emerging threats which pose clear and present danger to the country. There is a need however to realise that most of the networks who use religious, sectarian, ethnic and other issues to launch the hybrid war have either been created by myopic power centers inside the country or are an indirect outcome of their policies. That they are being used now by the enemies of the country is really worrisome. It is highly alarming that they target vulnerable idealistic youth by preaching divisiveness and hatred.
There is a need therefore to evolve a strategy to neutralise the threat posed by all these extremist elements working under different names. This has become all the more necessary after the havoc played by the TLP for three days all over Punjab and in cities that included Peshawar and Karachi.
It is welcome that the COAS called for a ‘comprehensive national response’ to confront such elements. What is needed is to initiate a multi-faceted, all-encompassing and long term movement to eradicate extremism in its multifarious forms rampant currently in society. Besides the extremist clerics the country now faces threats from extremist lawyers and young doctors also, to name only a few. The government has to play a proactive role in bringing together media persons, educationists, eminent members of the legal community and whatever enlightened clerics are still available to initiate a movement for tolerance and against extremism through text books, newspapers, TV networks and pulpits.
The policy of mainstreaming the extremists needs to be revoked once for all for this provides them an opportunity to spread hatred and xenophobia among the masses. Those who refuse to adhere to the constitution and oppose democracy should not be allowed to use democratic freedoms to undermine the system. The National Action Plan which was evolved through consensus between all major political parties and other important players needs to be enforced in letter and spirit.