Defence Day: Pakistan Faces ‘Different War
By Sajjad Shaukat
The 6th of September holds a significant place in the history of our nation, when Pakistan’s courageous armed forces and the entire nation stood united in 1965 for the defence of the homeland in thwarting the nefarious designs of the enemy which had threatened the territorial integrity of our beloved country through an all-out war.
Pakistan Army not only forced Indian troops to retreat from Lahore sector, but also crossed the Line of Control, occupying various parts of Indian-held Kashmir-the root cause of the war.
This time, the Defense Day has come at a time when Pakistan and its security forces have been facing a different war, while enemy is also different, which employs subversive activities of various kinds.
Unlike the past wars, being fought between two sovereign state actors through the traditional armies with tanks and machine guns, the arena of war has changed. In the ongoing era, non-state actors have made it difficult for the military to serve alone as the automatic dominant sphere in every war, covering all the land, sea and space domains. Now, lethal weapons such as bombasts, suicide attacks, target killings, forced abductions, ethnic and sectarian violence and similar other tactics used by the terrorists, can be more harmful in damaging the interest of a rival country. As part of the new warfare, these tactics are employed by the foreign enemy inside a rival country, and the phenomenon can rightly be called the ‘different war.’
In these terms, our security forces are facing boldly an invisible enemy—the militants who mostly fight anonymously. Even the US-led powerful states have failed for the last eleven years in fighting these insurgents who act upon the strategy of ambush attacks and suicide bombers as found in case of Afghanistan. Instead, within a very short span of four months, Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence agencies have successfully achieved a landmark victory by dismantling the command and control structure of the Taliban in Swat, Dir and Buner, forcing them either to flee or surrender. Our forces are still coping with pocket resistance in some tribal areas and sudden attacks of the militants particularly in Bajaur Agency and South Waziristan boldly.
In his book, “Fighting Power: German and U.S. Army Performance, 1939-1945”, Creveld identifies the elements of moral force, whom he calls “fighting power, the willingness to fight and the readiness, if necessary, to die.” The greater these elements, the less vulnerable an armed force will be to demoralisation. So, Moral force is critical in determining the combat power of any belligerent.
There is no doubt that such elements like will to fight and moral force have been more found in Pakistan’s forces which had defeated India in 1965. It is owing to this passion that while waging this new style war with the non-state actors, several personnel of our security forces, especially those of Pak Army have sacrificed their lives for the integration of the country, and compelled the militants to escape or run from the war-zones.
Notably, after fierce gun-battle, brave personnel of Pakistan Air Force and Pak Army’s Special Service Group (SSG) of Commandos foiled the assault on Kamra Base on August 16, this year by killing all the terrorists who were disguised in security forces’ uniform, and were equipped with latest guns and rocket launchers.
In fact, the US, India and Israel are in collusion to weaken Pakistan because it is the only nuclear country in the Islamic World. Based in Afghanistan, these countries’ secret agencies CIA, RAW and Mossad have been supporting subversive attacks in various cities of Pakistan through their affiliated militant groups in order to fulfill secret strategic designs against Pakistan. While backing similar acts of sabotage in the province of Balochistan, these agencies have also been assisting Baloch separatist elements. While maintaining law and order in Balochistan, many soldiers of the Frontier Corps have lost their lives.
Particularly, RAW has hired the services of many Indian Muslims. Posing themselves as militants, they have joined the ranks and files of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other extremist outfits.
Besides, these foreign hostile elements have also been sending heavily-armed militants from Afghanistan’s side, which intermittently target the security check posts of Pakistan’s forces and other infrastructure of the areas, located near Afghan border. These insurgents have martyred more than 100 soldiers of Pak Army which forced them to retreat by killing several militants in the past one and half year. Recently, on two different occasions, these miscreants kidnapped more than 20 personnel of Pak Army and released videos, showing their severed heads. Despite it, our Army did not yield to these ruthless tactics, but have continued to fight with the insurgents with valour.
Pakistan’s Interior Minister Rehman Malik and top civil and military officials have repeatedly disclosed that training camps are presence in Afghanistan, and supply of arms and ammunition to the Baloch separatists and Pakistani Taliban keeps on going by the external elements as part of a conspiracy against Pakistan.
While, ISI thwarted a number of subversive acts of the insurgents by providing timely information to the government and through pre-arrests of the renowned militant commanders including capture of foreign agents.
Different war also includes a deliberate propaganda campaign of the US, India and Israel which are distorting the image of Pakistan. In this respect, a blame game against country’s army and intelligence agency, ISI keeps on going for extrajudicial killings. These hostile elements also misperceive that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not safe. However, all these anti-Pakistan developments are interrelated as US, India and Israel intend to create unrest in Pakistan. It is regrettable that our political leaders become unintentional victim—benefiting the external plotters who want to create a division between the political leaders and the armed forces. On the other hand, our media, particularly most of the TV channels conduct controversial debate between rival politicians and commentators, contesting internal politics. By ignoring the sacrifices of Pakistan’s security forces against terrorism, they malign Pak Army and ISI.
In this context, while stressing upon national unity, Gen. Kayani especially stated on June 9, 2011, “Any effort to create division among important institutions of the country is not in national interest…the people of Pakistan whose support the army has always considered vital for its operations against terrorists.”
Today our nation stands at the crossroads of its destiny, facing multiple challenges to the security of the country. So, it is not army’s war only; it is nation’s war which demands cooperation of every citizen and politician.
On this occasion, imbibing the 1965 spirit of unity, the Defence Day serves as a motivating force for the civil and military personnel including the public to cope with the new dangers of this different war.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power