Deep State uses Psy-war Techniques against Pakistani people, speaks of hybrid war

Pakistan’s security establishment’s paranoia about India have led it to periodically speak about how Pakistan’s various “enemies” indulge in psy-ops through “hybrid warfare.” At regular intervals opinion pieces will be published that on the face of it look normal enough and yet their motive is insidious.

In a recent piece titled ‘Hybrid Warfare in Pakistan — I,’ published in The Daily Times Pakistan the author spends the entire article laying out what is hybrid warfare and how countries like US, and China use it and then ends with this paragraph that explains the real motives for writing the article: “In Pakistan, low-level insurgency in Balochistan is particularly exacerbated by CPEC, which is not digestible for India, and for that it has launched a hybrid war against Pakistan. Similarly, Karachi has been a victim of hybrid war by India and some other forces that helped perpetuate the disability by providing training to proxies and giving safe havens to political mentors of proxies.”

Referring to the long lasting, violent and repressive movement in Balochistan as “low level” and aligning it with CPEC and India and referring to the Muhajir struggle in Karachi as “hybrid” warfare is an easy way to blame India for all of our problems instead of acknowledging that Pakistan needs to do more for its own citizens and grant them rights as per the Constitution. 

Pakistan’s Generals’ conquer Lord’s Cricket Ground—but with whose money?

Pakistan’s army chief, General Qamar Bajwa, is on an official visit to the United Kingdom, ostensibly to discuss military matters. He and his entourage found time to watch Pakistan’s cricket team play their match against South Africa at Lord’s cricket ground on Sunday.

When people wondered how they could afford the tickets the Pakistan army’s chief propagandist, the offensively outspoken DG ISPR Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, tweeted to suggest that not only could he have afforded his own tickets but would also be happy to take any critics to a future cricket match.

As is often the case the general also described Pakistan’s win against South Africa as a victory – strange from the spokesperson of an army that has yet to win anything on the battlefield.

Now a video has surfaced, courtesy a fawning army fan, that shows COAS General Qamar Bajwa and his entourage entering their special box accompanied by British Pakistani businessman and PTI funder Aneel Musarrat. Mr Musarrat is seen with a list of the guests, as well as seems to have their tickets in his hand which he distributes to the entourage.

This raises the question is it appropriate for Pakistan’s senior military officials to entertain themselves to a cricket match while on an official visit and that too at the expense of a businessman of dubious repute? Considering that the Pakistani military holds every Pakistani civilian to very high moral standards this question is definitely one that needs to be answered.

ISI Gets new DG, who is known as Political Manipulator

On June 13 Pakistan replaced the current Director General of Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISID), Lt Gen Asim Munir, who had only spent 8 months on the job, with Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

Hameed is a hardliner general who has spent time in the ISI earlier. As Reuters notes, “Hameed was seen to be hugely influential within ISI during his previous stint at the agency, according to analysts. He was one of the figures who brokered the Faizabad agreement in late 2017, when protesters blocked off roads into capital Islamabad, in an incident that further stoked civilian-military tensions. “He is very hardline,” said Ayesha Siddiqa, an analyst who has also written a book about the military’s business empire, and has been a longstanding critic. “It’s a very hawkish decision. It means the military is not backing down, and it’s going to use more force.”

According to investigative journalist Taha Siddiqui “It’s quite rare to see such high-profile restructuring within the top posts of the military, given that the last spymaster Lt Gen Asim Muneer only spent eight months in the office of the DG, ISI, and has now been transferred to lead a corps in the Punjab province.”

Siddiqui notes that “it is believed that the current Army Chief, General Qamar Bajwa, who has only four months left in office, is consolidating his power and bringing his favourites to the top in a bid to secure an extension. However, at this stage this is mere speculation, and the Pakistan Army in the past has had to face strong criticism whenever its chiefs have sought extensions in their tenure which normally lasts for three years. The last time an army chief got an extension was in 2010, when the then head of the Pakistani military, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, got a three year extension and faced immense criticism over it.”

As Siddiqui points out Faiz Hameed “is from the Baloch Regiment, and in recent times he has also been the in-charge, for the internal security wing at the ISI. Given the tight-lipped nature of the military, we may never get to know the official reason as to why the spy chief was changed, but General Faiz’s credentials in the recent past do give an idea about what is to come under his tenure as the chief of the spy agency, the ISI, known for its controversial practices within Pakistan and in the region.”

The new DG ISI’s name “first appeared during the 2017 sit-in staged by a pro-blasphemy law political extremist group called the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), who had blocked a major entrance into Islamabad city for weeks, demanding the then government of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to punish those who had proposed changes in the oath the parliamentarians are supposed to recite when elected. The change in some of the words were deemed blasphemous by the TLP.”

Hameed’s name “resurfaced again in July 2018 when former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called General Faiz the main man behind the political wheeling and dealing that saw Sharif’s party losing the 2018 general elections. Sharif alleged that he was the man forcing the former’s party members to switch loyalties.”

Finally, Hameed’s “appointment comes at a crucial time for a few other reasons apart from that of Bajwa’s extension. Pakistan is currently facing immense internal pressures from multiple fronts, with the main one being a grass-roots rights movement called the Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM) that has challenged the military narrative about so-called ‘War on Terror’, and is exposing the military’s abusive human rights practices in their region next to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The military has unsuccessfully tried to crush this movement, but it has only gotten bigger. Secondly, the country’s combined political opposition in the Parliament has been threatening for country-wide protests due to the economic mismanagement of the Khan-led PTI government that has pushed Pakistan towards bankruptcy and a downward spiral of most economic indicators. In such a scenario, it appears that General Hameed has been brought in to ensure that any political and intellectual opposition in the country is effectively crushed, and Pakistan’s slide toward absolute authoritarianism continues unhindered.”

Were Pakistan-based jihadis behind Sri Lankan terror attacks?

Over 300 people have been killed and over 500 injured in one of the worst terror attacks in recent history that took place on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. These terror attacks came after almost a decade of peace that returned to this island nation that had suffered over three decades of civil war and violence.

While a local jihadi organization – The National Thowheed Jamaat is suspected most analysts suspect links with external jihadi organizations, either ISIS or Al Qaeda. According to senior Sri Lankan officials “We do not believe these attacks were carried out by a group of people who were confined to this country. There was an international network without which these attacks could not have succeeded.”

There are many analysts who also suspect a link with Pakistan-based jihadi groups. Maldives, the island nation right next to Sri Lanka, has over the decades become deeply influenced by Saudi Wahhabi organizations and Pakistani jihadi groups especially Lashkar e Taiba.

The Pakistani security establishment has a long history of using Sri Lanka as a base for destabilizing India. In 2014 India alleged that a Pakistani official working at the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo “was playing a key role in planning terror strikes at the behest of ISI on the US and Israeli consulates in the southern part of India.  According to a news report “NIA had last month taken over the case which was earlier registered by Tamil Nadu Police in which a Sri Lanka national, Sakir Hussain, was arrested following a tip-off from the Intelligence Bureau (IB). Hussain was accused of having entered India with a mission to carry out reconnaissance of the US Consulate in Chennai and the Israeli Consulate in Bangalore.  The information under MLAT, which has been cleared for sending to Colombo through diplomatic channels, names Amir Zubair Consular (Visa) in the Pakistani Mission in Sri Lanka as the main conspirator who was involved in a conspiracy with some Lankan nationals for carrying out terror attacks on the two consulates, the sources said.”

The South Asian Against Terrorism and for Human Rights (SAATH) that comprises pro-democracy intellectuals and activists from Pakistan, “condemned the terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka and called for a region-wide effort to eliminate all terrorist groups.” The SAATH forum expressed “our deepest concern over the increasing violence in the region, which is exacerbated by the behaviour of some states in the region.” Further, they stated “We stand with Sri Lankan people in this hour of extreme human tragedy and urge all the regional governments to stick together and develop an effective framework to purge South Asian region of the scourge of terrorism and proxy war among the states.”

Restraint urged for India and Pakistan

We at New Pakistan urge the governments of India and Pakistan to de-escalate and exercise restraint. The current environment in the subcontinent is alarming.

We echo the statement issued by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) “urged restraint on both sides. The ongoing verbal duel between representatives of the Indian and Pakistani governments must cease and give way to sensible, mature diplomacy. There is nothing to be gained from military action for either country. ‘Both India and Pakistan have a long way to go towards improving their human rights records. Regional peace is a prerequisite for doing so. HRCP supports civil society activists on both sides of the border who are calling for better sense to prevail, and cautions against provocative statements made ostensibly in the “national” interest. Neither state has the right to play so lightly with the lives of its people.’”