Discuss the instrument and techniques of Hybrid warfare in the context of Pakistan and give suitable recommendations to overcome hybrid warfare.


Instruments and Hybrid warfare techniques in the context of Pakistan | CSS Current Affairs | CSS Current Affairs Notes | CSS Solved Current Affairs Past Papers

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Hybrid warfare is a mixture of kinetic and none kinetic measures against your rivals to achieve your tactical, military and diplomatic objectives. Likewise, Pakistan is facing multi-dimensional and multi-directional challenges where the dominant threat steams from its Eastern neighbour. Still, the involvement of other state and non-state actors further aggravated the situation. But still, if some pragmatic steps are to be taken by the successive government, civil society, and media, then Pakistan must be away from the menace of hybrid warfare.

The theoretical paradigm of hybrid warfare

  • Global dominance theory
  • Wardens five-ring theory 

Tools of hybrid warfare

  • Colar revolution’s Insurgency or unconventional warfare
  • Economic leverage
  • Information warfare 

The prevailing threat of hybrid warfare to Pakistan 

Non-state Actors 

  • TTP
  • ISIS
  • Sectarian organizations 

State Actors

  • Political subversion: diplomatic
  • Economic: CPEC propaganda by Indian 
  • Military: wedge by armed forces and the public by mythical news
  • Nuclear assets: fake narratives against our atomic asset.
  • Psychological subversion
  • Proxy warfare: establishing front groups and inflicting the institutions of the state

Implications of hybrid warfare for Pakistan 

  • Human loss
  • Economic implications 
  • National image crises 
  • Social implications 

Recommendations to overcome hybrid warfare

  • Work on vulnerability and weaknesses 
  • Awareness at the grassroots level 
  • Exposing anti-Pakistan designs regionally and globally 
  • Economic and financial reforms
  • Utility of think tanks and narrative culture 
  • Foreign solid policy to penalize evil tactics 

Critical Analysis 


Nothing seems to hamper state progresses socially, politically, and economically the way hybrid warfare does. For instance, hybrid warfare is a mixture of kinetic and none kinetic measures against your rivals to achieve tactical, military, and diplomatic objectives. There are numerous hybrid warfare tools, including colour revolutions, Insurgency, economic leverage, and information warfare. Likewise, Pakistan has faced several multi-dimensional and multi-directional challenges, such as state actors, political subversion, psychological subversion, nuclear assets, proxy warfare, and wedge between armed forces and government aggravated the situation in the country. On the other hand, there have been several non-state actors’ challenges, such as TTP, ISIS, and sectarian organizations, which will further turn the country into turmoil. Moreover, there have been various implications due to hybrid warfare, like human loss_econamic implications_national image crises, and social implications; therefore, Pakistan has suffered a lot due to hybrid warfare in recent years. But still, some pragmatic steps to be taken by successive governments, including work on vulnerabilities, awareness at the grass-root level, exposing anti-Pakistan design at both regional and global levels, the utility of think tanks, and last but not least, the solid foreign policy further penalized evil tactics. Therefore, it can be observed that hybrid warfare hampers Pakistan from the internal side and external elements, creating a deadlock in the country. So there must be some practical measures constituting the DDR approach to detect loopholes, deter enemies, and strengthen internal dynamics; as a result, Pakistan must move toward prosperity and stability.

The theoretical paradigm of hybrid warfare

Notably, when discussing the theoretical framework of hybrid warfare, there have been two famous theories, i.e. global dominance and the warden five-ring theory. First, the global dominance theory says there must be an indirect confrontation. For instance, the American strategy against Russia, such as control over the Eurasian region, proxy war in Eastern Europe, and ethnic conflict in cars countries, will threaten Russia, changing their aggressive policy to a defensive one. Hence, America claims dominance in the region. Next to it, the warden’s five-ring theory has been elaborated on the five rings of a country, such as leadership, system infrastructure, population, and military strength. According to theorists, hit the population first with misinformation, and they will go against the military and leadership; as an outcome, the population disturbs the other four rings, ironically. For example, the Vietnam war and the Gulf war in 1991 are notable examples of five ring model, where the U.S. supported north Vietnam against South and Kuwait against Iraq. Thus, it can be anticipated that both theories have influenced their region and hit mass sentiments.

Tools of hybrid warfare 

Significantly, there have been several tools of hybrid warfare, such as colour revolutions, Insurgency, economic leverage, and information warfare, which distorted the masses badly with different tactics. First of all, there came colour revolutions in which the population mass protested against leadership on corruption or any other happening as a result of this; there has been regime change in that country. For instance, an orange revolution in Ukraine, the blue revolution in Kuwait, and the green revolution in Lebanon have been notable examples of colour revolutions where big powers change regimes for their vested interests. After that, Insurgency or conventional warfare has also been a tool of hybrid warfare in which terrorist, separatist movements, and non-state elements. For example, AlQeda, Palestine, and the Afghan Insurgency have been noteworthy examples. Next to it, there is economic leverage the one country by another country. As an illustration, the U.S. economic sanctions against North Korea, Iran, Cuba, and Russia have been a glaring example of economic Embargoes. Last but not least, information warfare is another tool of hybrid warfare, where fake narratives build against the state institutions through different fake accounts; therefore, states disturb by this misinformation. Hence, it can be observed that hybrid warfare’s tools have distorted the state morale and affected the general public through typical ploys.

The prevailing threat of hybrid warfare to Pakistan 

Non-state actors

In Pakistan’s case, several internal and external elements have proved an extensional threat to the security paradigm. In the same way, the non-state actors have remained a significant threat because they cause uncertain damage to the country. As an illustration, they include terrorist and sectarian organizations; similarly, they proved gridlock in the country. First, after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, a faction of Al Qaeda emerged as Tehrik-e- Taliban Pakistan based on the fundamental principle of opposing the United States and all those who support them. For instance, TTP has launched the deadliest terrorist attacks on the soil of Pakistan, including attacks on Mosques, Imambargahs, schools, and markets; consequently, TTP launched hybrid warfare against the state by spreading terror among the general public. Second, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or Islamic states commonly known as Daesh, are different names from the same groups. Likewise, the primary purpose of this organization is to establish Islamic Caliphate worldwide, and all Muslim countries should accept its legitimacy. In Pakistan, the exact extent of ISSI is unknown; however, a secret report submitted by the government of Baluchistan stated that I.S. had indicated more than ten thousand people from tribal areas and Balochistan. Until now,(I.S.)is a low-level threat to Pakistan compared to other countries like Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Yemen. Third, since the inception of Pakistan faced, several sectarian conflicts, and these conflicts have eroded the society periodically. For example, the hybrid conflict came due to the involvement of foreign hands like Saudi Arabia and Iran, who fought proxies in Pakistan by funding different sectarian outfits in Pakistan. Consequently, it can be observed that these non-state actors are considered a deadlock in the country’s progress for many years., and the government needs immediate measures to curb this menace.

State Actors

Undoubtedly, state actors have demonstrated serious concerns for Pakistan on social, political, and economic levels. First, Pakistan is facing several political subversion through people at different levels of understanding. As an illustration, certain NGOs and other agents of violence-hit those ideas by utilizing hybrid techniques to incite people to protest and violence against the state and its institutions. Next to it, CPEC has been considered a regional game. Still, India, on the other hand, has started to employ hybrid tactics to counter CPEC, including kinetic and non-kinetic means. In particular, The arrest of Kulbhushan Yadav in Balochistan and, later on, the confession made are a clear manifestation of the Indian hybrid warfare design against Pakistan. Afterwards, there has been a wedge between the public and armed forces, like fake news, the military is blamed for economic woes, and also facing several challenges from the internal and external end, including attacks on conveys, infrastructure, and schools, because the enemy is employing hybrid tactics against them. Moreover, Pakistan is the only Islamic state with capability; however, a bogus narrative built against them, such as Pakistan, is portrayed as unsafe where nuclear weapons may fall into the hands of terrorist organizations. Pakistan is also propagated primary source of nuclear proliferation around the world.

In the same way, psychological subversion has been considered a nail in the coffin, different tools of hybrid warfare are employed to create a synchronized impact on the population’s mind and create a dilemma. To illustrate, the terrorist attacks_poltical turmoil_Army public school incident_ kidnappings and many other instruments are employed to achieve psychological subversion. Last but not least, proxy warfare by several fronts groups will further aggravate the country’s situation into turmoil. Accordingly, it can be said that state actors have played a role in demoralizing the country’s standards both internally and externally.

Implications of hybrid warfare in Pakistan 

Admittedly, hybrid warfare has enormous implications in Pakistani society, including human loss, economic implications, national image crises, and social implications. The war on terror has exacted a very high human cost for Pakistan in the last fourteen years, including terrorist attacks, political and ethnic violence, sectarian violence, and target killings are notable examples of human suffrage. Furthermore, as a consequence of terrorism, the Pakistani economy suffers a significant impact; simultaneously, the war on terror has given a significant blow to Pakistan in the economic domain. Likewise, with the massive development expected through CPEC and its geostrategic location, Pakistan is expected to become the most prominent victim of hybrid warfare exploitation by the United States and India. In addition, Pakistan has deliberately suffered internationally from the United States, Afghanistan, and India.

On the one hand, the recent move by India to blocklist Pakistan is a big game to create more severe challenges. On the other hand, the national and international media ironically tarnish the country’s image. Finally, perception management techniques employed in the hybrid domain have played a more significant role in creating challenges in the social domain. For example, Pakistan has been subjected to nationalism in the hatred domain where people have feelings of being Balochi_Punjabi_Sindhi_and Pathan but not Pakistanis. In brief, it can be anticipated that these factors deteriorated society from different angles.

Recommendations to overcome hybrid warfare 

Meanwhile, several recommendations exist to overcome the scenario of hybrid warfare by different means:

  1. The government must work on vulnerabilities and weaknesses, so reforms must be introduced to overcome the menace of hybrid warfare as early as possible. After that, there must be consciousness at the grassroots level of governmental, military, and educational institutions as well as different factions of society about the looming threat of hybrid warfare; thus, it can be done through different seminars and workshops to eradicate the hazard of hybrid warfare.
  2. There must be a proper campaign to expose anti-Pakistan design regionally and globally, using think tanks, research institutes, and military cooperation, and jeopardizing these anti-state designs as soon as possible.
  3. There is a dire need to introduce economic reforms to elevate the nation’s economy; therefore, supporting defences mechanism in arm against hybrid threats and distribution of shares to provinces according to their requirements stabilize the economy and the country.

Likewise, there will be the utility of think tanks to neutralize hybrid tactics as soon as possible; as an illustration, famous think tanks are IPRI, PIPS, PILDAT, and ISIS.

In the same way, the information shared by these think tanks be authentic rather than fake propaganda narratives against the state. Last but not least, a robust foreign policy must stabilize evil tactics because foreign policy provides a stable mechanism between different countries vibrantly. Thus, it can be perceived that these measures will be considered a bright spark if institutions, media, and the public participate equally in Pakistan’s bright future.

Critical Analysis 

Undoubtedly, the scenario of hybrid warfare has hampered state progress socially, politically, and economically. For instance, there have been several internal and external threats to Pakistan’s security; therefore, society has to face overwhelming challenges. Meanwhile, the tactics used for hybrid warfare have not only disturbed the masses but also the image of the country also melted down. Hence, Pakistan is good in the challenging power domain; as an illustration, our armed forces broke the conventional 50 years myth, including Airforce knockout, Submarine detection, and missile removal. Likewise, Pakistan has faced several challenges in the soft power domain because they cannot justify which news is our and which is not. But still, if some practical measures are taken by civil society, media, and government, such as exposing anti-state design, building a valid narrative, clarity of goals and objectives, and control of fake news. Accordingly, Pakistan will be making pragmatic steps to curb the menace of hybrid warfare because it destroys a country like a beast of burden.


To conclude that it can say that Pakistan has several internal and external challenges of hybrid warfare. Similarly, the societal fault lines are exploited by our internal and external adversaries to create problems for Pakistan on multiple fronts. In addition, the state and none state actors have exposed the threat of hybrid warfare to Pakistan for many years, and they build a narrative of fake news, hatred, and psychological subversion among the public. As a result, social, political, and economic implications have prevailed in the county. However, Pakistan needs to adopt immediate measures to understand the dynamic of hybrid warfare as Pakistan is the only country facing a full spectrum of hybrid warfare. To sum up, it can say that there must be a dire need to tackle the tactics of hybrid warfare for Pakistan; for this purpose, Pakistan will work on its loopholes to achieve the objective of sustainable peace.

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