KARACHI : Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bawja cautioned on Saturday that the subversive phase of the unannounced war against Pakistan has been initiated by the country’s enemies even as efforts are made to tackle the terrorism and sabotage phase.
Reiterating the armed forces’ resolve to maintain peace in the country, the army chief regretted that the youth of the nation is being targetted by a hybrid campaign – at times by protagonists who are “our own people”.
“Mostly misguided by ambitions, blinded by hate, ethnicity or religion or simply overawed by social media onslaught, some of our own boys and girls readily fall victim to such dangerous or hostile narratives,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) quoted General Qamar as saying at the passing out parade of the 110th Midshipmen and 19th Short Service Course held at Naval Academy in Karachi.
Referring to hybrid warfare, the army chief said information and modern technology has changed the nature of warfare now being waged and has tilted the balance in favour of those nations that have embraced the change readily.
“But frankly speaking, even that will not be sufficient as the ever-increasing threat of hybrid war, to which we are subjected to, will need a totally new approach and change of traditional mindset.”
Advising future military leaders to prepare themselves for the threats they will face, Gen Qamar added that they should be able to gauge the enemy’s latest moves and be ready to respond even when a ‘surgical strike’ exists only in the enemy’s imagination or when threats appear in cyberspace and not the traditional battlefield or threaten the “country’s ideological frontiers”.
“The response to such onslaughts or threats cannot always be kinetic in nature,” said the army chief, adding that a superior narrative needs to be propagated to deal with attacks in the cognitive domain.
On the occasion, the army chief also reiterated that Pakistan is trying hard to achieve lasting peace in Afghanistan and lauded the government’s efforts of achieving peace between Pakistan and India.
Addressing the new officers, the army chief said “your behaviour must be exemplary at all times” as one lapse may lead to embarrassment for the whole unit. Therefore, he cautioned cadets “to be mindful on social media”.
Speaking on leadership, he said that the “armed forces are meant to lead”. “You will be required to lead your troops into the battlefield with full zeal and confidence,” he said, adding that their values shall be echoed by those who follow.
He lauded the sacrifices of the armed forces and law-enforcement agencies (LEAs) for “paying the ultimate price with their blood” in order to restore peace and order.
The army chief was invited as the chief guest at the passing out parade. Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi and former naval chiefs also attended the ceremony. A large number of serving and retired officers and families of passing-out officers were also present on the occasion.
Gen Qamar reviewed the parade and gave away prizes to distinguished performers. He felicitated the young officers for their achievements and commended female cadets for their participation. “It signifies their resolve to excel and compete with men in almost every field,” he said.