New doctrine: Army identifies ‘homegrown militancy’ as biggest threat

Published: January 3, 2013
New Army Doctrine now includes threats posed by sub-conventional warfare; it also blames ‘foreign proxies’ for creating unrest in some parts of the country.

New Army Doctrine now includes threats posed by sub-conventional warfare; it also blames ‘foreign proxies’ for creating unrest in some parts of the country.


In what appears to be a paradigm shift in its decades-old policy, Pakistan Army has described homegrown militancy as the “biggest threat” to national security.

According to the new Army Doctrine, ongoing activities of Taliban militants in the restive tribal regions and unabated terrorist attacks on government installations in major cities are posing a real threat to Pakistan’s security. The Army Doctrine deals with operational preparedness and is reviewed on and off.

For decades, the army considered India as its No 1 enemy but growing extremism in the country compelled the military authorities to review its strategy.

A senior military official confirmed to The Express Tribune that a new chapter has been added to the Army Doctrine that would now also include threats posed by sub-conventional warfare.

“Pakistan’s armed forces were trained for conventional warfare but the current security situation necessitated the change,” said the official requesting anonymity. “Forces fighting on the front-line in the tribal regions are now being trained according to the requirements of sub-conventional warfare,” he added.

Maj-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa

Preparation of the new doctrine started a year ago and has been adopted recently, according to the official.

When contacted, the chief military spokesperson confirmed the development but attempted to play down the hype. “Army prepares for all forms of threats. Sub-conventional threat is a reality and is a part of a threat matrix faced by our country. But it doesn’t mean that the conventional threat has receded,” Maj-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) told The Express Tribune.

According to the BBC, the new Army Doctrine talks about unidentified militant groups and their role to create unrest in the country. It also mentions that Pakistani militants have found refuge across the Durand Line in Afghanistan.

Quoting military officials, the new Army Doctrine blames “foreign proxies” for creating unrest in some parts of the country, although it does not name any country.

It is widely believed, however, that the army might be referring to India’s alleged role in creating disturbances in Balochistan, which has been plagued by a deadly separatist insurrection since 2004.

Military sources told the BBC that Pakistan could not preempt the US secret raid in Abbottabad in May 2011 because of a lack of threat perception from western borders (Afghanistan) and concentration of armed forces at eastern frontiers (India).

“It’s a fact that before the new army doctrine, India was Pakistan’s No 1 enemy. All military resources were focused on India,” Defence analyst Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood told the BBC. “For the first time it has been realised that Pakistan faces the real threat from within – a threat which is concentrated in areas along western borders.”

The new strategy also stresses that the formulation of the defence policy was not the responsibility of the army alone. Other organs of the states will have to play their part. In an effort to elicit public support against violent extremism, the army is likely to make public its new doctrine.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2013.

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Reader Comments (38)

  • Asad
    Jan 3, 2013 - 4:47AM

    …Good step… now deal with the threat…


  • Zeff
    Jan 3, 2013 - 5:01AM

    It came late, but finally it came.


  • Ali J
    Jan 3, 2013 - 5:10AM

    And now you have identified the threat after 35000 soldiers and civilians have been butchered.


  • Kamal
    Jan 3, 2013 - 5:28AM

    So now after atleast 10 years our Army has come to this conclusion that the Taliban, the homegrown militancy, is now the biggest security threat to the state of Pakistan. After 10 years, during which about 35,000 of our citizens and soldiers have been killed by this enemy, and after countless bombings and terror attacks by this enemy. the Army thinks so? Well done, Pak Army!


  • Liberal
    Jan 3, 2013 - 5:42AM

    Finally..the faujis have read the writing on the wall…better late than never!!!!!


  • Nitin Gandhi
    Jan 3, 2013 - 5:43AM

    Now you have identified the problem 2nd step is now you have to deal with it HONESTLY.


  • Ch. Allah Daad
    Jan 3, 2013 - 5:49AM

    Please prove it with your actions. As a first step stop pensions and other benefits of retirees who support terrorists. They live on our tax money but support killers of our brave soldiers, civilians, women and children.


  • Sharjeel Jawaid Jawaid
    Jan 3, 2013 - 6:26AM

    We trust the Army is doing something about it.


  • Javed
    Jan 3, 2013 - 6:28AM

    Saudi and other middle east funding be monitored and expose Indian involvement.


  • a_writer
    Jan 3, 2013 - 6:38AM

    Really, are you sure ?
    this is maddeningly hilarious. Every news organization and every government all across the world have been screaming this fact for about 10 years. Now, the exalted ‘think tank’ have figured this out. My guess is some army brass sitting on the toilet for some sort of successful outcome happened to read an old news paper article from Ethiopia or Mongolia or some other corner of the world about the terrorist threat as #1 enemy of Pakistan and decided to pronounce it as an astute observation. Goodness Gracious is all I can say


  • Adil
    Jan 3, 2013 - 7:28AM

    “Army prepares for all forms of threats. Sub-conventional threat is a reality and is a part of a threat matrix faced by our country.”
    Big words for someone who took a decade too long to realise what the ordinary man in the street has known all along – “It’s the Taliban stupid!” Hope you guys know which way to face this threat matrix. Hint: It’s neither west or east…. It’s from within. See if you can kill it without shooting yourself in the foot. These threat matrix mostly have long beards and are extremists in their views. Avoid dwelling your sub-conventional plans to similar looking army personnel on this side of the Durand Line. Just a thought.


  • something true
    Jan 3, 2013 - 7:35AM

    it wont help. the people in pakistan does not support this doctrine at all. Do people in this forum know how the ordinary man thinks in this society. What is pk army doing in fata?. they have never been there before, why now?. Because its in the US interests. All the drones have been against the civilians. the army with their operation has just put fuel to the people in these areas except the tribes who get paid from the government etc etc…… Thats the ordinary mans thinking.


  • AnisAqeel
    Jan 3, 2013 - 7:37AM

    This was not our war (for ten years), support Taliban as they can be used according to your desires, NO MORE!!! USA Dollars NO MORE. Yes now this is our war and greatest danger!!!


  • shahid
    Jan 3, 2013 - 8:08AM

    words without action means nothing.Why the army is not putting an all out effort to eliminate the enemies? . They are sitting on sidelines as spectators. They are either paralyzed or already accepted defeat.


  • Khalid Iqbal Ch.
    Jan 3, 2013 - 8:40AM

    Kudos for the “futuristic vision” of our military. It took them decades to identify that militancy in our country was/is “homegrown” instead of “foreign”


  • Jan 3, 2013 - 8:49AM

    Lt. General (rtd) Talat Masood must know that a man with a gun can expect trouble from any direction. The Pakistan Army handles guns and must know 24 hours that trouble can come from anywhere. Salams


  • Liberal
    Jan 3, 2013 - 9:05AM

    India was never our No. 1 enemy. It is the religious extremism which has always been. In fact we should learn from India and make friends with them. India always helped us whenever we were in a crisis.


  • Hasan
    Jan 3, 2013 - 9:09AM

    Only Pak Army is capable of dealing with this threat … Keep Going


  • Jan 3, 2013 - 9:14AM

    To prove this, the bold step should be the abating of these terrorists factories first. Then the realisation, that there is no good or bad terrorists but they are all the same.


  • Jan 3, 2013 - 9:35AM

    Its amazing how Indians have been right about Pakistan. We said we are not your greatest threat, but your own people are to Pakistan so many times – Nobody listened.

    Now, after 40,000 people dead this has been finally accepted, supposedly.

    We will make another prediction: Unless all militants are combated, even anti-India ones, Pakistan will NEVER rid of its Terrorist problem.


  • Ricky
    Jan 3, 2013 - 9:39AM

    “Forces fighting on the front-line in the tribal regions are now being trained according to the requirements of sub-conventional warfare,”
    Why sudden rush? Let us wait for another decade or two! This is called Johnny comes lately. Finally this is the admission of wasting money and not being prepared as yet.


  • Asim Ali
    Jan 3, 2013 - 9:43AM

    And what about the loot and plunder of the politicians, politicians who defy law, court orders, encourage and abet nepotism. Are they not an internal threat under the garb of democracy?


  • In Fact
    Jan 3, 2013 - 9:48AM

    Its seems the army has going to realized its historical mistakes after 65 years of power politics in the entire history of the country.Recommend

  • huzaifa
    Jan 3, 2013 - 9:52AM

    Its very strange that Civil Government is still undecided on its decision to declare war on terrorism. Now the Army has clearly indicated that they are ready for this insurgency conflict, its the call of the civilian democratic government to give go ahead. Weak civilian leadership has been the problem of the country, corruption and lack of courage to face the terrorism has grown it into a industry which has gone to many billion dollars a year. Unfortunately, most of the political parties have their hidden military wings to whom they used to pressurize the opponents. In such a scenario who will order Military to undertake such anti- terror operations?


  • Salim
    Jan 3, 2013 - 9:54AM

    Historically the threat to the sub-continent has been from the west.


  • syed baqar ahsan
    Jan 3, 2013 - 10:08AM

    @Ch. Allah Daad:
    Great Ch sahib,you really won our hearts by explaining the real/serious cause of trouble in our country.


  • SJ
    Jan 3, 2013 - 10:11AM

    I think the ‘senior officer’ should be given a medal for this ‘discovery’. What a joke !


  • In Fact
    Jan 3, 2013 - 10:33AM

    Its seems army has now realizing its historical mistakes after 60 years in the entire history of the country.


  • Abdul Raheem
    Jan 3, 2013 - 10:33AM

    Yes Army is a bit late to recognize this as number one threat as well as to incorporate into it’s military doctrine but still Nation should welcome it and we must support our Army,no war can be won without public support.Lets not just keep on cursing our own Army,Lets support them morally at least and together with our prstigious Army we shall cut the this TTP snake’s head soon.


  • Bewildered
    Jan 3, 2013 - 11:00AM

    Such a long time taken by our strategic planners just to realize the changing challenges faced by the country was because they were deeply occupied in finalizing the designs of their luxurious villas and farm houses under construction. As they have just moved in and now have some time to ponder about the other problems while sitting in their state-of-the-art drawing rooms sipping cream coffee and smoking Cuban cigars, you can hope to hear news of establishing anti-terrorism units. In other countries, such response units were already setup 10 years ago. No wonder the kind of mess we are in because of the our “ten-class-pass” all-knowing super geniuses.


  • haider
    Jan 3, 2013 - 11:36AM

    Good step, but still it needs a lot of time to implement the same. It should be implemented immediately.


  • ahmed41
    Jan 3, 2013 - 5:45PM

    In mathematics we have hypotheses, there are conjectures. When a formal rigourous PROOF is discovered , the conjecture becomes a theorem .

    Religions have doctrines. As for example the doctrine of TRINITY. It is a basic , unquestioned assumption.

    A military doctrine is just a blind rule of the thumb. It works; but is it a proven truth ?

    Why in heaven’s name should one have ENEMY No.1 on the Eastern side and enemy no.2 on the Af-PAK side, and ENEMY NO. 3 within ones own ranks, among the citizens ?

    Can we not ,please, rethink the basics of national progress and economic welfare ?

    Are these REAL ENEMIES ? WHY SO ?


  • G.A.
    Jan 3, 2013 - 6:32PM

    What appears from this reported piece is that there is coming a new way to deal with threats, this time not only by our forces but by our people as well and it will be & should be a collective effort like a real nation. From such a long time of wars atlast its clear that this war cannot be dealt alone by one institution as its a war which is against everyone who loves Pakistan. This sounds like a positive step, though it came late but it should be capable enough to heal the wounds of our country and deal with the enemy efficiently.


  • Khan Jr
    Jan 3, 2013 - 9:35PM

    Twelve years ago Musharraf yelled himself blue in the face about the ‘the good terrorist’ – the so-called ‘Freedom fighters’ and the bad terrorist, whom he never bothered to define. So after the deaths of thousands of innocent Pakistani citizens have the Generals have finally woken up? Until we see concrete action on the ground (and an end to their repeated attempts at passing the buck to a corrupt, useless and frightened civilian leadership) I will treat this latest acknowledgement as yet another example of their prenial double speak.


  • Climp Jones
    Jan 4, 2013 - 1:22AM

    this should be highly entertaining to watch. Pakistan going after a Frankenstein of their own creation will most likely backfire on them. This problem, decades in the making, is most likely too well entrenched for the Pakistani Government and Military too have any noticeable impact on this internal problem. As the International continues winding down and the Afghan forces take on a wider roll these same forces originating from Pakistan that have been wrecking havoc in both countries will continue their chaos in Pakistan whilst expanding their activities towards Kashmir. Afghanistan will continue to experience a ratcheting down of these same forces targeting them.


  • sattar rind
    Jan 4, 2013 - 1:32AM

    that is exactly what a Persian saying is- dar aayad durast ayyad. at least they realized the fact. what we were felling from decades


  • ali
    Jan 19, 2013 - 8:10AM

    its obvious..since the fauji foundation have never been able to win wars against external enemies…1948, 1965, 1971, Salla attack, may 2nd raid, 1999 they decided that in order to continue to get the money, they need to find an enemy they can defeat, so now they will start attacking Pakistanis, since they have been successful in doing it since 1947.


  • ali
    Jan 19, 2013 - 8:12AM

    now let me ask these faujis, how will they defeat the Taliban, two superpower tried and failed. How will they defeat it…its a farce to keep getting the money for fauji foundation.


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