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Pakistan has remained the main butt of covert war launched by India by closely imitating Israeli Mossad.

In the introduction to his major work, “On War”, Carl von Clausewitz wrote his most quoted dictum: ‘War is nothing but the continuation of policy with other means. What he meant was that war was not an intelligible enterprise apart from political reasons. The cessation of WW-2 in 1945 with the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the USA made the direct conflict between the consequently emerged two great powers (USA and USSR) least probable though; yet, the wars between NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries continued to be fought in other countries till to date. Moreover, despite the nuclear deterrence in place among major warring states, neither has the military-industrial complexes ceased to expand and modernize the military technologies, nor has generational transformation in warfare stopped. Quite a few countries are already contesting now in the 5th Generation Warfare spectrum (It is conducted primarily through non-kinetic military action, such as social engineering, misinformation, and cyber-attacks, along with emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and fully autonomous systems). Some technologically advanced countries have stepped into the 6th Generation Hybrid Warfare gamut (It mainly focuses on the use of unconventional tactics and strategies, such as using information technology, cross-cultural dialogue and collaboration, or any other means of communication to break down traditional structures and networks). The 7th and 8th Generation Warfare among three leading powers is already in motion too. Who and what will stop God’s best creation i.e. the human race from unwisely spending on self-destruct mode rather than spending on making the Earth like heaven instead of hell is a question that has remained seriously un-addressed as evidenced by the known military history and failure of defunct League of Nations and now equally ineffective UNO.

Intelligence is the key to victory, the knowledge about the enemy and his vitals and the effectiveness of such information makes the difference. Intelligence gathering has been on for centuries and the way of collecting them has changed over the years. Many wars have been won and governments have been toppled because of the acts of some masterpieces of work of intelligence agencies. Above generational developments in warfare notwithstanding, intelligence-based covert warfare has remained a constant feature; with the main focus on intelligence gathering, counter-intelligence maneuvers, promoting insurgencies, undertaking massive sabotage and subversion, and worst hurting silent disposal/ assassination of opposing military commanders, political leaders, heads of state/ governments, scientists, scholars, and rebels for greater upshot with much economical effort. Many names and situations shall run through the minds of well-read/informed readers on Pakistan’s national as well as on international fascia.

Hasan-i Sabbah, also known as Hasan of Alamut, was a religious and military leader (1050-1124), founder of the Nizari Ismai’li sect widely known as the Hashshashin or the Order of Assassins, named after hashish, a drug smoked by the Assassins. Do assassins/hitmen exist today? They do exist. Both classes of hitmen and assassins are put to use by the most dreadful Intelligence Agencies of the world as per the operational circumstances; besides, large bodies available as ‘Guns for Hire’ in different political, religious/ sectarian, and so-called ideological disguises are also exploited as Trojan Horses. We don’t have to go far to find all such individual and collective examples. The leading Intelligence agencies like CIA, KGB, MI-6, Mossad, and RAW have a well-documented history of using hitmen and assassins both at home and abroad; Pakistan’s ISI also gets credit or just accusations by the rival RAW for similar acts especially in support of the Freedom Fighters in IIO J&K and in support of Khalistan movement in Indian Punjab.

The multiplicity of threats posed by 5th Generation warfare notwithstanding, Pakistan has remained the main butt of covert war launched by India by closely imitating Israeli Mossad, posing multi-directional threats to Pakistan on the inner fronts, as confessed by apprehended Nasrullah alias Maulvi Mansoor, RAW officer Kulbahasan Yadev, and whistleblower Sarah Adams (former CIA targeting officer) in an interview to Shawn Ryan (former Navy SEAL/ CIA Contractor). According to The Guardian of April 4, 2024, India had allegedly killed almost 20 persons on Pakistani soil since 2020 using unknown gunmen. The revelations suggested that Sikh separatists in the Khalistan movement and people suspected to be linked with the Kashmir Freedom Struggle were targeted. The Canadian government also first made headlines in September 2023 with the accusation that Indian intelligence agents orchestrated the assassination of Sikh Canadian activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar on Canadian soil. Nijjar was gunned down outside a gurdwara — a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia. Following the assassination of Nijjar in Canada, Pakistan again publicly reiterated that India was running a “network of extra-territorial killings” that had gone global. The Indian government responded angrily to accusations from Canada and other Five Eyes countries that it was running a transnational assassination program.

Indian RAW’s close links with banned terrorist outfits in Pakistan e.g. BLA, BRA, TTA, JeM, and Afghanistan e.g. TTP and many loose guns for sabotage, subversion and specific targeting of CPEC-related projects and Chinese workers is a well-established reality and claimed by Indian NSA, RAW officials, and Politicians. This March, the Atlantic Council, an American think tank, published an article titled, “Who is Behind the Killings of Kashmiri Militants in Pakistan?” The article pointed to the recent killings of several former Kashmiri insurgents living in Pakistan whom the author claimed had been murdered by Indian intelligence in attacks that were left unsolved, falsely attributed to Pakistan-based separatist groups.

The heightened covert war and targeted assassinations in Pakistan have kept Pakistan Army and other law enforcement agencies embroiled on the inner front since 2001; hence, pointing towards the imperative of keeping the external fronts cool (with consistent improvement in nuclear deterrence) and serious improvement in the Intelligence domain. The best intelligence is that it can predict looming threats with prescience and prevent impending disaster; therefore, “Predict and Prevent” ought to be the motto of Pakistan’s ISI. Besides, covert war can neither be wished away nor can be stopped by media coverage and by making diplomatic complaints in vain. Paying the foe in the same coin with sharper teeth and with greater capabilities to use other means is the only way to force the foes to recoil. In the changed operational environment, the Markhor needs to follow the Wolf’s instinct. Pakistan Zindabad.

Saleem Qamar Butt

The writer is a retired senior army officer with experience in international relations, military diplomacy and analysis of geo-political and strategic security issues.

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