I have written extensively on 5th Generation Warfare and propaganda against state institutions internally and externally. Ironically, there is no let up in the sustained campaign to malign the armed forces in general and army in particular. After much hype and speculation, General Asim Munir has taken over the command of one of the greatest armies of the world. Indian electronic and print media as usual is obsessed with the new army chief. Writers and anchors in India in their op-eds and shows are discussing the new chief’s appointment with specific reference to the impact on Pakistan-India relations.
During his first ever visit to Line of Control (LOC) General Asim made his priorities clear and said, “Pakistan armed forces are ever ready not only to defend every inch of our motherland but to take the fight back to the enemy, if war is imposed on us”. Externally, besides other hostile powers, India is targeting the state of Pakistan and its institutions (army & ISI) through 5th Generation Warfare and acts of terrorism. Comprehensive dossiers have already been given to the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations on the Indian terrorism in Pakistan. India has been exposed by EU Lab and the Stanford Internet Observatory (SIO) for its involvement in maligning and discrediting Pakistan and its institutions.
There is no letup in propaganda and fake stories against the institutions by paid bloggers, pseudo-intellectuals and youtubers. The Pakistani social media is flooded with hundreds of vloggers who are involved in disseminating fake news stories intentionally affecting national security. Youtube has a tremendous reach in Pakistan and is being used to criticize government, opposition and institutions. To get popularity and views vloggers resort to bashing of army and even some of them are compromising national security by narrating stories related to the army and ISI. With the takeover of command by the new chief there is no respite in fake stories and hearsay while quoting unknown sources. Unfortunately, some vloggers are involved in smear campaigns against institutions creating false narratives, spreading rumors and instigating the public.
Youtubers are using sensational thumbnails/pictures and big bolded words to attract the attention of audiences. Most of the youtubers including some established names narrate exaggerated stories with a loud voice by giving an impression that they are privy to information. Some vlogs are detrimental to national security and sensitive which is tantamount to inciting rank and file of armed forces. Youtubers with political affiliations carryout their narratives and criticize institutions are helped by shadow accounts and sympathizers. Bashing of institutions are done to garner more likes and views. Some of the vlogs have thousands of views and their comment section is full of hateful comments. Those who are maligning army are doing no service to the country rather supporting the agenda of our enemies.
All types of anti-army narratives are always welcomed and celebrated in India. One must understand that Pakistan army is the centre of gravity of this country which has kept national fabric from being torn apart. Christine Fair, American political analyst wrote “For Pakistan state to collapse it is basically Pakistan army which has to collapse. For better or worse, I do not see that happening”. The hostile powers are convinced that they cannot harm Pakistan as long as its armed forces are intact. The government needs to take issues of vloggers with Youtube authorities specially of those involved in inciting violence and hatred in the country. Ridiculing institutions and their officers on social media under the garb of freedom of speech is not acceptable. The constitution of Pakistan does not permit citizen to indulge in activities that damage the prestige of such institutions. Let us not fall prey to any propaganda on social media which is polluted with hate and conspiracy theories.