Pakistan under psychological Attack

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive:     

Hamid Waheed

The reality considered an absolute value has becomes dynamic with the uni-polar world moving towards information operations (IO) and information warfare.  The psychological (Psy) operations as part of information operations (IO)  launched against Pakistan now focus on creating confusion and demoralisation amongst Pakistanis and increase the wedge between the leadership, security apparatus and general population. In aftermath of Raymond, Osama and Naval base incidents of April-May the covert ground operations are being conducted through help of terrorist organisations who move hand in hand and terrorise the hearts and mind of target population through building and harnessing perceptions. The ideal covert operation are always carried out by a state through non-state actors. The amount  of involvement of other state is measured through intended objectives of such operations. Covert ground actions supported by media and intelligence mostly compliment IO under such environment .

The naval base attack of Karachi is seen as part of psy war launched against Pak. The concept of  psy warfare has been discussed in my article “Challenges for Pakistan” published in a News paper and “Pakistan: Fighting Perceptions” on a website. In this form of warfare IO are the main operations and covert guerrilla and intelligence operation supplement the achievement of IO objectives to break the will of target population. The Pak Army trained in conventional warfare takes this incident as a terrorist attack launched by Talibans. The Naval Chief calls it an attack on Navy by extremists. I find many experts and analysts comment that such attacks where the attacker is on suicide mission are almost impossible to be averted but no one is questioning the intended and achieved objectives. The clear objectives were to reduce defence capabilities of Pakistan, hit economically and most important psychologically demoralize the target population. Under such environment we must look for the enemy who would benefit the most. If we follow the post incident reports, the initial figure of 10-15 terrorists reported in media were reduced to 6, four dead and two found successful in escape. Dead space in between two installed security cameras  was decleared the entrance  and exit points of the attackers . The interior minister indicated Taliban terming them as Zaliman involved in the attack. The FIR registered in the police station shows twelve attackers, four killed and eight managed to escape. Naval Chief’s statement ‘No security Lapse’ which he never said was given widest projection. All this speaks of unprepared confused minds creating more confusion in target population and intentionally or unintentionally supporting enemy psy warfare.

Understanding a problem is the first major step to its solution. Did Osama die of a conventional raid or part of Information Operation? Mohammad Bashir lives a stone’s throw away from the purported Bin Laden compound that was raided on May 1. In an astounding interview with Pakistani news channel Samaa TV, Bashir describes how he watched men land in the helicopter and enter the compound. However, in contrast to the official story, Bashir then claims the helicopter exploded and killed the men as they were re-entering the chopper to leave.
Bashir said that the men who landed in the helicopter spoke Pashto, an Iranian language spoken in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
According to a translation of the comments that was posted on the Veterans Today website, Bashir told the interviewer, “There was a blast in the first helicopter and it was on fire, we immediately came out, when we reached there, the helicopter was burning, then after about 20 minutes the army and police arrived, they pushed us back, now we are asking that if Osama was here then who took him to America because all those men that came in the helicopter died in the blast, now if Osama was in that helicopter he must have died and got burnt in that helicopter too, then how they took him?”

“We saw the helicopter burning, we saw the dead bodies, then everything was removed and now there is nothing,” said Bashir.
Top US government insider Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik, told The Alex Jones Show in first week of May 2011 that Osama Bin Laden died in 2001 and that he was prepared to testify in front of a grand jury .Pieczenik cannot be dismissed as a “conspiracy theorist”. He served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under three different administrations, Nixon, Ford and Carter, while also working under Reagan and Bush senior, and still works as a consultant for the Department of Defense. A former US Navy Captain, Pieczenik achieved two prestigious Harry C. Solomon Awards at the Harvard Medical School as he simultaneously completed a PhD at MIT.

There are many such happenings which exemplifies the importance of understanding the new game. The most noticeable impact of this warfare is seen on the target segment of population.   In this case the target is generally Pakistanis and specifically the security elements. In the present environment effects of morale boosting statements by the leadership has  been compromised. The mid and lower level decision makers in target population want to know the steps which will be taken on occurrence of such incidents in future. Raymond Davis, Osama and Navy base incidents need to be seen from psychological point of view. What additional measure has been placed, what additional instructions have been passed to avoid reoccurrence and enhance confidence of the Nation and the security apparatus. The strategy of secrets steps in conventional warfare may be a strong battle loosing factor in IO.  It is equally important to handle a incident psychologically to defeat the enemy’s psy objectives. Perceptions play an important role and can only be fought with pre planning and forecasting events.

A sincere, confident and trustworthy  leader ship having close connect with the Nation will prove much powerful than the atomic deterrence .We need to rely more on own public support for which leadership has to decrease the existing class differences and encourage simplicity. The trust deficit with public can only be reduced by sharing truth. The actions only will bridge as words have lost their credibility.  These trying times demand that leaders must come out and take steps in the interest of Pakistan and have trust in the nation. Our institutions are time tested , they have always proved their worth in natural as well as other calamities. The nation must identify the enemy and their moles within  to defeat the enemy psycological  attack.

The writer is based in Islamabad.

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  • siddiqui my  On May 29, 2011 at 6:17 pm

    Mr Waheed is absolutely correct in his concluding para BUT can he point out one, & I say again, one ” sincere,confident and trustworthy” leader…can he see even one such sublime person in near future ?
    Ever since the assassination of the First Prime Minister Pakistan’s leadership graph has been in a downward spiral and right now we are in a free fall …….
    With due apologies and ( great sorrow ) I am constrained to say today we are a tribe of monkeys….are we really a Nation ? do we have a language? do we have a distinct culture? do we have national pride? do we have a education system of our own ? are we a desciplined peoples? Do we have self pride ? do we excel in ANY field today? do we have likes of Gama, Haneef Mohammd, Zaheer Abbas, Hameedi, Islahuddin, Hashim khan?Salam etc etc; muslims of the subcontinent were known all over for their fine and elegant livery both males and females; our cuisine was toast of the world tables…today one cannot have decent plate of Biryani……….We taught the ancient Indians how to dress and today we take pride in nudity ? Ever since the passing of Faiz have we produced a great poet or a great writer or a great artist……………so have we not become Monkeys? you tell me ??????????????
    Our Prophet was called “Ameen” & “Sadiq” and today we cannot find one single ameen and sadiq pakistani…………………sorry for my harsh words..but am I over stating ? or have i a problem you would say as an expert ???????????????
    Your solution is ” sincere,confident and trustworthy” leader….pray name one and I shall vote for him ? even if he is under 30 ?
    Unfortunately we are at the edge and future is harrowing; fortunately our peoples have been slaves for unknown centuries and the spark of Revolution has been extinct since long so we will suffer and moan and starve and kill and get killed & endure and SURVIVE.
    However by nature, and this you may well dispute as an expert, an optimist and feel confident we shall endure and we shall rise; only slaves know the art of survival!!!!!!!!!!!
    I assure you I am not an angry young man but an old and sad person; I grew up when Freedom an Pakistan were in the air all round and I shared the dreams of Iqbal and Faiz…..but it was not to be, somewhee on the way we all took a wrong turn and ended up in a hot desert……..

  • Hasan Muizudin  On May 30, 2011 at 11:06 am


    your comments are awaited, eagerly.
    If it is the Psychological War which brain washes a Nation
    then who is waging this War against us ?

  • Portugheis Alberto  On May 30, 2011 at 11:12 am

    All this is true, but as someone who sees the world as a little ball of earth in which people of a great variety of colours (skin, hair, eyes), of heights and of shapes live, I cannot concentrate on Pakistan.

    Information operations (IO), information warfare and psychological (Psy) operations are practiced in ALL countries of the world. Scientists, sociologists, politicians, psychologists work relentlessly, in order to brainwash and control populations. This is what enables them to organize around 200 armed conflicts per year, scattered all over the globe.

    Only the abolition of weapons and Armed Forces can stop the work of these “destructors of life”.

    • A Malik  On May 31, 2011 at 4:02 pm

      Ghasi Ram
      The cancer that u spoke of are people like you housing some other place and who are the rot of the body. Good that now u r no longer in my country.

  • siddiqui my  On May 30, 2011 at 11:22 am

    muiz sb,
    We are waging it against ourselves…living in cuckoo land oblivious of the realities of the 21st century………….we are in a trance, sleep walking looking for Wonderland !!!!!!!!
    sleep tight and sleep well; SOMEONE UP there is watching over us ………………..

  • Malik Tariq  On May 30, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    To American People…..One simple thing America must know that some countries are trying to trap America after cold clash with Pakistan because they want to destroy the America and want to restore the position of Russia again with gift of sea port for Russia. And i think America is trying to follow them. What Russia and India could not do their self America has done after full influence of India in Afghanistan and now trying to destabilize the Pakistan specially India is trying to instigate the Baluchistan against Pakistan and Baluchistan is dream of Russia.. Past history is witness and prove of this thing that before Russia Afghan war America was not a alone super power in the world after Afghan war Russia was crashed by mutual efforts of Pak and America and after that America became super power alone and was in good economic position. Strong Pakistan mean more strong America but when after the Afghan war currently going on Pakistan became in trouble in all aspects and also America became more week as his financial crisis and if America will do more negative against Pakistan then same could be happened again like Russia ….Two or three incidents can not destroy our Army image/ pluck which is 2nd in professionalism in all over the world, this thing very well known by America and India.
    ……….but …….for help of great ALLAHA …Sir jee first we have to survive in our limit ,…at home we for children to motivate them about corruption , at office for our oath , commitment and try to know what is corruption because even some judges don’t know meaning of corruption….most important thing is to know for our social activities what is different between human (insan), inhuman (hewan), and Muslman . Then we will survive and also others will survive to follow us. …. It is very easy to say that shatan and America is doing wrong thing with us but we have to think if some one think it is their job they are doing and what we are doing not all of us ,mostly in our society , It is big question that America and shatan stopping us for following acts …1. theft electricity (choori ka kunda )will be good for us if read quran in that light…..2..signal violation…3…to reach at committed time…3…to ask meaning about corruption ,which almost mostly judges does not know….4…mis use of Govt property 5. not reading the translation of Quran and others things.

  • Khatri  On May 31, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    Essence of what is happening in the World and why…..see synopsis in 2 mins

  • S. Cadri  On May 31, 2011 at 10:56 pm

    No baseless conspiracy theories please!
    For God’s sake don’t be under an imaginary siege.Address the real issues. Talk of structural reforms. Without structural reform don’t expect any thing to get better. First understand what is the problem?

    During Musharraf time the media was let loose and all the canons were aimed at him until the public opinion stood firmly against him. This is the achievement of the media. Now they are doing more harm to Pakistan by cooking conspiracy theories. Stop it. This article is full of conspiracy theories that won’t help. On the contrary they will only harm.

    Then media latched on to so many worthless issues like Raymod Davis and then Osama and then giving permission to America to search the house where Osama was living. And US bashing was a national past time, in the process bedeviling the relations between two friendly countries. Why do we have to spoil our relations with the world for the sake of these Arabs? Have we nothing better to do?

    Are they our issues? No. Our issue is Kashmir, Siachen, Water dispute with India and such issues. We forgot that and were bogged down with terrorism for someone else. It has been a killing problem.It has killed our people and killed our economy by killing the law and order in the entire country.Our so called intellectuals, I would call them uneducated pseudo intellectuals, become spokesmen of the devil. And the people believed them and the entire nation is turned if not pro-terror, their sympathisers. This must not happen.

    Talk of structural reforms such that in the end the common Pakistani sits in the parliament not the vaderas, choudhries, sardars and the like. We had such a huge campaign for democracy. What was the result after elections? The same faces of the landlords in the Parliament. The first person who gets elected is Fahmida Mirza again a vaderan. What can you expect for Pakistan?

    The only way to get grass roots democracy is to introduce land ceiling to not more than 50 acres per head including not more than 14 acres under irrigated land under a dam. More people should have access to our national resources than few. Why doesn’t the media build a consensus on this. Ensure that every single political party has land ceiling in their manifesto so that this bill is unanimously passed in the next National Assemblies.

    Stumbled on a good blog see:

  • Arif Khan  On May 31, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Cadri Sahib Let me give you the Bottom Line and you can bet your boots that I am RIGHT…These Media personnal are SHIT SCARED of the Talibans and Fundoes and are afraid to say Boooo against them.Look what happened to Mr Luckman he got threats and had to LEAVE…Kamran Shafi gets death threats all the time… So these Newsmen go after America as a scape goat as they know USA will not drop hellfire missiles on them as they believe in Freedom of Speech not like these so called Islamic Fundoes who will Kill in the name of Islam… (Now tell me who in his right mind will follow that kind of Islam unless you are a “NUTJOB” or retarded? Not Me? In fact i am getting turned off from all violent Faiths become a Sufi Muslim… Arif Khan

  • Mubaschir Inayet  On May 31, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks for talking sense rather than emotions Br Cadri

    We are a nation hooked badly on conspiracy theories and what we need is a strong dose of introspection.

    Mubashir Inayet

  • Mubaschir Inayet  On May 31, 2011 at 10:58 pm

  • Bajwa  On June 1, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    We should focus on defense of fundamental rights.Saleem Shezad’s case is a good opportunity to prove that Pakistan is alive not dead.

  • sarwar sukhera  On June 2, 2011 at 12:05 am

    I agree with Bajwa Saheb — as always. Shifting of the blames to others is not a pragmatic approach. One only has to live in Pakistan to see how we distort the picture and how warped is our thinking. The elites that communicate in English language and have access to computers etc. live in a bubble away from the day-to-day realities and have no idea how miserable is the life of a common man there.
    On hindsight, I wish I had joined the military — or for that matter any branch of the bureaucracy — when I was young. I had a religious upbringing. All I had to do was get fat, grow beard and add ‘maulana, allama or mufti (the muft khore — a parasite) to my name. I would never have had to shift to foreign lands and work my butt off. Life would be so good today!!

  • Bajwa  On June 2, 2011 at 12:05 am

    Yes Sir. Particularly an opportunity for those who pretend to defend the “ideological frontiers” to prove that ” Pakistan’s ideology” include the right to live.

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