Security Forces' operational successes against terrorism

Pak Security Forces’ operational successes against terrorism in KP

Pakistani Security Forces’ operational successes against terrorism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
Shahzad Masood Roomi

At state level, a war is planned at four different tiers where critical decision making, in-depth analysis of these decisions and adjustments are made based on outcome of previous decisions. These are Grand Strategic, Strategic, Operational and Tactical tiers. Grand Strategic level is concerned with political leadership of a country which decides when to fight a war, if the state is initiating it. Strategic tier of decision making involves political and military leadership both where a strategic line of action is adopted. This becomes the primary tier of decision making if the state is attacked by the enemy. Last two tiers, operational and tactical belong purely to military domain. Operational commanders and unit commanders, in specific areas, are responsible for meeting operational and tactical objectives given to them. The outcome of their operations dictates the course of the entire war.

Juxtaposing Pakistan’s war on this categorization reveals astonishing accomplishments of Pakistan Army at strategic, operational, and tactical levels. Before going into details of operational successes of Pakistan army during the War on Terror, it would be prudent to understand that traditionally Pakistan army was raised and trained to fight against arch rival India in conventional warfare domain. Post 9/11 circumstances pushed Pakistan into the eye of geopolitical storm where threats of sub-conventional natures in the form of religiously motivated, well trained and equipped insurgent and terrorists group emerged at an exponential pace. They challenged the writ of the state, especially, in areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) which previously were known as FATA.

On the onset of this war, it had remained an excruciatingly prolonged period for the entire nation and its security forces. But as the time passed, Pakistan Army developed new and novel operational plans and tactical strategies to deal with this new kind of enemy in a war where the line between enemy combatant and own people were virtually removed. TTP’s local terrorist infrastructure was completely destroyed by the end of 2017 due to which large scale terrorism in Pakistan declined sharply. This success came at a tremendous human and financial cost as Pakistan Army had to adopt for this new role in an unseen territory along the Pak-Afghan border.

2021 was a watershed year in global war on terror when the US unilaterally announced to withdrew from Afghanistan leaving behind unconcluded War on Terror, insurgency and a country without any form of government. In order to get a safe exit, a peace deal was signed with Afghan Taliban. When Taliban took over Afghanistan, they needed manpower that can control the entire swathe of Afghanistan. This new need and ethnic ties helped TTP fighters who were on the run become new foot soldiers of Afghan Taliban. Soon after ceasing control of Afghanistan, this new Afghan govt began to retreat from their promises of not allowing Afghan soil to be used against any neighboring country. By 2022, TTP was back in KP as there was practically no check on these terrorists from Afghan side which previously were manned by either Afghan National Army or NATO troops. With TTP’s return, terrorism surged in Pakistan after many years and 2023 proved to be a challenging year for the state.

This time, TTP was even more equipped due to backing of Afghan government and weapons left behind by the US. Pakistan Army witnessed worst ambush and IED attacks in years. Situation was analyzed at strategic level by political and military leadership of KP. On September 27th 2023, COAS stressed the need to synergize the efforts to bring peace and stability in KP while participating in KP Apex Committee meeting in Peshawar. Pakistan Army extended its already ongoing training program for KP police to enhance its abilities to fight modern terrorists and insurgents in the province. By November 2023, about 23,792 police officials were provided professional training in five different phases by the renowned instructors of Pakistan Army. Besides, over 600 police officials have been provided with SSG specialized training, 300 officials master training and 34 officials IED’s defusing training. This way Pakistan Army not only adopted new methods and operational approach but also helped KP police to achieve the same by providing them training for handling advanced weapons, communication gears, and tools to diffuse explosives. These efforts by Pakistan Army are in line with the vision of COAS about synergizing efforts against terrorists.
On the tactical level, Pakistan Army has matured its drone warfare as well and is using emerging new age technologies like UCAVs, AI, and Net-centric warfare to thwart terrorists’ attacks in KP. During the recent months, Pakistan Army used its homegrown quadcopter-based UCAV system against terrorists who were trying to infiltrate Pak-Afghan border. Similarly, new night vision cameras and motion detection sensors are being installed on check posts at important locations and these actions are paying dividend by saving lives of Pakistan Army troops.
According to ISPR, in 2023, at least 566 terrorists were neutralized during 18,736 intelligence-based operations (IBOs) executed by security forces across the country. Most importantly, these IBOs also resulted in the arrest of 5,161 terrorists. The evidence of recent terrorist incidents was traced back to sanctuaries in Afghanistan where TTP and Afghan Taliban government both acting as hostile forces towards Pakistan particularly during the recent month. The sheer number of IBOs during the last year highlights the operational readiness of security forces. Another important feature of these IBO is the fact that maximum number of terrorists (447) were eliminated in KP in 1,942 IBOs while 206 sons of soil gave ultimate sacrifice for the peace and stability in the motherland. Nation salutes to these brave hearts and will remain indebted to them forever. The immediate impact of these operations is a clear decline in security related incidents during the first 4 months of 2024.

Pakistan Army is fighting this war with blood and sweat in an effort to create space for political leadership to provide much needed socio-economic relief in KP. The menace of foreign funded and aided terrorism can be fought only through a whole of the nation efforts so that the operational brilliance of Pakistan’s security forces can be translated into strategic gain for the KP and Pakistan. The time is not far when Pakistan will achieve this dream of lasting peace and stability in the country. Insha Allah.


Pakistan security forces, operational successes, terrorism, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, KP, TTP, War on Terror, COAS, drone warfare, intelligence-based operations, ISPR, Afghan Taliban, KP police training

TTP's Deceptive Agenda Exposed!

TTP’s Deceptive Agenda Exposed!

Pakistan’s battle against foreign-funded terrorists in KP and Baluchistan persisted throughout 2023. Hundreds of brave sons of the soil made the ultimate sacrifices in the line of duty, defending the motherland from enemy’s nefarious designs. With the help of the Pakistani people, LEAs successfully quelled terrorism crisis in 2014 forcing TTP leadership to flee and seek refuge in Afghanistan. They exposed themselves in the process, even if they were able to save their lives there. Today, TTP’s main bastion is in Afghanistan using that soil against Pakistan which is the key reason of rift between two brotherly Islamic nations who also share strong historic and cultural bonds. Afghanistan is not being used as sanctuary by TTP, it also uses the same for recruitment while exploiting vulnerabilities, distorting religious ideology, and capitalizing on social and geopolitical tensions.  In Afghanistan, TTP’s manipulations and duplicity became more evident when they started targeting and enticing impoverished Afghan nationals for what they claim to be Jehad in Afghanistan, blatantly disregarding the fatwas of eminent Islamic scholars from all religious sects. By doing this, TTP commanders are trying to achieve two goals: first, they are using religious manipulation to recruit fighters from Afghanistan for terrorism in Pakistan; second, they are stoking tensions between IEA and Pakistan in order to further their evil plans. They would have enough room to operate safely from Afghanistan thanks to the divide and mistrust between the two states.

The recent reconciliation efforts were also manipulated by TTP commanders for expanding their presence in Pakistan while disguising themselves as part of the process. As a strategy, TTP leaders are abusing innocent people through intimidation, fear mongering, pressure, and religious manipulation tactics. They lack a genuine understanding of Pakistan’s religious, ethical, moral, or cultural values. This explains why they go on murdering sprees across the nation through acts like suicide bombings. By doing such horrible acts, they hope to terrorize the populace into accepting their violent, perverted, and un-Islamic worldview. However, the people of Pakistan are aware of the TTP’s self-serving intentions and their violent and “Fasadi” Agenda, which is why, in spite of numerous horrific incidents, they have been utterly unsuccessful in disguising their political objectives under their shallow Islamic slogans.

The TTP leadership is nothing more than a group of cunning, opportunistic, cowardly, and dishonest manipulators when we look at their actions. These characteristics are used by them to manipulate and employ innocent individuals and foot soldiers in Pakistan as pawns in their evil schemes. Any Pakistani who defends the nation’s customs, laws, and principles is viewed by them as a heretic (Kafir) who should be executed.

While its foot soldiers are engaged in a pointless conflict in Pakistan, the whole leadership including Mufti Noor Wali (MNW) is stationed in Afghanistan.

Within the TTP, infighting for the sake of power and influence is also frequent. JuA and TTP’s continuous media battle provides ample evidence for this claim. This is not the first instance, a great deal of blood was shed by foot soldiers and fighters, and the TTP split apart into numerous splinter cells, each with their own goals and engaging in turf wars with other cells. This demonstrates that the TTP is nothing more than hired guns, willing to use perverted religious doctrine to sow chaos in order to further their own agenda.

The primary evidence supporting TTP’s dualism is the lack of any observable leaders in suicide attacks, nor their relatives. The leaders themselves, as well as their relatives, are never involved in active warfare or suicide assaults; only the poor, innocent, and frequently dumb people are brainwashed into suicide attacks.

If we look back in history, the TTP’s emergence in Pakistan in 2007 was akin to the resuscitation of Khawarij, a devious violent ideology that kept emerging time to time throughout Islamic history. This ideology originated during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and is historically founded on a violent misreading of Islamic scripture. It persisted occasionally with the only goal of employing a perverted understanding of the Quran to label other Muslims as non-Muslims—a practice known as Takfir. Their main objective has always been to acquire authority and power through coercive measures using Islamic slogans.

The people of Afghanistan and the leadership of the IEA must grasp the stark reality and nefarious intentions of the TTP, which manipulates them to advance its own agendas under the pretense of religion. TTP, a deceitful, brutal, and traitorous terrorist organization, bears no affiliation with Islam, which inherently embodies the principle of peace.

Pakistan Army Striving Beyond the Line of Duty in KP

Pakistan Army Striving Beyond the Line of Duty in KP

Shahzad Masood Roomi

Pakistan has successfully transited through general election process without any security issue despite heightened threat matrix particularly in KP. Terrorists had threatened the peace and stability in the province days before election day. Professionalism of Pakistan Army and other law enforcement agencies under the visionary leadership of COAS Gen Asim Munir ensured complete safety of hundreds of millions of Pakistani who came out to participate their democratic right. Pakistan Army maintained complete vigilance across the country before polling day and quietly prevented many threats by preventing free movement of miscreants.

Effective border management by Pakistan Army and inter agency coordination with sister forces made peaceful elections possible. It also exhibits a strong and courageous character of Pakistanis as nation who completely rejected the narrative of hatred, divide and terror spread by anti-state forces both from within and abroad.

Pakistan Army is the guardian of motherland and ensuring internal and external security is their prime responsibility but in nation building, Pakistan Army always goes beyond the line of duty to ease out lives of common Pakistanis. Recently many such incidents came to the fore where the role of Pakistan Army as social enabler was noticed.

Helping affected individuals and families of landmines, laid by terrorists, is one such example where Pakistan Army with collaboration of FATA Displaced Welfare Organization (FDWO) has been actively involved in rehabilitation efforts of landmine victims. More than 1000 families are being catered for under this collaboration. In this connection, a ceremony was held in Peshawar where more than 50 individuals affected by landmines including 10 women were honored for their resilience and strength. Corps Commander Peshawar Lt Gen Hasan Azhar Hayat was chief guest in this event. He distributed financial aid in the form of cash and laptops to the victims, showcasing the collaborative efforts of the military and civil society in addressing the needs of those affected. Efforts and cooperation of Pakistan Army was highly praised and appreciated by the participants.

Apart from financial help, Pakistan Army is also helping FDWO to procure bionic arms and legs for landmine victims so that their quality of lives can be improved. Pakistan Army medical corps specialists are providing training to victims to use these artificial arms and legs. Regular eye camps, medical camps and disaster relief programs in remote areas in KP and Baluchistan are also part of Pakistan Army’s efforts to serve the nation.

Art and culture plays a key role in promoting soft image and cultural prowess of the country. Here too, Pakistan Army, is making significant contributions in KP. Recently, Commander Pakistan Army Striving Beyond the Line of Duty in KPPakistan Army’s XI corps, has initiated multiple projects in order to preserve rich heritage of the Peshawar city and to promote local telent in arts and crafts. To this end, a project for rejuvenation to re-do historic Qisa Khawani Bazar has been initiated. Similar efforts of beautification and renovation work are being made in business hub known as ‘Saddar bazaar’ and Peshawar cantonment. These work started in November 2023.

“The city where there was an atmosphere of bomb blast and fear a few years ago, now there is prosperity and development will take place without any hindrance.” These were the remarks of Commander XI Corps when he initiated this beautification drive.

Pakistan Army is well aware of tourism potential of KP and is also cognizant about the need of revival of communicationPakistan Army Striving Beyond the Line of Duty in KP facilities in the province to boast tourism industry. To contribute in provincial toruism, Pakistan Army with collaboration of Pakistan Railways and Frontier Corps North, has initiated a plan to revive the historic Mardan – Takht Bhai Railway track to exploit tourism potential of Takht Bhai. Similar plan is under consideration for Peshawar – Landi kotal portion as well. Much needed railway connectivity to these historical sites will surely attract domestic as well as International tourists to KP.

The biggest outcome of Pakistan Army’s continued efforts in KP and NMDs have emerged in growing national cohesion across all factions of society. Despite heated debates, the peaceful process of election is a pleasant reminder of how Pakistan sets itself apart from India by refusing to support extremist groups. The Pakistani electorates have clearly rejected radical religious & ethnic groups, demonstrating that such polarizing narratives are irrelevant in the nation’s democratic environment. Ethnic nationalist, religious card no more works. This is going to have lasting positive impact on national unity and it all began with Pakistan Army’s efforts to confront all anti-state and anti-society elements 2 decades ago who remains ever ready, always vigilant and committed to go extra mile in service of nation. The efforts of Pakistan Army in KP and NDM towards peace and stability, nation building and socioeconomic uplifting must be highlighted with gratitude as these efforts have become text book examples for many countries.

Digital Battlegrounds: Unveiling the Nexus of Social Media, AI, and Modern Warfare

Digital Battlegrounds: Unveiling the Nexus of Social Media, AI, and Modern Warfare

“Truth is the first casualty in war” – Aeschylus

Pakistan has been entrenched in a state of conflict for the last two decades. Following 9/11, a cascade of geopolitical events plunged Pakistan into a vicious cycle of violence and instability. Apart from religiously motivated TTP, some sleeping sidewinders were also resurrected from hibernation like ethno-linguistic led insurgency in Baluchistan, a province that was otherwise quiet on internal security axis since 1970s.  Beyond conventional methods of violence, these organizations have developed sophistication in the tactics of propaganda and misinformation. Social media and other emerging technologies played a crucial role in supporting their psychological operations (Psy-ops) capabilities against the security forces of Pakistan.

It is no secret that social media has become a powerful weapon of warfare in the 21st century. Along with revolutionizing the sources of communication, entertainment and information, social media become tools for manipulation, subversion and deception. This is exactly how religiously and politically extremist organizations have been deploying it. As a tactic of modern warfare; political actors, both state and non-state, use social media for polarization and propaganda campaigns to shape public opinion in their favour and to undermine democracy and human rights.

Hostile intelligence agencies are also actively engaged in this contemporary warfare against Pakistan.  This phenomenon became apparent during recent years when it was revealed that India has established various fake news outlets worldwide and used them to malign Pakistan. These outlets generated tons of propaganda material for online consumption mostly targeting Pakistani masses particularly the young minds through social media.

In warfare and statecraft, propaganda is not a new phenomenon, but social media and now artificial intelligence have propelled it to an unprecedented level of sophistication and scale. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), propaganda can be generated, distributed and tailored to specific audiences and contexts, with minimal human intervention and oversight. AI can also be used to create fake or manipulated content, such as videos, images and texts, that are indistinguishable from reality. These techniques are known as generative AI or deep fakes. These are not assumptions only, there has been cases of this growing trend of using AI along with social media by various actors in different parts of the world.

Some examples of how social media and AI are used for propaganda warfare are:

– In 2023, Venezuelan state media outlets used Synthesia, a company that produces custom deepfakes, to create AI-generated videos of news anchors from a non-existent international English-language channel, spreading pro-government messages.

– In the United States, AI-manipulated videos and images of political leaders circulated on social media, depicting President Biden making transphobic comments and Donald Trump hugging Anthony Fauci.

– In 2023, the U.S. government waged psychological warfare on the nation by adopting fake social media identities and AI-created profile pictures to target and capture potential suspects.

– In 2023, Ukraine became a living lab for AI warfare, as Russian-backed separatists used AI to generate disinformation and propaganda on social media platforms, targeting Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.

– In 2023, ISIS used AI to boost its online recruitment efforts, creating personalized messages and content for potential sympathizers and recruits.

These examples show how social media and AI are reshaping propaganda and disinformation operations in modern warfare. They pose serious challenges to democracy, security and human rights. They also raise ethical and legal questions about the responsibility and accountability of the actors involved, as well as the regulation and verification of online content.

In Pakistan’s context, evidences of extensive use of AI by anti-state organizations are not available, so far, however social media platforms now began offering AI enabled tools. And it is only a matter of time when we will witness manifold increase in anti-state propaganda both in terms of frequency and sophistication. Pakistani state needs counter measures in advance and the nation needs to be aware of this new era of falsehood.

To counter these threats, government, civil society and the private sector should start working together to develop effective strategies and solutions. Some possible measures are:

– Enhancing digital literacy and critical thinking skills among the public, especially the youth, to help them identify and resist propaganda and disinformation.

– Pakistan must raise voice on diplomatic channels for transparency and accountability of social media platforms and AI developers, by requiring them to disclose their sources, methods and algorithms, as well as to monitor and flag harmful or misleading content.

– Developing technical tools and standards for detecting and verifying online content, such as digital watermarks, blockchain-based authentication and independent fact-checking organizations. Government must encourage and support private sector to invest and introduce new social media platforms with infrastructure within Pakistan.

– Pakistan’s foreign policy must strive for strengthening international cooperation and dialogue among stakeholders, by sharing best practices, exchanging information and building trust. China can help Pakistan in this area.

Social media and AI have transformed the nature of modern warfare. They have also created new opportunities for dialogue, participation and empowerment. It is up to us to use them wisely and responsibly.

TTP’s Deception Stands Exposed!

TTP’s Deception Stands Exposed!

Shahzad Masood Roomi

Pakistan’s war against foreign funded terrorists’ origin in Baluchistan and KP continued throughout 2023 as well. Hundreds of sons of soil made ultimate sacrifices in the line of duty to keep the motherland safe from enemy’s nefarious designs. With the help of the Pakistani people, Pakistan LEAs were able to end the terrorist crisis in their country in 2014, and their leadership departed for Afghanistan. They exposed themselves in the process, even if they were able to save their lives there. The following information corroborates this claim. Today, TTP’s main bastion is in Afghanistan right now and it has become harbinger of rift between two brotherly nations who shared strong historic cultural bonds.

As a strategy, TTP leaders are abusing innocent people by intimidation, fear mongering, pressure, and religious manipulation. They have no understanding of Pakistan’s religious, ethical, moral, or cultural values. This explains why they go on murdering sprees across the nation through acts like suicide bombings. By doing such horrible acts, they hope to terrorize the populace into accepting their violent, perverted, and un-Islamic worldview. However, the people of Pakistan are aware of the TTP’s self-serving intentions and their “Fasadi Agenda,” which is why, in spite of numerous horrific incidents, they have been utterly unsuccessful in disguising their political objectives under their shallow Islamic slogans.

The TTP leadership is nothing more than a group of cunning, opportunistic, cowardly, and dishonest manipulators when we look at their actions. These characteristics are used by them to manipulate and employ innocent individuals and foot soldiers in Pakistan as pawns in their evil schemes. Any Pakistani who defends the nation’s customs, laws, and principles is viewed by them as a heretic (Kafir) who should be executed.

TTP commanders are dishonest because, despite promoting their purportedly holy cause, they never take the initiative to command their warriors. While its warriors are engaged in a pointless conflict in Pakistan, the whole leadership—including that of MNW, Mangal Bagh, Muhammad Khorasani, Faqeer Muhammad, and others—is stationed in Afghanistan.

Their cushy life in Afghanistan has made them opportunistic and crafty, while the foot soldiers have been left to face the difficult, unfriendly, and intimidating conditions in Pakistan, where the LEAs eventually remove these terrorists. This is further supported by the recent reconciliation effort with the GoP, in which TTP commanders showed their opportunism by expanding their presence in Pakistan while disguising themselves as part of the process.

The cowardice exhibited by TTP leaders is apparent in their unwillingness to lead the alleged Jehad in Pakistan, as seen by their recent executions.

Their manipulations and duplicity are evident when they target and entice impoverished Afghan nationals for what they claim to be Jehad in Afghanistan, blatantly disregarding the fatwas of eminent Islamic scholars from all religious sects. By doing this, TTP commanders are trying to achieve two goals: first, they are using religious manipulation to recruit fighters from Afghanistan for terrorism in Pakistan; second, they are stoking tensions between IEA and Pakistan in order to further their evil plans. They would have enough room to operate safely from Afghanistan thanks to the divide and mistrust between the two states. TTP knows full well that if both nations.
The TTP is well aware that their days are limited if both nations band together to fight this threat. Their act of betrayal and dishonesty is to instill mistrust in order to prevent such a situation.

Within the TTP, infighting for the sake of power and influence is also frequent. JuA and TTP’s continuous media battle provides ample evidence for this claim. This is not the first instance that it has occurred. A great deal of blood was shed by foot soldiers and fighters, and the TTP split apart into numerous splinter cells, each with their own goal and engaging in turf wars with other cells. This demonstrates that the TTP is nothing more than hired guns, willing to use perverted religious doctrine to sow chaos in order to further their own agenda.

The primary evidence supporting TTP’s dualism is the lack of any observable leaders in suicide attacks, nor their relatives. The leaders themselves, as well as their relatives, are never involved active warfare or suicide assaults; only the poor, innocent, and frequently dumb people are brainwashed into suicide attacks.

If we look back in history, The TTP’s emergence in Pakistan in 2007 was akin to the resuscitation of Khawarij, a devious violent ideology that kept emerging time to time throughout Islamic history. This ideology originated during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and is historically founded on a violent misreading of Islamic scripture. It persisted occasionally, and their sole goal has been to employ a perverted understanding of the Quran to label other Muslims as non-Muslims—a practice known as Takfir. Their main objective has always been to acquire authority and power through coercive measures using Islamic slogans.

The people of Afghanistan and the leadership of the IEA must comprehend the terrible reality and intentions of the TTP, which is using them to further its own agendas under the guise of religion. TTP is devious, cruel and treacherous terrorist outfit which has nothing to do with our great religion Islam which literally means “Peace”.

Education's Strong Role in Countering Radicalization

Education’s Strong Role in Countering Radicalization

Shahzad Masood Roomi
Religious, ethnic and linguistic radicalization is a growing challenge in many third-world countries, and Pakistan is no exception to this. When in a society, such radicalization meets with socio-economic degradation, the result always is a national catastrophe. This is exactly what has transpired in Pakistan in the last 2 decades. Existing fault lines on sectarian, ethnic and linguistic lines were triggered by anti-state hostile forces taking advantage of poor socio-economic profile. Young minds in KP and Baluchistan have been the main victims of religious and ethnic radicalization.
Poverty, lack of quality education, and a weaker sense of ownership of the state acted as catalysts providing a conducive environment for hostile forces to cultivate the next wave of foot Religious, ethnic and linguistic radicalization is a growing challenge in many third-world countries, and Pakistan is no exception to thissoldiers through radicalization. One of the root causes of radicalization in Pakistan is the inadequate investment and focus on the education system. Even after 76 years of independence, Pakistan’s total federal-level spending on education is below 2% of GDP. The situation in smaller provinces like KP is even more deplorable. According to international standards set by the UN, minimum allocation for education must be equal to 4% of GDP.
Consequently, the education system across Pakistan has failed to tackle extremism tendencies among youth and promote pluralism and diversity in society which allowed the radicalization to grow on all axes; religious, ethnic and linguistic.
Despite all these challenges, the Pakistan Army has undertaken a tireless effort in its war against radicalization through education. Pakistan Army restored the destroyed educational infrastructure in KP and in Newly Merged Districts (NMDs). Its work is even more commendable as not only it builds new education infrastructure but also specifically runs anti-radicalization programs for captured militants. The services of professional psychiatrists were sought in this regard. After initial de-radicalization phase, these young minds were equipped with vocational training where they were taught various Religious, ethnic and linguistic radicalization is a growing challenge in many third-world countries, and Pakistan is no exception to thispractical skills so that they could contribute towards a peaceful society and earn for their families as well. It is a noteworthy fact that these efforts of Pakistan Army, along with civilian institutions, were going on in parallel with its anti-terrorist campaign across the country.
Despite these efforts, there are structural issues with the education system in Pakistan which need to be sorted out as quickly as possible by the elected government as it will require a multi-department effort.
The most prominent issue is parallel education systems. Many schools in the country are madrasas that offer only Islamic education. Such institutions, at times, propagate extremist ideologies that sow the seeds of radicalization in the minds of young students. Moreover, the public education system is marred by a lack of resources, poor infrastructure and low-quality education.
Apart from additional investment in education at higher secondary, secondary and primary levels, it is essential to have a pool of professional trainers for the teachers. Universities are also among places from where political violent ideologies and ethnic radicalization take place. Promoting interfaith and inter-ethnic dialogue is the need of the hour. Discipline is an obvious imperative but at the same time, students must be provided platforms to express their views and emotion on important developments and events in the country.
Poverty, unemployment, and social inequalities serve as catalysts in fueling extremist tendencies and a radical mindset. While education alone cannot fully address this complex problem, it can play a crucial role in empowering individuals and communities to confront the root causes of radicalization. The real difference will be made by social justice and economic prosperity. To this end, the government must create a political consensus for long-term economic development and socioeconomic uplift programs.
Another critical aspect missing in Pakistan’s educational system is its irrelevance to emerging marketplaces. The focus must be put on creating a strong vocational education system that can put less privileged youth on jobs at a quick time before their minds can be captured and radicalized. This was the vision behind the Pakistan Army’s drive for vocational training programs for young minds in NMDs of KP. Such programs must be spread across the country. Not only it will help in creating economic opportunities for youth it will also play a critical role in creating a sense of ownership in their mind for the country.
One major aspect of countering radicalization through education is promoting media literacy and digital citizenship. In today’s interconnected world, young people are exposed to a wide range of online content that may contain extremist messages or hate speech. Therefore, it is crucial to educate them on how to critically evaluate sources of information, verify facts, and engage in respectful online discourse. This can be done through school curricula, community outreach programs, and public awareness campaigns. But for all this to take place, first government must take political ownership of this drive.
Furthermore, overcoming the resistance to societal changes through education, like gender equality, from conservative religious groups, is critical. These groups oppose any changes in social order as they perceive modern education as Western or secular. To address this challenge, the federal government needs to engage in a national dialogue on the role of education in shaping its future identity and aspirations. This dialogue should involve representatives from all sectors of society, including religious leaders, civil society organizations, youth, women, business associations, and academia.
Finally, it must be understood that any durable change in a social order affected by religious, ethnic and linguistic radical ideologies is a time-consuming process. There is no quick fix hence such an enterprise would require a very long-term political commitment and ownership from federal government and provincial governments. Only education can solve Pakistan’s current and future problems as an illiterate and radicalized society is a threat both to the world and to itself!

Social Media, AI and Propaganda Warfare

Social Media, AI and Propaganda Warfare: Ugly Face of Modern Warfare

Shahzad Masood Roomi

“Truth is the first casualty in war” – Aeschylus

Pakistan has been in state of war since last 2 decades. The string of geopolitical events triggered in the region, post 9/11, pushed Pakistan into a vicious cycle of violence and instability. During this period, apart from religiously motivated TTP, some sleeping sidewinders were also resurrected from hibernation like ethno-linguistic led insurgency in Baluchistan, a province that was otherwise quiet on internal security axis since 1970s.  Apart from usual means of violence, these organizations got sophistication in the art of propaganda and misinformation. Social media and related emerging technologies came to their aid in this psy-op against the security forces of Pakistan.

It is no secret that social media has become a powerful weapon of warfare in the 21st century. It is not only a platform for communication, entertainment and information, but also a tool for manipulation, deception and influence. This is exactly how TTP and BLA have been deploying it. Social media is their biggest tool for recruitment, disinformation psy-ops and anti-state propaganda.

In modern warfare, political actors, both state and non-state, use social media to spread propaganda and disinformation, to shape public opinion, to sow doubt and division, and to undermine democracy and human rights. This phenomenon became visible in Pakistan when India launched multiple fake news outlets around the world to malign Pakistan. These outlets generated tons of propaganda material on internet as well which was disseminated to Pakistani masses particularly to young minds through social media.

In warfare and statecraft, propaganda is not a new phenomenon, but social media has enabled it to reach unprecedented levels of sophistication and scale.Social Media, AI and Propaganda Warfare With the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), propaganda can be generated, distributed and tailored to specific audiences and contexts, with minimal human intervention and oversight. AI can also be used to create fake or manipulated content, such as videos, images and texts, that are indistinguishable from reality. These techniques are known as generative AI or deep fakes. These are not assumptions only, there has been cases of this growing trend of using AI along with Social media by various actors in different parts of the world.

Some examples of how social media and AI are used for propaganda warfare are:

– In 2023, Venezuelan state media outlets used Synthesia, a company that produces custom deepfakes, to create AI-generated videos of news anchors from a nonexistent international English-language channel, spreading pro-government messages.Social Media, AI and Propaganda Warfare: Ugly Face of Modern Warfare

– In the United States, AI-manipulated videos and images of political leaders circulated on social media, depicting President Biden making transphobic comments and Donald Trump hugging Anthony Fauci.

– In 2023, the U.S. government waged psychological warfare on the nation by adopting fake social media identities and AI-created profile pictures to surveil, target and capture potential suspects.

– In 2023, Ukraine became a living lab for AI warfare, as Russian-backed separatists used AI to generate disinformation and propaganda on social media platforms, targeting Ukrainian soldiers and civilians.

– In 2023, ISIS used AI to boost its online recruitment efforts, creating personalized messages and content for potential sympathizers and recruits.

These examples show how social media and AI are reshaping propaganda and disinformation operations in modern warfare. They pose serious challenges for democracy, security and human rights. They also raise ethical and legal questions about the responsibility and accountability of the actors involved, as well as the regulation and verification of online content.

In the specific context of Pakistan, AI is not being used extensively by anti-state organizations on social media but as social media platforms now have begun offering AI enabled tools, it is only a matter of time when we will witness manifold increase in anti-state propaganda both in terms of frequency and sophistication. Pakistani state needs to prepare itself and the nation to be aware of this new era of falsehood.

To counter these threats, government, civil society and the private sector need to work together to develop effective strategies and solutions. Some possible measures are:

– Enhancing digital literacy and critical thinking skills among the public, especially the youth, to help them identify and resist propaganda and disinformation.

– Pakistan must raise voice on diplomatic channels for transparency and accountability of social media platforms and AI developers, by requiring them to disclose their sources, methods and algorithms, as well as to monitor and flag harmful or misleading content.

– Developing technical tools and standards for detecting and verifying online content, such as digital watermarks, blockchain-based authentication and independent fact-checking organizations. Government must encourage and support private sector to invest and introduce new social media platforms with infrastructure within Pakistan.

– Pakistan’s foreign policy must strive for strengthening international cooperation and dialogue among stakeholders, by sharing best practices, exchanging information and building trust. China can help Pakistan in this area.

Social media and AI have transformed the nature of modern warfare. They have also created new opportunities for dialogue, participation and empowerment. It is up to us to use them wisely and responsibly.

Pakistan war on terror and national resilience

Pakistan’s War on Terror: The Valiant Army and National Resilience

Pakistan’s War on Terror: The Valiant Leadership of the Army and National Resilience

Shahzad Masood Roomi

Freedom is precious for every nation and this is something every state protects jealously but meaning of freedom becomes inexplicably esteemed when it has been earned based on a sacred ideology. Pakistan is the only exception in the world in this regard. Since 1947, Pakistani nation has faced and embraced countless challenges as a price for its freedom. Every challenge has only reinforced its resolve to not let go this freedom which was earned and sustained, till date, with blood and tears. This national resolve manifested in the form of world’s 5th largest military machine which is only 7th on planet equipped with strategic arsenal.

9/11 changed the world, but it transformed Pakistan completely from security perspective. Despite not being involved in this fateful incident, Pakistan’s geography brought the disastrous outcome to its doorstep once global war on terror instantiated some 2 decades ago. Al-Qaeda and its allied Afghan Taliban were the target of this war and Pakistan became frontline ally recognizing the global call for justice after UNSC resolutions.

Since 2002, Pakistan has been at the forefront of the global War on Terror, combating extremism and terrorism within its borders. This multifaceted conflict has seen the Pakistan Army emerge as a crucial player in the fight against various insurgent and terrorist groups. The officers of the Pakistan Army have displayed exemplary leadership, facing unprecedented challenges with courage and determination.

From the mountainous terrains of the tribal areas to the urban battlefields, Pakistan Army officers have led from the frontlines, demonstrating a commitment to safeguarding their nation. Their dedication is evident in numerous counter-terrorism operations, such as Operation Zarb-e-Azb and Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad, which aimed to eliminate terrorist networks and establish lasting peace. Their intelligence-driven operations have not only disrupted terrorist networks but have also dismantled their infrastructure, disrupting their ability to launch attacks.

The Pakistan Army’s leadership has been instrumental in implementing comprehensive counterinsurgency strategies. Understanding the importance of winning hearts and minds, they have actively engaged with local communities, fostering trust and cooperation. This approach has not only facilitated intelligence gathering but has also contributed to the rehabilitation of affected areas.

Moreover, the army officers have been instrumental in training and mentoring local law enforcement agencies, equipping them with the skills needed to combat terrorism independently. This collaborative effort underscores the commitment to creating a sustainable and secure environment.

These valiant sons of the soil have showcased strategic acumen, adapting to evolving threats and employing innovative tactics, and above all the willingness of making ultimate sacrifice to protect nation’s freedom and honor. The war on terror has exacted a heavy toll on the Pakistan Army, with many officers making the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. So far, hundreds of Pakistan Army officers have made this sacrifice along with thousands of Jawans. Latest addition in the list was Lt. Colonel Muhammad Hassan who embraced Shahdat along with a SSG troop on November 5th, 2023 in Tirah Vellay in Khyber district of KPK when terrorists ambushed.

Their resolute pledge and acts of valor have not gone unnoticed by the Pakistani nation. The sacrifices of these officers have become a symbol of resilience and determination, fostering a sense of national unity. The sacrifices made by the Pakistan Army have resonated deeply with the nation. The people have rallied behind their armed forces, recognizing the critical role they play in preserving the country’s stability. Tributes and expressions of gratitude for the fallen heroes have become commonplace, reflecting a collective acknowledgment of the army’s dedication to the nation’s security.

The public’s support is not merely symbolic; it extends to practical initiatives. Civil-military cooperation has been instrumental in relief efforts, rehabilitation projects, and the provision of medical and psychological support to the families of martyred soldiers. This unity is a powerful force against the divisive tactics employed by terrorist organizations.

Winning the war on terror is not just a military objective for Pakistan; it is an existential necessity. The eradication of extremist elements is crucial for fostering economic growth, attracting foreign investment, and ensuring the well-being of the population. Additionally, a stable and secure Pakistan is essential for regional peace and security. Pakistani nation is standing behind its brave and resolute army because it is aware of the fact that wars are fought and won by nations through national struggle and Pakistani nation will emerge victorious in this ruthless war because its sons in uniform are ready to make every sacrifice to fulfill the aspirations of this great nation!

Iqbal and Muslim Ummah

Iqbal’s Message for Youth

Iqbal’s Message for Youth
Shahzad Masood Roomi

Dr. Muhammad Iqbal, also known as Allama Iqbal, was a renowned poet, philosopher, and thinker of the Indian subcontinent. His profound and insightful poetry, deeply rooted in Islamic spirituality and universal human values, has had a profound impact on generations of readers and continues to resonate with people around the world. Iqbal’s message, particularly for youth, is one of self-discovery, empowerment, and social transformation.

Iqbal viewed youth as the driving force of progress and societal change hence it is no surprise that youth is the target of his message for call of action. He believed that young people possess immense potential to shape their own destinies and contribute meaningfully to the world around them. His poetry is replete with exhortations for youth to break free from the shackles of conformity, embrace self-reliance, and pursue their aspirations with unwavering determination. He believed that for youth to excel, the first and foremost thing they must do is to get out of their comfort zones both mentally and physically. Only then, Iqbal believed, they can be source of native ideas to bring around a lasting change.

Among his works for youth, one of Iqbal’s most powerful messages for youth is the concept of “Khudi” or “self.” It is an invitation of rediscovery for young minds of enslaved Indian subcontinent during the early 20th century. Khudi, in Iqbal’s philosophy, is the essence of selfhood, the spark of individuality that distinguishes each person and holds the key to personal growth and fulfillment. Iqbal urged youth to cultivate their Khudi, to recognize their unique potential, and to strive for self-actualization. He declared Khudi an instrument of spiritual elevation of a person’s inner believes so high that he can write the destiny of whole generation.

Iqbal’s concept of Khudi is not merely about personal ambition or self-aggrandizement. It is about understanding one’s place in the universe, recognizing one’s unique talents and abilities, and utilizing them for the betterment of oneself and society. Khudi is not a static concept; it is a dynamic process of self-discovery and growth.

Iqbal’s relevance in present times and his message being a guiding light for contemporary youth is evident from the fact that today’s world is being led by individuals who recognized and embraced their individuality and developed it.

Iqbal’s message for youth remains as relevant today as it was in his own time. In an era of globalization, rapid technological advancements, and societal complexities, young people face unprecedented challenges and opportunities. Iqbal’s poetry offers a guiding light, illuminating the path towards self-discovery, personal excellence, and meaningful engagement with the world. If we look at modern age developments in business and technological world, we see the world is being shaped by inventions of individuals who excelled on their gifted talents and didn’t rely on educational institutions. They have created business and technological empires through their higher and unique ideas alone.

Iqbal have used the Eagle (Shaheen) as a metaphor in his message to young minds. He says if youth wants to see its true potential, they must have ideas as high as flight of Shaheen.

In a world often consumed by materialism and instant gratification, Iqbal’s emphasis on self-reliance, intellectual pursuit, and moral integrity provides a refreshing perspective. His call for social justice, human dignity, and the pursuit of knowledge resonates deeply with the aspirations of contemporary youth.

Iqbal’s poetry encourages youth to embark on a journey of self-discovery, to explore their inner potential, and to cultivate the qualities necessary for personal excellence. He reminds them that true fulfillment lies not in external achievements but in the development of a strong, resilient, and compassionate self.

Allama Iqbal’s legacy extends far beyond his literary works. His profound insights into human nature, his unwavering faith in humanity’s potential, and his unwavering commitment to social justice continue to inspire and empower individuals around the world. His message for youth, particularly his emphasis on self-discovery, self-reliance, and social responsibility, remains as relevant today as it was in his own time. Iqbal’s poetry serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration, urging youth to embrace their potential, contribute meaningfully to society, and strive for a better future for all.

Shahzad Masood Roomi

Pakistan’s Prevailing Security Challenges & Forces’ resolve against Militancy

Pakistan is located at a geographical position that is considered the eye of geopolitical storm in the region. On one side, the country is surrounded by a strategic black hole known as Afghanistan while on the other side a 5 times larger neighbor with whom Pakistan has the world’s longest unresolved conflict. To make the matters worse this neighbor (India) is being run by communal hooligans openly threatening Pakistan for their political objectives. This situation has created complex national security challenges for Pakistan many of which have historic roots outside Pakistan e.g Kashmir, terrorism etc.

            Corollary of above mentioned complex geopolitical milieu is that today Pakistan faces a range of security challenges, both internal and external. These challenges are complex and multifaceted, and they have direct and detrimental implications for the country’s security, regional stability, and economic development.

            On Internal axis, below are most concerning prevailing security challenges:

            TTP’s religious terrorism: The Taliban insurgency has been a major challenge for Pakistan, particularly in the border regions with Afghanistan.

            BLA’s ethnic separatism and Terrorism:  Ethnic Baloch separatism which morphed into terrorism has been a long-standing challenge for Pakistan, with separatist groups seeking greater autonomy or independence for the Balochistan province.

            Sectarian extremism: Pakistan has been facing sectarian extremism, which has resulted in violence and instability. Like terrorism, this challenge also has its tentacles outside Pakistan.

            Lack of Political cohesion: Political divide in Pakistan has took an unfortunate violent turn during last 2 years. Incidents like targeted killings and attacks on political opponents, clashes between political workers and civilian security forces, and finally incidents like May 9th 2023 has emerged as new challenge for the state of Pakistan.

            Socio-economic challenges: Economic viability of all factions is a fundamental requirement for a peaceful nation state. Unfortunately, Pakistan’s prolonged failure to overcome its economic challenges, corruption, nepotism, and lack of accountability has torn the social fabric and resulted in growing incidents of law and order, and civil disobedience (reference of protests over electricity bills).

            On the external front, Pakistan has been battling many security challenges which unfortunately have grown in scale and intensity overtime. India Pakistan conflict over Kashmir has been the longest outstanding issue on UNSC agenda and the most concerning security challenge for the country as Kashmir is critical for Pakistan’s survival. Pakistan’s agri based economy depends on water coming from Kashmir where India has already initiated a ruthless hydrological assault on Pakistan by building multiple reservoirs on Pakistani rivers. In short, Kashmir has morphed into a bigger economic challenge in the long term from a territorial conflict. A nation can sustain itself with a prolonged territorial conflict but only if it is not linked with its long-term economic viability. This situation demands a quick settlement of this issue between Islamabad and New Delhi. For Pakistan the biggest challenge is the regime reining New Delhi. BJP/RSS Hindutva inspired regime has been using historic Indo-Pakistan rivalry and domestic anti-Muslim communal tactics to further its politics. Both countries came to the brink of a full blown war in 2019 when a false flag terrorist attack took place over Indian occupied forces in illegally Indian occupied Kashmir and India launched air raids on mainland Pakistan for the first time after 1971. Pakistani response was swift and prevented India from establishing a “new normal” similar to Israel’s complete dominance over Iraqi and Syrian air spaces.

            In the short to medium term, Afghanistan has emerged a strategic black hole for Pakistan pulling Pakistan’s future into darkness in economic security terms. The relationship between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been strained due to issues such as cross-border terrorism and the presence of militant groups in the border regions. This has led to increased tensions between the two countries, which can negatively impact regional stability.

            Both India and Afghanistan are involved in backing terrorism in Pakistan from Chiral to Balochistan. Traditionally, India and Iran were involved in supporting terror activities on Pakistani soil, now Afghan interim government is allowing TTP and BLA to operate from Afghanistan freely against Pakistan. Pakistan has repeatedly asked Kabul to abide by Doha agreement where it was ensured that interim Afghan Taliban government will not allow the use of Afghanistan as launch pad against any other country. Today, Afghan Taliban maintain close ties with many elements of TTP posing a threat to regional and national security. This is creating a serious law and order situation in Pakistan by increasing the frequency and intensity of terrorism in Pakistan.

            As a response, Pakistan has made it clear that its fight against foreign sponsored and supported terrorism will continue but at the same time Afghanistan will have to play its part.

            “Terrorism has no place in Pakistan, and the involvement of Afghan nationals in terrorist incidents in Pakistan is detrimental to regional peace, stability, and deviation from the Doha peace agreement by the interim Afghan government,” COAS Gen. Asim Munir said at a meeting with tribal elders in Peshawar earlier this year. He also pointed out Afghanistan’s failure in eliminating sanctuaries available to banned outfits. COAS’s resolve was seconded by Pakistani foreign office where another problematic angle of Afghanistan’s bound terrorism was highlighted i.e “large amount of weaponry” available in Afghanistan which is being used by Afghan Taliban to run undocumented parallel economy. They are selling the weapons left behind by NATO/US to highest bidders. These weapons and military accessories have appeared in large amount with TTP/BLA militant in recent months. The foreign backers of TTP/BLA are the reason why there is no end to Pakistan’s war on terror. It has been more than 22 years since Pakistan initiated its war against terror. Though Pakistan has uprooted the large scale infrastructure of terrorism on its soil, terrorism in Pakistan continues with varying intensity and frequency in the Pakistan. This terrorism in Pakistan is mainly linked with situation in Afghanistan, a country that has provided safe havens to TTP and BLA and has become a bigger security concern for Islamabad than Pakistan’s arch rival.   In the latest episode of this Afghanistan based terrorism in Pakistan at least four security personal embraced martyrdom while more than 16 terrorists were eliminated earlier in the month. Terrorists’ attempts to enter Pakistan from Afghanistan were foiled by troops deployed along the border with Afghanistan. This was not an isolated incident but part of a continuous terror campaign by foreign proxies like TTP. As per reports, half of the current year witnessed a steady and alarming rise in terror and suicide attacks, claiming the lives of 389 people across the country. Use of sophisticated weapons like sniper gun and automatic assault rifles has increased manifold in such incidents.

            Islamabad, during this month, has for the first time said that there was also involvement of Afghan citizens in terror attacks in Pakistan. Pakistani authorities have also urged Kabul for action against TTP and BLA many times already. Involvement of Afghan citizen in acts of terrorism in Pakistan is a dimension that has added complexity in Pakistan’s bilateral relations with Kabul.

            Apart from these kinetic security challenges, Pakistan is also facing an array of threats which fall in the category of Non-traditional security challenges. These include macroeconomic instability, climate change, cyber security, and food, energy and water insecurity. These challenges can have significant implications for the country’s security and viability.

            To address these security challenges, Pakistan needs to implement measures addressing the root causes of these challenges. Most importantly, it must be understood that not all security challenges are of kinetic nature and require a non-kinetic approach especially threats the state is facing from internal axis like economic mismanagement and political instability. Pakistan army has been making colossal sacrifices since more than last 2 decades and still there is no end to this war in foreseeable future unless Pakistan make Afghanistan fulfill her own promises to world or go all out against this menace in that country. But in order to do that, first pakistan needs to put house in order, heal and recover from internal conflicts. To address socio-economic challenges, solving political crisis is paramount. Pakistan needs a sustainable and growing economy not only to meet the needs of growing population but also to keep our traditional rivals and emerging opponents at bay. A strong army marches on a strong economy and economic stability demands political stability and continuity of policies. These measures are essential to ensure that all the blood Pakistan’s valiant sons have spilled over the decades don’t go wasted!