It’s Fifth Generation Warfare To Describe Imran Khan As Fascist
Many Pakistanis feel that something is very wrong with incumbent Prime Minister Sharif’s description of his predecessor’s government as a “fascist regime” but can’t quite put their finger on it or feel uncomfortable calling it what it is: 5GW waged against them by their own leader for purely partisan purposes.
Fifth Generation Warfare (5GW), which can also be described as Hybrid Warfare, generally refers to the non-kinetic/non-military means that are employed by a foreign state to destabilize a targeted one. These importantly include information warfare and the increasingly creative narratives that are associated with such campaigns. Pakistan has long been targeted by 5GW due to its geostrategic position, which is why The Establishment – which refers to that country’s powerful military-intelligence structures – invested heavily in informing the masses about this over the years so that they can defend their homeland from such threats. Nowadays, however, the 5GW attacks against it are coming from within and being launched to advance a purely partisan aim. The worst part is that those participating in this campaign don’t realize how counterproductive it is to their country’s national security interests.
Everything began in the run-up to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ouster from office through the opposition’s ultimately successful no-confidence motion against him. He described that sequence of events as a US-orchestrated regime change against him as punishment for his independent foreign policy, especially its RRussian dimension, while the new authorities insisted that it was a purely constitutional process and therefore entirely legal. The weeks since have seen the former premier inspire some of the largest rallies in his country’s history. He also shattered the world record for the most popular Twitter Spaces session. Pakistan is now in the throes of a major political crisis that can objectively be described as a revolution after former Prime Minister Khan declared the formation of a new freedom movement whose followers will soon descend from all across the country onto the capital.
The grassroots appeal of his patriotic, pro-sovereignty, and national security narratives broke The Establishment’s prior monopoly on them and thus heralded a new socio-political (soft security) era for the country. Instead of pragmatically going with the flow and trying to regain partial control of these dynamic by extending credence to some of his interpretations, the new authorities fiercely pushed back against all of this in increasingly wild ways that included dehumanizing the former premier’s supporters as so-called “bots” and even describing him as a so-called “fascist”. Not only has this proven to be completely counterproductive to their cause of delegitimizing his narratives since all that it did was further embolden his supporters by convincing them that there’s indeed an actual conspiracy at play against them personally, but it also crucially eroded Pakistan’s national security at home and abroad.
To explain, newly inaugurated Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s description of his predecessor’s government as a so-called “fascist regime” amounted to the blowing of a dog whistle intended to signal to his allied media that they should maximally amplify this false narrative in a desperate attempt to delegitimize the former premier and his supporters. In other words, it represented the onset of an information warfare campaign, which thus makes it an example of 5GW, albeit one that’s being waged for purely partisan reasons and by none other than the new Prime Minister himself. The incumbent leader’s 5GW against his own people is unprecedented and took many by surprise since it was unexpected that someone in his position would ever do such a thing, especially after The Establishment spent years informing everyone of how dangerous such infowars can be.
Without realizing it, Prime Minister Sharif just discredited millions of his own people but also nearly the last four years of Pakistani policy. His emotional description, which he probably didn’t put any thought into before expressing otherwise he likely wouldn’t have shared it, made it impossible for there to be any civilized discourse between the feuding political sides since he implied that they’re genocidal racists. Even worse, his careless description discredited everything that former Prime Minister Khan ever did on the world stage, including his famous description of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a fascist while speaking at the UN General Assembly in September 2019. No Pakistani leader has ever done more for the Kashmiri cause than former Prime Minister Khan, yet incumbent Prime Minister Sharif regards all of that and more as nothing but the illegitimate actions of a so-called “fascist regime”.
By innuendo, it’s implied that his team plans to reverse everything that their “fascist” predecessor did, which raises questions about the new authorities’ stance towards Kashmir as well as the speculative scenario of hosting US bases after former Prime Minister Khan famously said “absolutely not” in response to a question about that last summer. After all, if the former premier presided over a so-called “fascist regime” that’s therefore presumed to have been “illegitimate” due to that extremely specific description of it, then it naturally follows that his supposedly “anti-fascist” replacement will dismantle everything that his predecessor did. This has enormous national security implications since the Kashmir Conflict is inextricably connected to Pakistan’s security. It also makes one wonder whether incumbent Prime Minister Sharif will revise his predecessor’s newly promulgated National Security Policy too.
That document eschewed geopolitics in favour of geo-economics, explicitly stating that “Pakistan’s geo-economic pivot is focused on enhancing trade and economic ties through connectivity that links Central Asia to our warm waters.” This means that relations with Russia are also of extremely high importance for Pakistan since that part of the world is traditionally regarded as being within that country’s so-called “sphere of influence”. For that reason, it’s all the more uncomfortable that the new authorities haven’t clarified anything about the deal that former Prime Minister Khan claimed that he was negotiating with Russia to receiver a 30% discount on agricultural and energy imports. This raises suspicions that that they might be seeking to reverse that dimension of the former premier’s “fascist” foreign policy, which in turn fuels speculation that they’re operating under US influence at the expense of national interests.
That’s because the deal that former Prime Minister Khan spoke about would objectively be in Pakistan’s national interests since this massive country desperately needs more food and fuel, especially at discounted prices, in order to weather the global agricultural and energy crises. Potentially doing away with that deal without having a better one to clinch with someone else instead would therefore be against Pakistan’s objective national interests, but it might be “justified” on a false “anti-fascist” pretext considering the ridiculous description that incumbent Prime Minister Sharif shared about his predecessor. In terms of 5GW, this “anti-fascist” infowar against former Prime Minister Khan fulfills the purpose of distracting the public from potential foreign policy decisions that might arguably be against the national interest, whether abandoning the deal with Russia or discrediting criticism of Indian policy.
This campaign is also actually fascist itself since it aims to dehumanize his supporters as nothing but so-called “bots” exactly as all fascist infowars throughout history have sought to do to their opponents. Once someone and their movement are described as “fascist”, those who labelled them as such feel morally superior and that they have the right to do whatever is needed – including that which would be regarded as immoral if done to anyone other than a so-called “fascist” – to fight against this so-called “evil”. It’s already dangerous enough that the incumbent Prime Minister discredited millions of his own people as “fascists” but it’s even worse that he also unwittingly discredited everything that Pakistan did on the world stage over nearly the past four years under the previous Prime Minister. This includes describing Indian Prime Minister Modi as fascist, the reported Russia deal, and declining US bases.
Pakistanis are very informed people who paid close attention when their respected Establishment informed them about 5GW threats to their country. Many feel that something is very wrong with incumbent Prime Minister Sharif’s description of his predecessor’s government as a “fascist regime” but can’t quite put their finger on it or feel uncomfortable calling it what it is: 5GW waged against them by their own leader for purely partisan purposes. This is unprecedented and also very dangerous since it threatens the country’s national security at home and abroad if this description is exploited as a pretext to crack down on the former premier’s supporters and/or to reverse his foreign policy over the past four years, especially towards India, Russia, and the US. Hopefully incumbent Prime Minister Sharif will realize how counterproductive his description was and will ask allied media to stop amplifying it.