National security dynamics & political follies | By Dr Amir Ullah Khan


National security dynamics & political follies

POLITICS is dynamic in nature and revolves around either personal or national interests. Politicians or political pundits usually keep the former supreme; while the security institutions – military and security intelligence agencies – of any country keep the latter supreme and go to any extent to safeguard such interests and to ensure national security.

The concept of security is an intricate phenomenon and beyond the understanding of a common man or a street guy; and the security engineers and thinkers can interpret an issue either as a traditional (military) or non-traditional (non-military) existential threat to the people in any part of a country.

The politically elected government and security agencies – both civil and military – collectively counter such threats to protect the Referent Object (an object to whom threat is posed).

Pakistan since its inception has been thrown in the quagmire of both traditional and non-traditional security threats.

From traditional security perspective, Pakistan inherited very feeble defence system due to uneven and unjust distribution of defence resources between Pakistan and India as a result of Red Cliff Award.

In addition, Pakistan had also threats on its Eastern border from India and Western border from Afghanistan.

The security engineers and policy makers in Pakistan were left with no option except to enter into some Defence Pacts like SEATO and CENTO with other countries, especially with America to strengthen its defence system so as to counter external aggression during Cold War.

America had its own national interests; and it wanted to counter the growing influence of former Soviet Union in South Asia.

However, in the initial decade of independence of Pakistan the political leaders badly failed to understand the national security dynamics to bring pet in political stability in the country; and the political leaders used all means to enter corridors of power.

The legislature always posed the scenario of a pandemonium instead of Legislative-cum-Constituent Assembly.

The former Soviet Union military expedition in Afghanistan further brought closer America and Pakistan.

After the disintegration of former Soviet Union and end of Cold War, America left Afghanistan, its war-torn people and war-lords (it had funded and trained) at the mercy of circumstances.

In such a regional security environment, Pakistan had no other option except to accept the Taliban regime — once freedom fighters for America against former Soviet Union.

The post 9/11 security dynamics were totally changed and were not easy to understand. Pakistan army and its security agencies were at war with unidentified enemies.

Suicide bombers of all ages and nationalities rushed to Pakistan and started targeting the civilians and security forces and their offices.

The people of Pakistan especially people in Pakhtoon belt have suffered a lot in terms of life, shelter, and money.

The tribal people of Pakistan had to leave their homes due to various military operations launched in various areas to target the militant and their hideouts so as to clear those areas from them and to bring normalcy and peace for local people.

The political parties except Jamat-e-Islami and Tehreek-e-Insaf are dynastic in nature. A few families controlled the strings of political parties in Pakistan; and their leadership ignored the street-born political leadership in the mainstream politics of the country.

This is the gross violation of democratic norms because democracy within the political parties are lacking.

The ideological politics is also missing in the political culture of the country. A common Pakistani is confused to whom he has to follow because in the political market of the country, several factions with the same slogans and manifesto are available.

Every political party tries to sell its own food by throwing mud in the eyes of poor tax-payers.

Keeping in view the poor democratic basis of the political parties, political parties (no need to name any party)are left to no option except to target Pakistan military as an institution for political scoring and concealing.

They badly failed to turn Pakistan into a social welfare state. They introduced such a violent and indecent political culture which is against the socio-cultural values of the country and Islamic teachings.

Ironically, the leaders of political parties in Pakistan are aristocrats and living a luxurious life on the money of poor Pakistani-taxpayers and also have luxurious residencies outside Pakistan for their families.

It is not bewildering that the leaders and workers of these political parties always raised fingers on each other and tried to declare them as kleptocrats.

These pseudo-democratic political parties (of diverse manifestoes) gathered under the umbrella of Pakistan Democratic Movement against PTI-led government and successfully ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan from office.

These parties used very foul and non-parliamentary language against Pakistan Army, its Chief, and intelligence agencies in past.

No change is a positive development that the historical arch-rival political parties came under a single banner.

The solidarity of this Alliance is a litmus test for these political parties. In the current political scenario, PTI leadership started to target army and tried to politicise its role which is very alarming for the national security.

It is also the U-Turn on the part of PTI leadership that it would not target its army. Any political party that tries to target military institution will be tantamount to bulldoze the sacrifices of the Jawans (officers and soldiers) of Pakistan army and its security agencies.

Nothing is permanent in politics.

However, the political parties and their leadership and workers must think as Pakistanis and must avoid to target Pakistan Army and its security agencies because in these institutions their own brothers and sisters are employed who never bother to sacrifice their lives and families for their motherland and national security; and it is the time to stop such political follies.

—The writer is Editor of Journal of Political & Security Studies, ICP & Member of Editorial Board of Journal of Wallacea, University of Western Australia.