Security challenges for Pakistan
IN international politics, traditional security issues concerns two essential state values, territorial integrity and state sovereignty.
The two are intertwined and should be respected for greater regional and international peace.
As per the realist school of thought in politics, security is the basic need of every nation and the state is the basic unit of the international system.
The impact of realism was most pronounced during the Cold War period, where for almost four decades, two superpowers (US and Soviet Union) maintained a balance of power under a bipolar system.
As the name suggests, traditional security is part of a long established tradition in which weapons, ammunition, military ammunition and military power have been its essential weapons.
Nevertheless, agreements and alliances, such as political engagements and diplomatic means, also played a role in this balance of power.
Over the years, these resources, as well as the essence of traditional security, have been constantly evolving under the influence of technological advances, innovations, new ideas and political developments.
Today, in the 21st century, three areas are considered essential for shaping the security agenda of states.
One, the United Nations and its agencies are responsible for international peace and security.
Over the past 30 years, multilateral peacekeeping operations have grown, and major states such as China and the European Union have been directly involved in the development of multilateral principles, rules and procedures.
Second, a new form of security cooperation is gaining momentum at the regional level, with the completion and gradual overhaul of the trial and experimental form of military alliance.
The idea is still evolving, and it is thought that it could form a regional alliance that could contribute to wider international peace.
The Quad is one such military alliance, known as the “Asian NATO”. Quad member states decided to launch a maritime initiative to combat illegal fishing by China and reduce its growing regional influence.
Quad will invest $ 50bn in infrastructure development in the wider Asia-Pacific, which the United States and India are naming Indo-Pacific.
Third, weapons and armaments are more advanced than the past history of mankind through conventional protection.
Nuclear weapons and their delivery systems have incorporated the most dangerous trends in this form of security.
Any accidental use of nuclear weapons could cause significant damage to humans and infrastructure.
Realist scholars believe that the false propaganda of international organizations has been going on for many years.
These institutions serve the purpose of a select few. It is noteworthy that since the end of the Cold War, Western policy makers have sought to establish security arrangements in Europe as well as in other parts of the world based on international institutions.
In fact, the United Nations and other international bodies have “served the West well”, not the rest of the world.
Neo-classical realists saw Russia-Ukraine as a return to conventional warfare, adding a new dimension to traditional security for smaller states.
There are many facets to this war, depending on the outcome. Presenting NATO as its fiercest rival, the return of the Cold War model with Russia to its former status (the Soviet Union) or the loss of deterrence as a re-emerging power forever.
While the major powers are struggling to achieve their strategic goals, there is a real threat to the sovereignty and integrity of the smaller states from a traditional security standpoint.
In the case of Pakistan, its security is still militarily based on historical and geopolitical factors.
This trend towards conventional threats resulted in a scenario where Pakistan faced conventional threats from its rival India which did not end after seven decades.
Ethnicity, sectarianism and economic instability are all major concerns to Pakistan’s internal security.
Religious extremism has tarnished Pakistan’s image in the eyes of the rest of the world and has had a negative impact on the country.
At the same time, inter-provincial disputes have the potential to destabilize the Federation. Due to a lack of genuine socioeconomic progress, ethno-sectarian factions and regional forces have been able to exploit and destabilize Pakistan on the domestic level.
Pakistan’s traditional security threats stem from two main factors: the Kashmir dispute and water issues.
There were three full wars between Pakistan and India and one limited war took place in 1999 in the form of the Kargil dispute over Kashmir.
Unfortunately, there is no clear policy to address these two major issues as stakeholders are power hungry but interested in resolving issues of national interest.
Due to poor governance and internal squabbles over power, Pakistan’s ruling elite did not anticipate the challenges to traditional security.
As a result, the country is in a state of simultaneous economic decline, polarization of the people, development of new fault lines and severe crisis of leadership. All these factors are adding to the security challenges for the state of Pakistan.
—The writer, a PhD Scholar, is Lecture at DHA Suffa University Karachi.