Vision & National Security Policy
THE launch of National Security Policy (NSP) 2022-2026 is a monumental step in the right direction that deserves our appreciation.
NSP is a document that is inclusive, multi-dimensional, comprehensive and dynamic in nature and spells out how government aims to fulfil a host of issues. It aims to align the vision and policy of the state to mitigate the existing gruesome challenges at state, regional and international levels.
It is crafted and articulated in a way to place people of Pakistan as its top most priority to secure both their physical and economic security. Now, it’s up to the people to take a lead and positively embrace the policy document.
The NSP is not a policy of particular segment or government, it is a document that would go through many evolutionary changes and anyone can play its part to generate intellectual and political debate.
It is a directional document that equally recognizes the traditional and non-traditional threats and opportunities. It also chalks out a plan, direction and strategy to achieve those objectives to bring a revolutionary change in our policy making.
If we analyze the newly minted NSP, it is without an iota of doubt in line with government’s vision based on people-centric approach, where foremost priority is the economic security within the overall security calculus.
The focus on economic security in NSP is not at the cost of State’s security and strategy because they both complement each other.
The incumbent government is trying to transform Pakistan into a welfare state, where it is focusing on both tangible and intangible ways to uplift overall life standard of Pakistanis.
The NSP has focused and stressed upon the threat faced by the state internally. In NSP document state vowed to ensure writ of the state across the country by pursuing a policy of zero tolerance towards extremism, separatism and terrorism.
It also lays down ways through which state will neutralize banned outfits and violent sub-nationalist groups backed by hostile powers to ensure safe environment for intellectual and economic activity.
NSP document also focused on human security, national cohesion, and governance through institutional reforms. It also includes substantive changes in policies to let people feel they are involved in it.
If we look at the region of South Asia, Pakistan’s neighbourhood remains prone to geostrategic dynamics.
Pakistan faces a continuous threat from its Eastern neighbour India. They are continuously fanning violence through supporting terrorist groups within Pakistani territory and have aggressive evil designs at borders.
The NSP clearly ensure the defence and territorial integrity of Pakistan in all their manifestation, through full-spectrum deterrence doctrine in concert with all elements of national power to thwart any hegemonic designs by the rival powers mainly India.
NSP also outlines key areas where we need to strengthen our capabilities to confront emerging challenges like disinformation both at national and international levels, hybrid warfare and economic coercion.
The other complex issue for Pakistan is instability in Afghanistan. Durable peace in Afghanistan holds key to realize our vision of regional connectivity, trade and economic integration that’s why Pakistan has huge stakes in Afghanistan.
Peace in Afghanistan means better connectivity, development partnerships, socio-economic uplift and sustainable peace within Pakistan and the region.
Pakistan, as a responsible regional power, wants peaceful and long-term bilateral relations with all its neighbours including India.
It wants to resolve the Kashmir issue through political dialogue in accordance with the UNSC resolutions to mend differences with India.
Pakistan is not averse to the idea of trade with India, but, at present, environment is not conducive for meaningful bilateral dialogue, unless India takes action that shows its desire for a peaceful relations, Pakistan can’t unilaterally go ahead.
At International level in accordance with political vision and NSP, Pakistan is cultivating broad-based relationships both with regional and extra-regional great powers on key strategic issues to engage with the world on its own terms.
If we look at the evolving situation in international arena, China and the US are engaged in extreme competition. China’s rapid rise as a regional and global power is deeply upsetting the US.
The US side is focusing on the strategy to bolster its ties with Asian states to try and manage the rise of China. Pakistan is the odd-man out in this constructed coalition. We cannot under any circumstances be part of any scheme that is going to be anti-China.
The NSP outlined a way-out that Pakistan should not become part of any country’s negative agenda in the region and must seek more economic and human security related space.
It is in the interest of Pakistan to pursue a broad-based economic partnership with both the US and China to transform Pakistan into regional economic power rather than a garrison state. The NSP document is a huge milestone, now it’s the responsibility of the state, government and the people to fully support and implement it.
The other most important thing that need to be kept in mind is that NSP articulates where Pakistan wants to go, not where it is right now. It would take years to mature and we, as a nation, must work collectively to achieve what had been said in the document.
—The writer is Assistant Conference Manager, Islamabad Security Dialogue.