Islamabad, 20 January 2022 (TDI): The faded National Policy of Pakistan has witnessed a new turn in the chapters of history since its inception as the incumbent government launched the country’s first ever National Security Policy (NSP) that defines the multidimensional aspects of national security in a proper manner.
Unveiling the public version of the policy, the Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighted the failure of previous government in defining the National Security Policy of Pakistan. Navigating the plethora of prejudices and existing imbalances, the new National Security Policy shuns the one dimensional security policy and articulates a public-centric framework, placing economy at its core while defining the other integral parts of the national policy.
The NSP of Pakistan has been painted on a paradoxical canvas by the security policy makers since the time of independence. The balance between the security of Pakistan and security of citizens has always been lacking due to the short-sightedness of the leaders.
Resultantly, the people of Pakistan have observed one dimensional security policy where focus was made on the military. Strategists, while framing security policy, in different eras have underestimated the required balance between the external and internal security threats to Pakistan and its citizens.
Pakistan’s NSP and its implication on foreign policy have been a matter of great concern all the time. The incumbent government has formulated the NSP on a different and wide spectrum to transform the trends of history.
It is people-centric, and a milestone in achieving economic goals, and at the the same time conveniently underlined some very important factors which are an integral part of Pakistan.
The five year policy document, covering a period between 2022-26, is being prepared as a country’s first ever strategy paper of its kind that pronounces the national security vision and guidelines for the attainments of those goals.
Themes of NSP
The NSP primarily focuses on maintaining national cohesion, securing an economic stability, achieving internal peace, defence and territorial integrity, defining human security and addressing foreign policy challenges in a changing world order.
The new policy has brought forth the challenges regarding the spread of fake news in an era of Hybrid Warfare, the Hindutva policy based on Akhand Bharat and the ongoing regional instability for domestic political gains, as a key threat from neighbouring India.
The policy becomes a voice of Jammu and Kashmir for a peaceful resolution of long-standing conflict and hopes for a peaceful resolution. Peace with India and economic diplomacy is the central theme of Pakistan foreign policy in the new National Security Policy. Pakistan aims to expand ties through trade with regional states including India, provided there is a headway of bilateral talks.
Implications on Foreign Policy
The National Security Policy has put following implications on the Foreign Policy of Pakistan that needs to be highlighted:
- As the NSP puts economic security at the core, Pakistan will have to redefine its alliances with global players to strengthen its economy. A stronger economy would create additional resources which would then further human security and expand multilateral trade forums.
- Pakistan has to redefine its priorities towards Global Giants and Regional Dwarfs. Trade with outer world will help Pakistan to uplift its economy and maintain relations through trade and not aid.
- The policy also intakes the looming threat of all times; water shortage. As Pakistan is going through severe water crisis, and since most of the rivers supplying water to Pakistan originate from India, the political imbalance is further drawn by both states at loggerheads.
- Pakistan will have to redesign its orthodox agricultural sector under the new policy at first hand. Therefore, the resolution of water conflicts is a priority of Pakistan’s NSP through peaceful methods of settlement.
- Economic Situation: External debt up to 120% of GDP, Circular Debt topping by 250% in the last five years, fiscal deficit at an all-time high and inflation in double digits have debilitated the economy of Pakistan.
- A National Security Policy needs money to be invested on security needs where Pakistan will have look to foreign allies for support to uplift its economy. While the new policy boasts of economic security and makes the country self-reliant. Ergo, Pakistan has to further ties with global giants irrespective of global camping to stabilise its economy.
- Global Alliances: The 70 year long friendship with the US has turned uncertain while the European Union, especially France, is at loggerheads with Pakistan due to radical factors. However, China is standing by its side for mutual interest.
- Under such a critical situation, Pakistan needs to make allies first. Academically, Moeed Yousuf, the National Security Advisor of Pakistan did a good job but practically it is must be implemented in true letter and spirit.