National Security Policy – an analysis

Article first published in The Nation on 29-Dec-2021. Article being published on with the consent of writer.

Policy is outcome of collaborative effort by both civil, military institutions and a right step in right direction

Good work is never late, particularly work carried out in national interest. National Security Policy is right step in right direction. With every passing day, due to technological advances and race for economic hegemony and desire to mould public opinion in own favour, nations and states are facing new security challenges in multiple fields.

Military security is no more only security to meet complex nature of security environment arising out of multiple challenges. Call it cyber threat, artificial intelligence, bio-technology, pandemic, bitcoin, blockchain supply system, food security, water security, environment hazards, human trafficking and most importantly energy security, it demands not only whole of nation approach, rather a global cooperation. Pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities of nation states as well as global system to meet mega challenges. Formulation of security policies compatible to counter the multifaceted threats has become imperative for nations and big powers. First National Security Policy of Pakistan is a step in right direction. It is definitely a step forward in right direction and deserves appreciation. Credit should be given to civil and military leadership of the country. Policy is outcome of collaborative effort by both civil and military institutions. The official handout issued on day of approval of policy by national security committee points out the exhaustive effort by the departments concerned. It states that 600 meetings were held between various stake holders to discuss various dimensions of security. Since formulation of national security division, the issue of wider security has been addressed amicably. NSA has termed it an umbrella document which will, overtime, help guide sectoral policies for fullfiment of our national security objectives. The success of the policy will lie in its implementation for which a plan has been developed.

NSC meeting which include all service chiefs and key cabinet ministers, indicates that on issues of security, civil, military leadership is on one page. Policy manifests the resolve of leadership not only to defend territorial integrity of the country but also political, economic, societal and emerging challenges climate hazards.

Historically basic concept of security revolves around protection of territorial integrity through military means. The idea of national security got prominence during the Cold War era. The bipolar world gave rise to ideas of balance of power through military means and was taken as guarantee for protection of national security interests. Post cold war era has brought multiple challenges out of military domain directly challenging the state’s writ in non-military fields. These challenges have made the human security a daunting task. Traditional concept only protects state but not society and individuals.

Since its inception, Pakistan’s security concept has been revolving around traditional military security. It is only since the last decade that Pakistan conceptualized and broadened the concept and realized the importance of non-traditional elements of National Security including political, economic, societal, and environmental sustenance. Terrorism emerged as a huge threat which Pakistan faced dauntlessly through kinetic and intelligence based operations. It lacked political will which was big hinderance in countering the threat.

Economic and military securities are interlinked to each other. Economic security is a key indicator of general security of a state. Along with many other factors, the weak and polarised economy of Pakistan can be attributed to prevalent security threat to the country since last two decades.

Indian policies in the region, its hegemonic posturing and quest for overshadowing Pakistan has been dilemma of Pakistan’s national security. While India strives to play a global role because of its size and power and wants a vigorous participation in resolution of all regional issues, Pakistan contests hegemonic designs of India and excels to have its independent and bilateral relations with regional as well as global powers. Indian involvement in Afghanistan issues and collaboration with Iran to destabilise the region further raises the importance of bilateral relations of Pakistan with other neighboring countries for its security needs. Since its creation, Pakistan has maintained a traditional military security approach that had focused on building up more military power in relations to its eastern neighbor and to maintain a strategic balance in the region for its survival. Since the last one decade or so Pakistan is faced with a new dimension of threat ‘terrorism.’ It is an internal threat which has its external dimensions as well as linkages abroad. Rising nontraditional security threat demanded a different and holistic approach yet maintaining a fine balance of conventional stability.

First national security policy will unfold many areas to be addressed in the new framework of security and harness effort in the light of approved policy.

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