Focus of Pakistan’s first-ever National Security Policy: economy and Islamic identity - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Friday 14 January 2022

Focus of Pakistan’s first-ever National Security Policy: economy and Islamic identity

Pakistan's NSP has been 7 years in the making. It is valid for five years, till 2026


By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 15th Jan 22


Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan released a public version of his country’s first-ever National Security Policy (NSP) on Friday. The policy holds up economic security as the core element of national security and continues relying on Pakistan’s Islamic identity to keep its citizens together.


While the full 110-page NSP document remains classified, a shorter, 48-page unclassified version has been publicly released. The NSP is valid for a five-year period (2022-26), but will be reviewed at the end of each year.


According to the document, Pakistan’s NSP has been in the making since 2014. “The NSP has been framed after seven years of diligent and rigorous analysis and consultations led by the National Security Division,” it states.


The NSP was cleared by the National Security Committee on December 27 and was approved by Pakistan’s federal cabinet a day later.


“The National Security Policy 2022-2026 centres on my government’s vision, which believes that the security of Pakistan rests in the security of its citizens. This citizen-centric approach to national security prioritises national cohesion and the prosperity of people, while guaranteeing fundamental rights and social justice without discrimination,” wrote the Pakistani PM in the NSP’s introduction.


The NSP places Pakistan’s national security in a holistic framework. It states: “In Pakistan, successive governments have articulated distinct policies on internal security, foreign policy, defence modernisation and indigenisation, economic growth and development, food security, and climate change, among others… Yet, Pakistan has lacked a comprehensive security policy that brings traditional and non-traditional strands of security under one umbrella document to provide overarching direction and guidance. The National Security Policy has been envisioned to fill this void.“


In dealing with these multiple strands, the NSP contains eight sections. Section I explains the policy formulation process, while conceptual elements of Pakistan’s national security framework are explained in Section II.


Section III on ‘National Cohesion’ stipulates preservation of Pakistan’s ideology and culture, mandating: “Preservation of the Islamic character as enshrined in the Constitution and our diverse cultural heritage.” 


Acknowledging fissiparous tendencies within Pakistan, it prescribes: “Strengthen[ing] the federal nature of Pakistan’s structure by adhering to democratic principles. Ensure harmony among federating units and the territories of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir through prudent policy implementation at all levels.” 


Section IV, titled ‘Securing Our Economic Future’, states: “Pakistan’s vital national security interests are best served by placing economic security as the core element of national security. The country’s security imperatives in the next decade will be driven by the need to realise its economic potential while ensuring national cohesion, territorial integrity, internal security, and citizen welfare.”


Section V, titled ‘Defence and Territorial Integrity’, remains unsurprisingly focused on India, stating: “Special attention is required to manage lingering border disputes which continue to pose security threats, particularly along the Line of Control and Working Boundary where ceasefire violations by India threaten civilian lives and property while endangering regional stability.”


Accusing India of seeking to dominate the Indian Ocean, the NSP states: “The self-professed role of any one country as a so-called net-security provider in the wider Indian Ocean would affect the region’s security and economic interests negatively.”


Specific attention is given to the nuclear balance with India: “Pakistan’s nuclear capability deters war through full spectrum deterrence within the precincts of credible minimum nuclear deterrence, in concert with our conventional military capabilities and all elements of national power. The expansion of India’s nuclear triad, open-ended statements on nuclear policy, and investments in and introduction of destabilising technologies disturb the strategic balance in the region. Pakistan’s deterrence regime is vital for, and aimed at, regional peace.”


Section VI on ‘Internal Security’ deals with terrorism, violent sub-nationalisms, extremism and sectarianism, and organized crime. Section VII on ‘Foreign Policy in a Changing World’ covers global realignments, Pakistan’s key relationships and its overall approach towards diplomacy. Finally, Section VIII, titled ‘Human Security’, examines population and migration, health security, climate and water security, food security, and gender security. 


The document has been received in Pakistan with mixed feelings. “Just finished reading the Nat[ional] Security Policy document. It’s like summarizing a wish list of concerns for Pakistan, and ambitions, but with no reference to dearth of resources or how will consensus be developed,” tweeted prominent Pakistani strategist, Ayesha Siddiqa.


However, consensus may be facilitated by Pakistan’s consultive approach to the NSP’s formulation. “Throughout the process, multiple rounds of consultations were held with official stakeholders, including all federal ministries and divisions, provincial governments, governments of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and military institutions. Input was also sought from intelligentsia and citizens,” says the document.


“In 2021, online and in-person consultations were also held with over 500 specialists and civil society members, including university students representing the views of the country’s future generation. At the tail end of the finalisation process, open hearings on the key contours of the Policy were held in public and private universities.”


  1. No matter what they write and say....the bottom line is "hate India and continue to work against her". I am pleased to see that people here are not celebrating the bunch of nonsense.

  2. This document is practically irrelevant atleast legally as this so called National Security Policy was not discussed on the floor of Pakistan National Assembly, and has This been endorsed by the Jarnails in Pindi ,no statement or hint regarding the same has come,this is just plain gimmicks

  3. If Pakistan is losing a war with India, will it use nuclear weapons? If it does, will it be in a less precarious situation, or more? The US used the atomic bomb against Japan, because it was the only nation having such bombs. North Korea feels that the US will be careful about it, if it has nuclear weapons. I don't think that the US is in a position to use nuclear weapons in the future, and nor is Pakistan.
    Pakistan has fertile lands, on which it can grow crops. It will never be in a economic situation like Venezuela, because of this reason. If Pakistan can achieve food security, then it can go ahead from there.
    like Venezuela


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