Security policy sees economy as pivotal to stability

Published December 28, 2021
PRIME Minister Imran Khan chairs the National Security Committee meeting on Monday.—PPI
PRIME Minister Imran Khan chairs the National Security Committee meeting on Monday.—PPI

ISLAMABAD: The National Security Committee (NSC) on Monday approved the National Security Policy that puts economic stability at the core of a comprehensive national security.

Prime Minister Imran Khan chaired a meeting of the NSC, which is the government’s top most consultative and decision-making body for coordinating issues pertaining to national security. The session was attended by the federal ministers for foreign affairs, defence, information and broadcasting, interior, finance and human rights, the national security adviser, services chiefs and senior officials.

The five-year policy document covering the period 2022-26 is being flaunted by the government as the first-ever strategy paper of its kind that sets out the state’s national security vision and guidelines for attainment of those goals. It will guide government’s foreign, defence and economic policies and decision-making.

Five-year policy will guide government’s foreign, defence and economic plans and decision-making

The document would now be presented before the federal cabinet for approval in what appears to be a mere formality after the nod by the powerful NSC.

Although the policy will be shared publicly at a later stage, it reportedly seeks to leverage the symbiotic linkages among human security, economic security and military security with safety and prosperity of citizens being at the centre of the whole-of-government approach.

It covers both traditional and non-traditional security challenges, including economy, food, water, military security, terrorism, population growth and dealings with the external world, especially major powers.

The document places special emphasis on economic diplomacy as the focus of Pakistan’s foreign policy aimed at avoiding being sucked into bloc politics in a world order under transition.

Prime Minister Khan hailed the preparation and approval of the National Security Policy as a historic step. He directed the various government agencies to make a coordinated strategy for effective implementation of the policy and asked National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf to submit a monthly report on the progress made towards putting it in practice.

The NSC was briefed on broader contours of the policy that has been prepared by the National Security Division.

Several rounds of feedback consultations on multiple drafts were held with all state institutions, including provincial governments and the governments of Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Over 600 academics, analysts, civil society members and students across Pakistan have been consulted to make the policy process inclusive.

A draft of the policy was earlier this month also shared with the Parliamentary Committee on National Security. The meeting was, however, boycotted by the opposition parties.

The National Security Policy is expected to be a dynamic document which will be reviewed each year and on the transition of government to help keep it abreast with its policy priorities in a fast changing global environment. Work on the policy began in 2014.

Published in Dawn, December 28th, 2021

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