ISLAMABAD: The public version of the recently approved National Secu­ri­­ty Policy (NSP) will be launched on Friday.

An official, while speaking at a background briefing on Tuesday, expressed the hope that release of the NSP’s public version would set off a debate on the policy that has been codified for the first time in the country’s history.

NSP was approved by the federal cabinet on Dec 28, a day after it got the nod of the National Security Committee.

The policy defines the direction the country should take in coming years. Its makers are said to have taken a citizen-centric approach to national security and placed a special emphasis on economic security.

The document has sections on national cohesion, economy, defence, internal security, foreign policy and human security

The policy document is meant for a five-year period (2022-26) but it will be reviewed at the end of every year.

The full 110-page NSP document would remain classified. However, a shorter nearly 50-page version is being published.

Critical analysis of the state of affairs in various sectors is contained in the main document, and the implementation framework and the indicators developed for monitoring and evaluating the progress made towards the policy’s execution are not being included in the public version, which, moreover, would not spell out the different elements of national interest.

The document contains chapters on national cohesion, economy, defence, internal security, foreign policy and human security.

In the foreign policy domain, NSP places equal emphasis on political as well as economic diplomacy, besides listing peace in the region as the top priority. It, moreover, reiterates the commitment to not becoming part of bloc politics.

Meanwhile, the defence part highlights the challenges posed by hybrid war and threats to cyber security in addition to issues pertaining to the conventional capabilities and strategic deterrence.

It recommends increasing the size of the resource pie, addressing the external imbalance, and judicious redistribution of wealth.

Thorny topics like accountability, curriculum review, governance challenges, including review of the 18th Constitution Amendment and future status of Gilgit-Baltistan, will be part of the classified portion.

Opposition parties have criticised the government for not taking their input during the formulation of the policy.

Opposition leaders boycotted a meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security where NSP’s draft copy was shared.

The official, while rejecting the opposition’s criticism, said that extensive consultations were held during the course of the policy’s formulation and even at that stage political parties did not show much interest in sharing their perspectives.

He, however, believed that all sides of the country’s political divide agree on the direction recommended by the policy.

The official emphasised that NSP was not a political document and hoped that it would not fall victim to politics.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2022

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