National Security Policy can be tabled before parliament: Moeed

Published January 16, 2022
National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf briefs senior journalists at the Governor House, Lahore on Saturday. — PID
National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf briefs senior journalists at the Governor House, Lahore on Saturday. — PID

LAHORE: National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf stresses that the National Security Policy (NSP) is an ‘evolving document’ and requires intellectual debate and constructive argument from all pillars of the state to help forge a consensus and eventually increase its sustainability.

Though the opposition boycotted the National Security Division’s briefing on the policy to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security early last month, Mr Yusuf maintained he would always be ready to present the policy before parliament or house committees to build a larger consensus.

The committee meeting was, however, very well attended twice last year when the army chief had briefed it on national security issues. He stressed that the opposition should not politicise national security, which should remain above all differences.

“If the opposition does not want to receive a formal briefing on the NSP and provide its input, does it want to delay this all-important policy that has already taken seven long years [to formulate]?” he asked.

Says National Security Division will oversee policy’s implementation

The NSP has already achieved civil-military consensus after it went through the National Security Committee (NSC), headed by Prime Minister Imran Khan, before its approval for better implementation, said Mr Yusuf while briefing senior journalists at the Governor House on Saturday. He claimed the military had acknowledged and supported the policy.

Read: Security policy places economy front and centre

The adviser said the Senate’s Defence Committee headed by PML-N leader Mushahid Husain Sayed had called him for an in-camera briefing on Jan 7 and appreciated the policy. “It is unfair to say the government does not want a consensus by not according any opportunity to the opposition to discuss and give its input,” Mr Yusuf clarified.

He, however, added that policy-making in Pakistan, like any other country, was an executive function and a prerogative of the sitting government. “All pillars of the state can give their input but the approval process falls in the executive’s domain,” he stressed.

Since the NSP is an evolving document, Mr Yusuf said the government had ensured in it that there is a mandatory annual review, as radical changes were taking place all around each day. Similarly, he said, whenever a new government takes over, it would have the powers to review it.

The NSA said the document would serve as an umbrella for all policies that had anything to do with national security, and cited an example of the education system.

“The key direction of the policy will never be reversed,” he stressed.

He further said the National Security Division would oversee the policy’s implementation, adding that the prime minister had instructed that the NSC would review its progress report every month to solve teething problems in the implementation stage.

Answering a question, Mr Yusuf said priority actions had been identified in the policy document that has not been released to the public. Only the 60-page released version of the policy will remain in public domain, he said, adding that parliamentarians had, however, been given a briefing on the classified version too.

To another question, he said the policy would continue offering guiding principles on how to come out of a certain crisis, and cited the example of Pakistan going to the International Monetary Fund and its consequences. Since Pakistan’s major issue remained that its financial solvency gets challenged time and again because it did not have a resource base to adequately support human welfare and traditional security, he added, the NSP would provide a direction to overcome the crisis.

Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2022

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