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PM links national security to political stability

January 04, 2013

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.—AFP (File Photo)

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said here on Friday that political stability was critically linked to national security and made a strong appeal for preventing democracy from being derailed.

“The forces of doom and gloom thrive in an environment of chaos, uncertainty and instability. We need to guard against all the forces who are out to derail the system assiduously put in place after a protracted struggle,” he said.

He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the 14th National Security Workshop at National Defence University. The event almost coincided with a meeting of corps commanders in Rawalpindi.

The army’s top brass at their meeting discussed the offer of talks by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and other issues.

“For a country to be able to protect its national security, it is incumbent that every institution works within the constitutional ambit,” the prime minister said.

On the issue of dialogue with the TTP, Mr Ashraf called for preparing a comprehensive strategy for dealing with terrorists.

“We have to redesign and redefine our military doctrine to achieve this objective.”

Reminding the army of the importance of political support to its operations and the ownership given to the war on terror by parliament, he said: “No military action can succeed alone. Political will and support of the people are critical to its success.”

The prime minister stayed short of disclosing the government’s response to the TTP’s offer and said: “This war is also psychological. We have to expose hollowness of this regressive mindset.”

He said that effective pursuit of national security goals required development of a strategic framework encompassing all elements of national power. “The national security goals must focus on the complex ways in which national, regional and global factors impinge upon the security outlook of a country,” he said.

He stressed the need for improving intelligence gathering and establishing effective coordination among civil and military institutions to attain optimum results.

However, he reiterated that parliament was the mother of all institutions, repository of people’s aspirations and custodian of national interests.

The prime minister said that the key imperatives of a comprehensive national security paradigm included sustainable socio-economic growth, political sovereignty and stability, rule of law, food security, stable state institutions and technological advancements.

“We are living in a world undergoing dynamic changes where traditional notions of security and sovereignty are being constantly redefined,” he added.

He said the country was facing threats from non-state actors who were targeting the state’s symbols and institutions to impose their agenda.

“It is an enemy which is nameless and faceless,” the premier said and highlighted sacrifices rendered by different sections of society.

“The nation and parliament stand behind their armed forces in their struggle to secure the future of our children,” he added, “Our brave security forces, law-enforcement agencies and people have rendered massive sacrifices in the war against terrorism and we need to work on a strategy which can comprehensively tackle this menace.” Mr Ashraf said.

“The Swat Model as it has globally come to be known represents the finest example of a combination of political strategy and modern warfare,” he said.