Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday launched the country’s first-ever National Security Policy, which articulates a citizen-centric framework, placing economic security at its core, unlike the previous one-dimensional security policy where the focus was on the military.
Unveiling the public version of the policy, which was separately endorsed by the National Security Committee and the Cabinet last month, Prime Minister Khan said that the previous governments had failed to strengthen Pakistan’s economy.
The national security has been clearly explained in the new original 100-page document, he said, adding that the policy articulates a citizen-centric framework, placing economic security at its core and seeking a secure and economically resilient Pakistan.
Khan said that Pakistan, since its evolution, has had a one-dimensional security policy where the focus was on the military. “For the first time, the National Security Division has developed a consensus document which defines national security in a proper way,” he added.
The powerful army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
The five-year-policy document covering a period between 2022-26, is being propped up by the Khan government as the country’s first-ever strategy paper of its kind that spells out the national security vision and guidelines for the attainment of those goals.
“We need to realize that our biggest security is when the people become stakeholders and stand up for the country. And this can be achieved through inclusive growth. We need to develop as a nation, not in sections,” Khan said.
The original version of the policy will remain classified.
The main themes of the National Security Policy are national cohesion, securing an economic future, defence and territorial integrity, internal security, foreign policy in a changing world and human security.
Earlier, National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf said that Pakistan, under the new policy, will be shifting to a Comprehensive National Security Framework with the aim of ensuring the safety, security, and dignity of the citizens of Pakistan.
“The policy puts economic security at the core. A stronger economy would create additional resources which would then be distributed to further bolster military and human security,” he said.
On the foreign front, the new policy highlights disinformation, Hindutva, and the use of aggression for domestic political gains as key threats from India, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.
— Prime Minister’s Office, Pakistan (@PakPMO) January 14, 2022
The report, quoting Yusuf, said the policy places the Jammu and Kashmir issue as the core of the bilateral relationship.
When asked about the message it sends to India, Yusuf said: “It tells India to do the right thing and jump on the bandwagon to benefit from regional connectivity to uplift our peoples. It also tells India, if you don’t want to do the right thing, it will be a loss to the entire region, but most of all India.”
Earlier this week, an official said that Pakistan is willing to make peace with immediate neighbours, including India, under the new security policy which leaves doors open for trade with New Delhi even without the settlement of the Kashmir issue provided there is headway in bilateral talks.
Peace with immediate neighbours and economic diplomacy will be the central theme of Pakistan’s foreign policy in the new National Security Policy, the newspaper reported on Tuesday.
“We are not seeking hostility with India for the next 100 years. The new policy seeks peace with immediate neighbours,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
If there is a dialogue and progress, there would be a possibility of normalising trade and commercial ties with India as it had happened in the past, the official added.
India has told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.