Federal cabinet approved Pakistan's first National Security Policy

 The ultimate purpose of national security is to ensure the safety, security and dignity of the citizen of Pakistan

The federal cabinet has approved the first ever comprehensive National Security Policy of Pakistan with special emphasis on economic strategy.

National Security Adviser  Moeed Yusuf said it is an umbrella document, which entails human security as well as population, health, climate, water, food, energy, and gender security. He said education has been clubbed with the economy.

Dr Moeed Yusuf said the process of formulating the NSP had begun in 2014 and this document has been approved after getting input from all civil and military institutions, including the private sector. He said Prime Minister Imran Khan will launch the public version of NSP in coming days.

The National Security Committee (NSC) has already approved the Citizen centric National Security Policy a day earlier.  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.

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.

The federal cabinet was briefed on broader contours of the policy that has been prepared by the National Security Division. The Adviser highlighted that Pakistan is shifting to a Comprehensive National Security Framework whereby the Ultimate purpose of national security is to ensure the safety, security and dignity of the citizen of Pakistan.

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.

Participants were informed that the policy has been created through a whole-of-government effort over the last seven years, and included extensive consultations among federal government institutions, with all provinces, and with the academia and private sector.

It was highlighted that a detailed implementation framework had been created through which the National Security Division would review progress in collaboration with relevant ministries and departments.

The committee s members, while approving the policy, appreciated the National Security Division and all other government departments for this effort.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan emphasized that the security of Pakistan rests in the security of its citizens and reposed confidence that Pakistan is well prepared to meet any internal and external threats.

Terming the policy s formulation and approval a historic moment, the Prime Minister noted that the Policy must guide all organs of the government to ensure that their efforts are synchronized with the overall direction of the NSP. He instructed the National Security Adviser to present an implementation progress report to the NSC every month.

                                                                    Khalid Bhatti      


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