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Prime Minister Imran Khan at the launch of citizen-centric National Security Policy 2022-2026, in Islamabad on January 14, 2022.. Image Credit: APP

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday launched Pakistan’s first ever national security policy document - focused on human and economic security.

The document was approved by the federal cabinet on December 28 after the nod of the National Security Committee.

On Friday, a public version of the original 110-page document was released after being redacted to 50 pages.

Addressing the launch ceremony in Islamabad, Khan said that the “all-encompassing policy will provide the nation a direction” on diverse dimensions of national security.

The prime minister said that security of a country is linked to its economic security and the new policy would help ensure inclusive growth in the country as opposed to one-dimensional military security which had remained the focus as “Pakistan’s evolution took place in a very insecure environment and the country faced conflicts with a neighbour more than times the size of Pakistan”, the premier said.

“The National Security Policy 2022-26 centres on my government’s vision, which believes that the security of Pakistan rests in the security of its citizens. This citizen-centric approach to national security prioritises national cohesion and the prosperity of people, while guaranteeing fundamental rights and social justice without discrimination,” Pakistani prime minister said.

The policy is aimed at achieving inclusive growth and protecting vulnerable people by transforming Pakistan into a welfare state with initiatives launched by Imran Khan’s government, including universal health insurance worth Rs1 million a year for low-income families, Ehsaas social protection programme, low-cost housing loans and single national curriculum.

He termed weak rule of law one of the biggest problem in Pakistan. “This is the biggest struggle. We have started this struggle to bring the powerful under rule of law. This is the battle for the soul of Pakistan” he vowed.

Economic security is at the core

Pakistan’s national security adviser Dr Moeed Yusuf said that “Pakistan’s approach to national security is broad, proactive, and resolute and aims to ensure the security of our most vulnerable citizens. Our national security seeks to identify means of expanding economic resources such that Pakistan can simultaneously strengthen its traditional and non-traditional security.” The most prudent approach is “to keep economic security at the core” and transfer the “dividends of a strong economy to further strengthen our defence and human security. This is the vision that the national security policy strives to pursue.”

Highlights of the policy

Pakistan’s first-of-its-kind document is the outcome of seven years of analysis and consultations led by National Security Division. The document will continue to evolve to provide guidelines to mitigate emerging challenges and avail new opportunities to make the country secure and prosperous. The NSP document is meant for a five-year period (2022-26) but it will be reviewed at the end of every year.

The policy puts economic security at the core for inclusive growth and is focused on these areas: National Cohesion; Securing Economic Future; Defence and Territorial Integrity; Human Security; Internal Security and Foreign Policy.

The six thematic sections provides assessment of the context and Pakistan’s desired goals and objectives.

The national cohesion section examines preservation of ideology and culture, ensuring unity and stability, and making public service responsive to the needs of citizens. The economic section focuses on economic security, specifically trade, energy, education and human resource and emerging technologies.

The defence and territorial integrity part provides policy guidelines for ensuring defence, deterrence, and territorial integrity, and space and cyber security. The chapter on internal security analyses challenges of terrorism, violent sub-nationalisms, extremism and sectarianism, and organized crime. The foreign policy chapter assesses global realignments, Pakistan’s key bilateral and multilateral relationships, and overall approach towards diplomacy.

The last chapter on human security examines population and migration, health security, climate and water security, food security, and gender security.