The National Security Policy of Pakistan 2022-2026 is an attempt to deflect from the country’s consistent national security policy (NSP) of TERRORISM. The military which has run Pakistan from the time of its birth, despite intermittent pseudo democratic governments, is firm it its belief that generating terrorism will ensure the security of Pakistan especially since the military has failed to win a single war past seven decades plus. Continuing as a rogue nation, Pakistan has secured the patronage of China and by providing ‘proxy forces’ the military remains close to the US.
This is despite the fact that financing for the 9/11 attacks was traced back to Pakistan, Pakistan sheltered Osama bin-Laden and its support to the Taliban-Haqqani Network is behind the US military casualties in Afghanistan; over 2400 military killed and 20,752 American servicemen wounded, in addition to 18 CIA operatives killed. Pakistan’s policy of terrorism continues to affect global security.
The recent synagogue hostage drama in which the FBI team shot dead a British national Malik Faisal Akram who took four Jewish hostages in Texas demanding release of Aafia Siddiqui (PakAmerican serving a 86-year sentence on terrorism-related charges in the US) was born to immigrant Pakistani parents in the UK. His demand was same as Pakistani efforts to free Aafia freed in exchange of US Army sergeant Beaudry Robert ‘Bowe’ Bergdahl held captive from 2009 to 2014 by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network in Afghanistan and Pakistan after he deserted his post and went missing on June 30, 2009.
Bergdahl was finally released on May 1, 2014, as part of a prisoner exchange for five high ranking Taliban held captive in Guantanamo Bay. Despite all this, American policy towards Pakistan is not showing any signs of change. Nothing has been learnt from the Pakistani double game in Afghanistan and if a cross section of US Senators, officials and intelligence operatives can be lured with drugs, flesh, and funds to refrain from preventing acts of terrorism, countries like Pakistan will continue to flourish in terrorism.
In his message to the NSP as prime minister, Imran Khan has emphasized on the citizen-centric approach of his government and that the NSP will contribute immensely to Pakistan’s economy security and human welfare on the lines of Riasat-e-Medina and strong defence capability. However, his government’s implementation of Riasat-e-Medina has been the killings and subjugation of non-Muslims. The citizen-centric claim of Imran is laughable with Pakistan ranked 154 in the Human Development Index, 124 in Transparency International ranking and mass protests in Gwadar by locals against their livelihood through fishing in the sea has been given away to the Chinese.
As for the economy, the International Monetary Fund agreeing to revive a US$6 billion bailout package and the US$3 billion from Saudi Arabia has provided some relief to Pakistan which is suffering from an annual trade deficit of US$50 billion and a balance of payment deficit of US$12-17 billion. Yet, Imran recently went public saying Pakistan’s economy is better than many countries in the region especially India. Imran also said he will send technical manpower to run Afghanistan, which may be an effort to persuade the Taliban to dump the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) attacking Pakistan.
Highlights Of Pakistan’s NSP Include The Following:
• It is the “public” version of the NSP. The ‘classified’ version will obviously continue to be centred on security through terrorism.
• Pakistan empowered by diversity of culture, and demographic dividends while ensuring fundamental rights and social justice without discrimination on the basis of caste, creed, or belief (sic); Pakistan is doing the exact opposite.
• Dump the guns versus butter debate and instead link traditional and non-traditional aspects of national security.
• Pakistan is focusing on macro-economics (with GDP less than US$300 billion?) but a psychological shift in the national approach is needed.
• Achieve economic security and ‘sovereignty’ through sustainable growth, inclusive development, and financial solvency.
• Equitable economic development – prevent elite capture of policy, direct support to vulnerable sections, and the like.
• Remove disparities in economic development in regions like South Balochistan, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) – but can this be done concurrent to the genocide, human rights violations and plundering resources?
• Pakistan’s eastward connectivity is held hostage to India’s regressive approach.
• Increase the share of installed energy capacity through renewable sources to 30 percent by 2030 and prioritize investments in hydropower projects to achieve 60 percent clean energy by 2030.
• Support AI education, research initiatives, and start-ups.
• Greater focus on skilled and semi-skilled manpower export.
• Strengthen aviation security and expand maritime surveillance by investing in new technologies.
• Special attention to border disputes especially along the Line of Control and Working Boundary where ceasefire violations by India are continuing.
• Possibility of use of force by adversary as deliberate policy choice cannot be ruled out.
• The self-professed role of any one country as a so-called net-security provider in the Indian Ocean affects regional security and economic interests negatively.
• Nuclear deterrence is critical in South Asia.
• Investments in cyber security of critical infrastructure are crucial for ensuring uninterrupted supply of essential services and the security of privileged information.
• Pakistan will adopt a holistic, whole-of-nation approach to neutralize hybrid threats from states and their proxies as well as non-state actors.
• The most acute form of efforts to undermine stability and national harmony of a society is terrorism and Pakistan pursues a policy of zero tolerance towards it (sic).
• For regions where violent sub-nationalist elements operate, Pakistan will adopt a four-pronged policy: engagement: separate the hardcore; cut off recruitment, and pursue socio-econmic policies to address governance.
• Bilateral ties have been stymied as a consequence of the unresolved Kashmir dispute and India’s hegemonic designs. Pakistan remains committed to normalization of relations.
• The rise of Hindutva-driven politics in India deeply impacts Pakistan’s immediate security.
• India’s arms build-up and access to advanced technologies and exceptions in the non-proliferation rules are a matter of concern for Pakistan.
• Pakistan’s continued cooperation with the US will remain crucial for regional security.
By painting India as the villain for regional stability, Pakistan has tried to wash off its sins but the world knows that the zebra cannot change its stripes. If Pakistan truly practiced zero tolerance towards terrorism it would not be in the ‘Grey List’ of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Moeed W Yusuf, Pakistan’s national security advisor has tried his level best to alleviate Pakistan’s image but his narrative cannot hide two facts: first, the NSP has been scripted in conjunction with the Pakistani military and approved by the Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa who defines and monitors the execution of Pakistan’s foreign and defence policies, and; second, inputs and approval were taken from Beijing, which is apparent from Pakistan sitting in Mommy Beijing’s lap but the mention of China in the NSP confined to six sentences only.
Finally, no change in Pakistan’s behaviour can be expected in the foreseeable future from what it has been doing till now. Yusuf has used good semantics but its value is not much different from the trash in China’s Gobar (read Global) Times. Only the foolish would take it seriously. The NSP is what Pakistan ‘could’ change into in the next 25-30 years but presently no movement whatsoever is visible in that direction.
About The Author
Lt Gen. PC Katoch (Retd), PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SC is a third generation army officer who superannuated as Director General Information Systems of the Indian Army in 2009. A Special Forces officer, he participated in the 1971 Indo- Pak War, commanded an independent commando company in counter-insurgency in the Northeast, a Special Forces Battalion in Sri Lanka as part of the Indian Peace Keeping Force, a Brigade on Siachen Glacier, a Division in Ladakh and a Strike Corps in South Western Theatre. He has had his work published in leading defence and national security publications and think tanks in both India and abroad.
(This article was first published in the 'Indian Defence Review' reproduced with due credits and persmission from the author.)