ISLAMABAD: The National Security Adviser (NSA) has said that issues related to civil-military balance and working relationship and capacity of institutions to implement the policy are complicated issues and expressed the hope that we will be able to deal with these issues through the newly-formulated National Security Policy (NSP).
During an interview with Geo TV on Friday, the NSA said that we have a bitter history of civil-military ties but we have witnessed a consensus in formulation of the NSP as all the state organs have contributed to the formulation of the policy. He also expressed his firm belief that institutions related to implementation of policy have had capacity issues in the past but we need to work it out.
National Security Adviser, Moeed Yousaf, was talking to Geo News in programme Naya Pakistan after the launch of public version of National Security Policy for the first time.
Anchor of the show Shahzad Iqbal asked the NSA about the difference of newly-formulated policy from the existing unwritten policy being exercised, “Unwritten security policy was wish-driven, everyone in the past was pursuing the policy as one desired to do so,” Moeed replied. He further added that in the absence of an umbrella document, covering all the aspects of national security, confusion and overlapping of the policy was being seen. “Now we have determined a direction for all the organs and institutions formulating the National Security Policy,” the NSA emphasized.
Moeed was quite categorical in his view about the scope of national security in changed global perspective and said that physical security of a citizen depends upon the economic security.
When asked how this new NSP would be implemented, he said that the mechanism is quite clear. There is a National Security Division, which apart from formulating the policy, has a mandate and scope to implement it. “Probably this is the only policy to be implemented this way,” the NSA added. He further said that there is then another prestigious forum named the National Security Committee, headed by the prime minister, with services chiefs being the members along with the senior ministers of cabinet. This committee will review the progress of implementation of the policy on monthly basis.
The NSA also quoted the reasons for keeping a portion of the NSP classified and declared it as the need of the hour. He said the PM wanted to release the full document to public but then in meetings he agreed to keep a few parts confidential. “Sensitive and prone-to-misinterpretation points are kept classified,” Moeed added.
Moeed’s attention was drawn to another aspect that this report, which has put the economic security at the core, is being launched in a time and environment when ministers are portraying the passage of mini-budget as their success, which was tabled and passed on the precondition of IMF for restoration of Extended Facility Fund program. Moeed in reply to this question said that this policy won’t impact the affairs of yesterday, today and tomorrow. “It has a broader vision and impact and it is devised for the next five years, which could be extended beyond this set period.”
Apart from these facial impacts and implications of the policy, detailed content of the launched policy also came under the scope of the discussion during the show. An important part of the policy is Pakistan’s approach towards India, particularly in prevailing situation. It was reported that this policy might bring a paradigm shift in policy towards India, but the NSA termed such reporting baseless and said that any major policy shift in this regard was dependent upon the atmosphere in India. “We will have to wait for India coming back to its senses,” the NSA said. He further added that Pakistan has always wanted normalcy in ties with India, but this can’t be achieved by Pakistan’s wish only.
Pakistan, through this document, set a policy goal of not being a part of camp-politics. He was asked if achieving this goal is possible for Pakistan or not, particularly keeping the US-China cold-war in view and Pakistan’s position in it, the NSA answered that the policy is devised to steer our direction. If any country doesn’t respect Pakistan’s intent and decision in this regard, Pakistan’s ties with that particular country would be affected. “We are clear and shown our clarity that we want to be a bridge, not divide.”
Other than issues pertinent to the foreign policy, a part of comprehensive National Security Policy, internal security matters were also discussed in detail during the show. When reminded that we have seen the State dealing with forces internally, who had created a situation of law and order in recent past, the NSA said in this regard use of the force was the last resort for the state and this was decided in principle that no one could be allowed to challenge the writ of the State. “Dealing with elements vary case to case,” the NSA emphasized. He further added that the State has to segregate between reconcilable and irreconcilable elements before reaching finality. He said that the State, at times, bears the hit of optics and public perception in such cases by assessing minimum damage and maximum good.
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