National security is the major concern of every state and it is the government’s responsibility to ensure internal and external security in accordance with national interests. Pakistan has a stronger challenge to its security from internal factors as compared to external. Pakistan faces many forms of terrorism, no other country in the world is entangled in this problem as Pakistan of today.
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Pakistan’s National Security
Pakistan’s national security policy should take into account its dimensions to be effective in safeguarding its sovereignty, territorial integrity, economic well-being, and cultural identity. Internal security threat from militants and sectarians which has devastated the country for a decade is being dealt with the policy of zero tolerance for violence. The first National Internal Security Policy (NISP) 2013 provided policy guidelines but torn between dialogue and military action, resulted in a long period of inaction.
Threats to Internal Security of Pakistan
Security scenario changed after the 9/11 incident. Pakistan is facing internal threats; traditional and non-traditional such as extremism, separatist movements, political instability, terrorism and feudalism are the threats linked with external factors. Black Water, CIA, Raw, NDS, KGB and other security agencies of different states are trying their best to destabilize Pakistan. FATA became the source of terrorism in the country and a safe haven for terrorists. These terrorists are challenging the internal security of Pakistan, territorial integrity and are threatening the accomplishment of national interests. Along with FATA, the terrorist and insurgent activities in Baluchistan are major threats to Pakistan’s National Security.
Strategies to neutralize threats to the internal security of Pakistan
- Pakistan’s political, economic and social institutions must accelerate before the radical groups gain traction to emerge as independent political force undoing the warrant of government within the state. There is a need to formulate a strategy to deal with threats.
- Another strategy would be to keep a check on illegitimate activities and distinguish between religious freedom and abuse. By bringing youth into the mainstream, providing an outlet through economic prosperity. Pakistan can turn the potentials towards positive goals.
- A three-pronged strategy should be adopted to secure the sectarian/jihadi monster. The first prong must stop the trend of religious intolerance. The second prong should enforce the rule of law and the third prong should consolidate the gains by introducing incentives and showing outlets through economic prosperity. This three-pronged strategy should be activated by formulating short-term and long-term goals.
- Pakistan maintains a centralized bureaucratic system. Center should transfer maximum powers to provinces and provinces should dissolve powers to local governments.
- The government should strengthen internal security by strengthing the economy through formulating policies, structural reforms and investment in infrastructure.
- Quality of labor and quality of infrastructure along with policies will attain sustainable economic growth, bring economic prosperity and will strengthen national security.
- Misunderstandings between provinces and ethnic groups within regions are dangerous for states. The government should build bridges between confronting groups and create grounds for negotiations.
- Judiciary must be independent of the executive. There is a requirement of an independent judiciary for the society. The government should refrain from stepping into the judiciary domain. The system has to be purged of corrupt officials in a manner and the postings and promotions should be on merit.
- Police need the training to meet the internal security threats. Their training in detection/investigation should be improved on scientific lines. Quality of already in-service police officers could improve by regular refresher courses in Pakistan and acquiring foreign courses for police officers.
Religious intolerance, sectarian problems, and the rise of religious extremism and militant groups are significant factors responsible for increased law and order problems. The need of the hour is for our national security planners, as politicians, bureaucrats etc to take an approach to the issue and set processes in motion by which long term and logical solution to combat the dangers arising from activities under cover of terrorism can be implemented.
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