February 3, 2023

Pakistan’s New National Security Policy: A Decent Document but Away From The Ground Realities

Article by Mr. Shantanu K. Bansal

The article is based on Pakistan’s National Security Policy 2022-2026 Available for Media Release.

The Process Of Planning Spans To 7 Years

The Pakistan National Security Policy 2022-2026 is the country’s first security policy document. The public version of this document is meant to provide an insight into the overall vision and direction of the country’s national security. It says the policy document has been framed after seven years of work performed by National Security Division under the Pakistan’s National Security Adviser (NSA).

It says 120 experts through thematic working groups under its Council of Experts were incorporated in the Policy document. In 2021, online and in-person consultations were also held with over 500 specialists and civil society members, including university students representing the views of the country’s future generation.

It says the present document will serve for a period of 5 years recognising the need for flexibility the National Security Policy is envisioned to get updated after a period of five years.

Tries to Come-up With Comprehensive Social Security Plan

It first appear as an inward looking document trying addressing key socio-economic goals of the country. Divided under eight sections, the vital policy goals starts from section 3 entirely dedicated to the development of country’s Human Resources and ensuring public cohesion. It says [the existing] socio-economic inequalities make cohesion more challenging by exacerbating societal fault lines. Addressing these inequalities plays a direct role in strengthening national cohesion.

It identifies sustainable and inclusive economic growth as the main goal that expands Pakistan’s global economic footprint, reduces external economic dependency, and allows Pakistan to better leverage its resultant economic clout that shall also ensure traditional security requirements are adequately resourced.

Importantly, the document identifies good governance as the most important bridge to strengthen the state-citizen bond, fostering citizen contentment, and bringing the society together with objective of enhancing the capacity of the public sector to deliver according to modern state requirements. Lastly, promoting patriotism and social cohesion through its national values and ethnic.

The last section of the document which is headlined as “Human security.” Identifies various issues related to urban development, population stabilisation, development of rural economy and empowering youth of the country. It identifies four key areas of consideration Health Security, Climate and Water Stress, Food Security and Gender Security.

Economic Growth as the Key National Goal

The document tries to emphasis on export led growth and export-oriented foreign direct investment enabled by ease of doing business, as well as increasing foreign remittances. It calls to reduce the gap between the rich and the poor.

It outlines that sustainable growth and inclusive development are hallmarks of a secure nation [says] A healthy economy assures availability of required resources for livelihoods of citizens.

It identifies strengthening Pakistan prospects in the blue economy domain as it says Pakistan’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone and coastline present unexplored opportunities for trade connectivity, natural resource exploration, and wealth generation. It promises that a comprehensive maritime policy will be developed to optimise country’s blue economy.

It calls ensuring a prosperous and growth-oriented Pakistan that is economically vibrant and a major partner in the global economy through trade, investment, and connectivity initiatives. Lastly, this section also emphasis on promoting better education system that provides access to affordable quality education.

Defence and Territorial Integrity: Goes All Wrong Again

Until, the defence section comes-up which can be called as the heart of any national security policy plan of a nation, the document seemingly continued to follow the Pakistan’s failed security legacy labelling India as an aggressor. The section seems to continue to follow country’s military perspective on security rather following a more pragmatic approach.

Like a propaganda tool, the document tries to show India as the main reason behind most of the security problems that Pakistan faces today. It says India has “hegemonic designs,” without providing any substantive rational behind this claim. Not only that, it also fell short to come-up with any substantive initiative to resolve the long pending Kashmir issue, the so-called vital concern of the country.

Importantly, the document outlines to follow a credible minimum nuclear deterrence in concert with conventional military capabilities and all elements of national power. The choice of words couldn’t have been more wrong indicating conjoint use of nuclear power with conventional military power in the operational domain, something similar to its stance over developing Tactical Nuclear assets which is criticised all over the world.

Also Read at IADN: How Effective are the Tactical Nuclear Weapons of Pakistan?

The document took role of a policy critique and goes on to question India’s role in the Indian Ocean as a “net-security provider” calling it “self-professed,” which it says affect the region’s security and economic interests negatively which is contrary to basic understanding of the regional interests and development. The document however also promises that the nation is willing to play a greater role in the IOR, which indicates that Pakistan choosing another domain to enter into arms race with India. It says the Indian Ocean is fast becoming a space for contestation.

Apart from terming trending words like information and cyber warfare, disinformation, influence operations, lawfare, and economic coercion, among others the document accepts that “hybrid warfare” tools are increasingly being used today. The document further state to strengthen and enhance space-based technology and cyber-security applications to meet future security challenges.

Also Read at IADN: Difference Between Conventional Warfare, Sub-Conventional Warfare and Hybrid Warfare

End Remarks

The document tries accepting a comprehensive security plan at the highest levels from economy to social issues the document has covered decently on most of the parts which is a big-leap to say the least. No doubt that the the policy document took a non-linear path in accepting the role that the economy and society plays in promoting the national security hence not only addressing the conventional security challenges which has been the major concern of Pakistani stake-holders for a long time.

Yet the document couldn’t provide required emphasis on doing some introspection on Pakistan’s role in promoting terrorism around the world. The unending interest in destabilise neighbourhood through kinetic and non-kinetic actions which results in regional destabilisation and arms race, the two key security problems that the document continued to raise.

The emphasis on socio-economic policies goes without accepting the brutalities which has been long committed over the Pakistan’s minorities. Rather, a national security policy of this level continues to question India’s policy perspectives and its leadership credibility which could have been avoided as it make it look more like a propaganda tool.

At the same time the document also seems lacking indigenous thinking and any kind of historical backing up of the facts provided. It is seemingly designed by a group which has been closely monitoring Indian policies as it quotes that Pakistan pursues a “policy of zero tolerance” for any groups involved in terrorist activities on its soil. An official stance which India has claimed for a long time now. Key terms like following policies on the lines of non-alignment which India has been credited for goes without mentioning India’s contributions.

All said and done but one must accept that Pakistan has got what India is trying to get for a longtime now that is its own National Security Strategy.


  • Shantanu K. Bansal

    Founder of IADN. He has more than 10 years of experience in research and analysis. An award winning researcher, he writes for the leading defence and security journals, think-tanks and in-service publications. He is a senior consultant at the Indian Army Training Command (ARTRAC), Shimla. Contact him at: Shantanukbansal2@gmail.com

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