PRESS RELEASE, March 9, 2022
Need stressed for Cooperative Federalism and an effective Local Government
for furthering National Security
ISLAMABAD: A Roundtable conference was organized by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute on Wednesday (March 9) to discuss threadbare the impact of National Security Policy, and how effective it has been in broadening a consensus in all walks of life.
The session was held under the chairmanship of former Speaker National Assembly Dr Fehmida Mirza, and was supplemented with their rich output by former Defence Minister Lt Gen Naeem Lodhi, Commissioner Gilgit-Baltistan Mir Waqar Ali, former envoy to the UAE and Iran, Ambassador Asif Durrani; senior parliamentarian Sardar Wazir Jogezai, senior journalists Ejaz Haider and Imtiaz Gul, Lt Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, Dr Mir Sadaat Baloch and Director General NACTA Mr. Mohammad Ali Baba Khel.
The participants appreciated the fact that Pakistan has a formal National Security Policy, and the document needs to be strengthened by ensuring effective implementation. While the thrust of the policy is economic development and people’s security, it has made the security policy more comprehensive and organic in essence, they noted.
The discussion focused on the fact to make Pakistan a cooperative federation, and create a consensus. The aspect of geopolitics and geo-economics was also underscored, and the speakers agreed that there is a thin line of demarcation between them. The more the economic clout of a state, the more will be its state-centric power dynamics.
The importance of promoting national culture and buoying the language was also stressed upon. They said it is a good omen that the National Security Policy talks of hybrid and cyber threats, and it was underscored that the armed forces must upgrade their strategies according to the new realities of the day.
The participants mentioned that a daily briefing is held in the United States for the US President on national security, which underlines the importance of such a policy. The same should be the case with Pakistan, as it is also confronted with a host of issues on a daily basis.
The notion of Cooperative Federalism was highlighted, and it was evolved that the Inter-Provincial Coordination is a must to create unanimity in national security.
The impact of 18th Amendment in the constitution was discussed, and the participants necessitated the need for an effective local government system. The same is ordained in the constitution, but unfortunately has not been implemented in letter and spirit. It was also mentioned that extra-constitutional governments are more pro-local government than the political dispensations.
Apt references were also made to Article 25A, 37 and 38, and it was stressed that they are in need of being implemented to further national consensus and devolve an effective governance apparatus.
Salient features of the consensus at the roundtable were to broaden the debate over national security, encompass people from all strata, create political ownership and empower the role of Inter-Provincial Coordination for a strong and workable federation.
It was also pointed out that public opinion should precede any policy-making, and there is a lack of communication strategy in realizing and disseminating state policies. The media too needs to be structured and made responsive to national concerns, it was agreed.
The speakers said that 25th Amendment in the Constitution which brought in FATA into the national fold was a great achievement, and there is a need for streamlining national integration in Gilgit-Baltistan too.
They said that administrative and judicial reforms cannot be delayed anymore, and local government is the key to ensuring national harmony in the society, which will inevitably strengthen national security.