Though there is no fixed definition of the term “security” yet the most agreed definition is “the absence of fear and threat”. Security has been a changing phenomenon since “Westphalian model”. Security in 21st century stands the most complex than ever before. There are numerous factors, which have come into being affecting the traditional concept of security. Modern nation-states take into consideration the three main paradigms of security, i.e. individual, state and international before formulating any national security policy as each paradigm affects the other.
Individual security involves the modern security, i.e. “human security”. Pandemic diseases like Aids, Swine flu, SARS etc are taken into category of individual security. Economic underdevelopment, poverty, illiteracy, food scarcity, poor health facilities etc have emerged as security threats over the period of time. Individual security is detrimental to country’s national security as non-traditional security threats are the most complex and hard to deal due to their very delicate nature. Developed nations make their policies keeping in view the individual security unlike the developing states.
National security involves all efforts of a state to protect itself from external threats. It is a traditional concept of the security and revolves around inter-state relations. States make defence equipments keeping in view the threat perception by utilizing all elements of national power. Modern national security policy encompasses internal as well as external threats. Pakistan Army’s “Green Book” is the classical example of this. It is made keeping in view the regional and international environment as one incident in the world, i.e. 9/11 changed the national security of many states including Pakistan.
International security involves multiple threats emanating from states’ behaviour and policies thus making it volatile and complex. So, the maintenance of peace globally is the responsibility of great powers. International security is unpredictable too as one incident can trigger a series of other threats globally. Terrorism today stands number one international threat coupled with trans-national organized crimes and nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological (NBCR). Likewise, environmental degradation and un-resolved world issues, i.e. Palestine and Kashmir are also clusters of international security as these disputes have an ability to trigger major wars, even nuclear.
Having defined and understood various paradigms of security, challenges to Pakistan’s security seem enormous and complex, especially when it comes to internal and individual security. The first and foremost challenge is economic crisis and underdevelopment. Pakistan is blessed with natural resources, i.e. oil, gas, minerals etc but unfortunately it is economic mismanagement that has deprived the nation for the last 60 years. This has hindered the country’s progress in spite of having lot of positives at hand. The other challenge is the menace of terrorism and extremism coupled with two cancers, i.e. sectarianism and ethnic divide. Indian threat has always been there as a constant factor.
Having mentioned number of security challenges, the viability of National Action Plan (NAP) can be gauged from the dual approach of the NAP, i.e. hard power and soft power approaches. The hard power focuses on military operations in the country. Operation Zarb-e-Azb is the best example to flush the terrorists out. Other operations of many kinds and scales are going on in the country by para-military forces. The beauty of the NAP is its soft power approach to deal with extremist mindset, if implemented. Madrassahs and Mosques are being registered so that these institutions must not be used as breeding grounds for propaganda and anti-state activities. There is ban on hate audio and video material being sold in Pakistan. Hate literature is also checked and banned, which is a good step in right direction. Political approach is being applied in dealing with terrorism and extremism. Main curriculum in education sector is also checked and efforts are on to reform it. Internal security challenges need to be tackled to augment external security.
The draft of the NAP looks viable and impressive but the main issue is its practice in its entirety. We are always good at making and drafting policies but when it comes to implementation, we stand stranded in between. But today it seems that there is consensus among defence and civilian institutions and they all stand at one point agenda, i.e. eradicating menace of terrorism and other internal threats from Pakistan. Terrorism is a global phenomenon and due to this Pakistan’s image has been tarnished. Pakistan has to not only get rid of terrorism but also has to put its own house in order. The NAP is one of the good steps, which Pakistan must have done way before.
Disclaimer: Views expressed are of the writer and are not necessarily reflective of IPRI policy.