Rethinking national security on people’s and citizens paradigm inevitable


Islamabad: The experts demanded that the security establishment should broaden their definition of security while talking into account the human and citizens security. The double game with different stakeholders and military’s penetration into country’s affairs such as politics and economy should end now and the military should focus more on professionalism and defending the country against worsening internal and external threats.

Imtiaz Gul, Chairman, Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Islamabad, Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, Analyst and Professor at Quaid-I-Azam University and LUMS, Air Marshal ® Ayaz Ahmed Khan and Lt-Gen® Abdul Qayyum, Former Chairman Pakistan Ordinance Factory and Pakistan Steel Mills spoke at the seminar on “Rethinking national security: lapses, threats and strategies” organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) here on Monday. Executive Director of SDPI, Dr Abid Q. Suleri moderated the proceedings.

Dr Abid said the economic dependence of the country has been at the centre of state policies so far and added that the time has come for this nation to think beyond this persistent dependence. He said there are various levels of security but the Abbottabad incident has generated a debate which mainly evolves around physical security and defense while the real security is human security and human development which is neglected altogether in this country. He said defense budget is three times more than Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) even in the forthcoming budget while sixty percent people are food insecure with livelihood sources endangered and energy crisis is worsening including looming gas crisis in winter.

He said that during last three budgets, the country heavily relied on promises of Friends of Pakistan, Tokyo pledges and Kerry-Lugar Bill but none of these instruments were fulfilled appropriately and enabled Pakistan to overcome the economic dependence. The country has received over 11 billion dollar remittances this year and added that such opportunities can be utilized for economic independence.

He lamented over the double-game of establishment including General Musharraf’s double game with people and the world and added that perhaps Pakistan was using Osama as a bargain chip for some economic gains to deal with the economic dependence.

Imtiaz Gul said it is very difficult for the military establishment to abandon the obsession of geo-strategic relevance which have bled the country and led this nation to an irreparable and dangerous situation. Currently security apparatus is under-attack and can this security apparatus which is busy in running the affairs of country will rethink the national security, he questioned. He said the country is run by the security establishment involving the dominance of military, ISI and other forces. The entire security apparatus determines foreign policy and also the internal counter terrorism tactics across Pakistan. Pre-dominance of national security forces into country’s affairs have eroded the transparency and accountability culture.

He said the country is economically weak and army is tactically stretched from North to South in dealing with conflict situations. “The real enemy is within—the supporters of Taliban and Al-Qaeda” it is a school of thought which believes that you can kill anybody who disagrees with you.

Dr Hoodbhoy urged that the security establishment should end the double game of good and bad militants and their use in the region including Kashmir. He lamented over sharp decrease of professionalism in army due to its deep penetration into economy. He said that it was a shocking lack of competence if Osama was hiding in Abbottabad but the military and ISI were unaware besides failure to mobilize the air force during the Osama operation. He deplored the military is consuming overwhelming resources of this country but is unable to defend the nation and has lost its efficacy.

He further questioned the political wisdom of the security establishment while criticizing its double game with US and Talibans. He said that the military has now been hit by both sides as the country has lost 30 thousand innocent people while the double dealing have alienated all our allies and the world. He said that incapable and incompetent military still insists that it knows better and can better run the country’s affair. It has two triumph cards to blackmail the world which included the possible vacuum in Afghanistan in Post-US withdrawal and the Atomic bomb.

Air Marshal ® Ayaz said the threat is within as Tehrik Taliban Pakistan and Al-Qaeda have declared war against Pakistan and United States. He said the most disturbing aspects of country’s are culture of violence and intolerance and religious fanaticism supported by educated. Talking of 2 May operation, he clarified that one has to understand the difficult terrain and use of radar-evading helicopters and highly sophisticated technology by the Americans while adding that if America does any mischief including attack on nuclear installations, the armed forces of Pakistan have no answer. He said that the country has first rate weapons and professionally trained soldiers and army has got back Swat, South Waziristan and will also bring back North Waziristan.

Lt-Gen® Abdul Qayyum said although there were weaknesses and mistakes by Pakistani rulers too but it were American policies and attitude towards Muslims which have created militancy and fanaticism in society and state in Pakistan. He said that hearts and minds of the people cannot be won with weapons and guns only but American policies have to be changed towards Pakistan and Muslim world.

For more information, contact:
Faisal Nadeem Gorchani
Coordinator, Policy Advocacy and Outreach
Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI)
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