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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Pakistan’s new strategic direction unveiled at Security Dialogue

Addressing Islamabad Security Dialogue held in Islamabad on Wednesday, PM Khan said coordination through this dialogue will bring a lot of benefit for inclusivity, nation building and national security in Pakistan.

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During his inaugural address at Pakistan’s first ever Security Dialogue, the prime minister said that Pakistan needed to have a debate on the concept of national security, saying that it wasn’t restricted to just matters and affairs related to bolstering the country’s security forces. “I pay homage to the armed forces and intelligence agencies who sacrificed their lives to save ours but there are other challenges also”, he added.

He further said that national security today has a lot of other aspects that Pakistan has been ignoring since decades. He mentioned how it is crucial to address the climate change and food security challenges at the earliest if the country needs to prosper.

PM Imran stated that climate change and its long-term effects had not been discussed in the past. He added that the government’s 10 million tree plantation drive was an attempt to counter the climate change which could have disastrous effects for our future generations.

PTI government had been internationally recognised for its ’10 Billion Tree Tsunami’ initiative, he remarked. Emphasizing the importance of human security, the premier said that the security of the common citizen is one of the most important issues. He appreciated China for devising effective economic policies to eradicate poverty and said that the Ehsaas program aims to do the same.

Read More: PM Khan inaugurates Security Dialogue

Elaborating further, the premier said that keeping in mind the rapid increase in Pakistan’s population, food security has also become a part of a country’s national security paradigm. He said that the government had made wrong assessments in providing food security to the masses and currently needs to import four million tons of wheat to meet their needs.

PM Khan also emphasized the importance of achieving economic prosperity, saying that “The deficit in the economy affects our currency directly which increases the inflation which ultimately affects the poor sector of the country. No country can progress when there are only a handful of rich people and a sea of poor ones”.

He mentioned that under his government, the country was able to fight a crippling current account deficit, increase exports and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). The premier explained that in order to expand our national resource pie and to utilize these resources for human welfare and robust defence, the dollar inflow must be consistently greater than the dollar outflow. He added that deficit leads to a weakening of the rupee, inflation and results in poverty.

Improved trade relations crucial for Pakistan’s development

To capitalize on its geostrategic location, Pakistan needs regional peace and improved trade ties with neighbouring countries, he stressed. “Pakistan is committed to doing everything it can to facilitate the Afghan peace process,” the premier said. “There is the hope of peace in Afghanistan after a long time and but there are a lot of challenges. In a country that has been in a civil war kind of situation, the Afghan administration is depending on Pakistan to bring peace. The Biden administration also believes that this war has been going on too long”, he said.

Read More: Delayed US withdrawal necessary for peace in Afghanistan

The key to peace for this region lies in Aghanistan, said PM Khan.

Talking about India, PM Khan said that ever since his government came into power, it has tried to resolve the major issues including the issue of Indian Ilegaly Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

“Unfortunately, the events that transpired on August 5 led to break down of all communications with India. Till the time they don’t take the first step, we can’t move forward. If the issues are resolved it would benefit them [india] also as they would be connected to the rest of South Asia’’, he said.

Shedding light on the Kashmir Issue, he said that Pakistan hopes to give Kashmiris the right to self-determination granted to them by the UN Security Council as it would be advantageous for both Pakistan and India.

The need for initiating a security dialogue

Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on National Security Division and Strategic Policy Planning Moeed Yousuf called for initiating a national security dialogue in parallel with the world’s best security platforms.

Addressing the first session titled ‘Comprehensive National Security’ at the two-day national security dialogue that commenced in Islamabad on Wednesday Yousuf said that a country as important as Pakistan should have a platform where ideas can be exchanged, and where others may also come and join the dialogue.

He stressed on Pakistan’s need to have a coherent narrative to promote its reality to the world. “We have been treated unfairly over the years, especially by the foreign media that paints Pakistan in a negative light; that’s an area that’s our responsibility to address, he said.

“We have immense talent in universities, faculties, youth, think-tanks. A lot of money is spent and a lot of good ideas are generated. Unfortunately, the public sector wasn’t geared up to take these up and use them optimally,” remarked Yousuf.

Yousuf said that the NSD has created a council of experts where the best minds would get together to advise the government on security. “We will see think tanks and Pakistan’s best minds advising the public sector and telling the world Pakistan’s true story confidently, unapologetically and pro-actively that Pakistan is a country which is focused on economic security, paradigm of human welfare and continue to value strong defence and deterrence to protect the territorial boundaries,” he said.

Retired Ambassador Fauzia M Sana, Retired Ambassador Riaz H Khokhar, Retired Lt Gen Aamir Riaz, Retired Ambassador Riaz Muhammad Khan and Former US Ambassador to Pakistan Cameron Munter also addressed this session.

Addressing the second session of the Dialogue titled “Economic Security at the Core”, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood said a strong economy will enhance country s power and strengthen National Security. Industrial, Energy, Food, Connectivity, Financial Security and Economic Diplomacy are pillars of our Economic Security, said Dawood. History has shown that economic backwardness leads to social conflicts and political turmoil and thus weakens national security, he added.

“Our Geo-strategic location has to be complemented with Geo-economics.” he said. Pakistan has been mostly suffering due to its strategic location and time and it’s about time that Pakistan’s turns it into its favor.

Pakistan’s first ever security dialogue is being organized by the National Security Division in collaboration with its advisory board, comprising five leading think tanks of the country including Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies, Islamabad Policy Research Institute, Institute of Strategic Studies, Institute of Regional Studies and National Defence University’s Institute of Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis.

A first of its kind advisory portal of the National Security Division was also launched by PM Khan during the event. This portal will be an integrated platform to bridge the gap between major think tanks and universities working on the subject of national security and it would be used to share policy recommendations directly with the national leadership.

“The NSD portal will allow national think tanks and universities working on national security to directly offer policy recommendations to the government and can be pathbreaking in this regard” the official statement said.