New Security policy: will it do the trick?


The government on February 26 unfurled its new security policy in the national assembly. The document aims at setting guidelines and future roadmap in order to nip the menace of terrorism in the bud. The national security policy mainly deals with internal security of the country and envisages activation and revival of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NECTA), creation of a rapid response force and establishment of an internal security division and an intelligence division in the interior ministry. Giving salient features of the policy the interior minister said it was a 100 page document which had been finalized in a period of five months. It is a wide ranging security policy and each of its aspects including the economic security and curbing terrorism needed to be focused, he added.  The policy would have three dimensions including secret, strategic and operational. The first dimension deals with day to day affairs and it is to be kept secret. The second dimension is of strategic nature while third dimension, which is operational explains how appropriate actions shall be taken whenever need arises.

The security policy has evoked missed reaction from different strata of society. The opposition has altogether rejected the policy saying it would not be able to do any trick in terms of elimination of terrorism and extremism from the society. Opposition’s main objection is that there is no mention about foreign interference and foreign-sponsored terrorism in Pakistan, because according the opposition parties, there are credible proofs that some foreign hands are involved in terrorism acts in Pakistan.

The sitting government needs a bit of applause for at least coming out with something, which may provide us with some guidelines as to how to deal with the specter of terrorism in the coming days. No govt of the past had ever devised such a policy. Nevertheless, the incumbent govt is now supposed to do whatever it can for implementation of the policy. A careful reading shows that the policy suggests everything to cope with terrorism except a full scale operation in North Waziristan. The govt perhaps is not in a mood to order a full fledge operation for a variety of reasons.

Our military is already busy on the Eastern and Western borders and full scale operation would mean a major portion of the combat forces will have to be deputed in the troubled regions. And most importantly even if the armed forces win this war, they will have to stay in the region in order to avoid any post-operation insurgency as it happened in Swat operation case. Army will have to establish a cantonment in Swat now in order to make sure that no bad thing happens again. So the question before the military authorities perhaps is that whether a sizeable number of troops can permanently be deployed in that region?

The national security policy calls for revamping and well-equipping the police force, which ostensibly will be a step in the right direction. Police will have to be better trained and equipped with modern tools because it is not just Waziristan area where anti social elements are hiding rather there are certain other regions that are reportedly harboring and nourishing terrorism. Karachi is in the grip of trouble makers since long while Baluchistan has been bearing the brunt of terrorism activities for quite some time now. These are the areas where police should control insurgency but since police are not well equipped and properly trained therefore here too army has to take a lead.

Pakistan’s problem is that it has been governed by the will and wishes of the respective rulers. Constitution is relevant in the sense that those clauses of it that serve interests of the ruling and elite class are adhered to while the clauses that deal with the welfare of ordinary people; rule of law; rights and good governance are never invoked. The newly announced national security policy and such other policies may not see light of the day provided the basic document i.e the Constitution of Pakistan is followed and implemented in letter and spirit. Country’s Constitution contains everything which is needed to govern the state in an efficient and transparent manner. Also it provides with answers and remedies to all our problems that we are facing today.

Though, there are little chances of the national security policy to contribute something to achieving peace in the country, we should cross our fingers for this initiative to succeed for this terrorism and extremism have already taken heavy toll on all of us and there should be an end to this insanity now.