Last week Pakistan released its National Security Policy, prioritising areas where it needed to put extra focus, to pull the nation out of the series of crises; terming them in the typical terminology of challenges and opportunities.
Pakistan, as a nation, has right to evaluate pros and cons of the situation prevailing in the country as also to determine its future course.
It has come out with NSP, which it thinks is near-perfect roadmap, though open to the evolving discourse on it.
That is Islamabad’s view, but, in reality this is a policy which promises everything under the sun, but it is tempered with uncertainties as there are yawning fault lines, particularly violent extremism and terrorism which can wreck its whole concept of national security.
Pakistan’s NSP has mentioned Jammu and Kashmir in two prisms – ( a) that the “ unresolved Kashmir issue is hampering the progress of the region, and as usual blames India for this situation, a very convenient way of avoiding its own destructive contribution in destabilising things (b) it believes, what it calls “political, diplomatic ad moral support to Kashmiris can change both geography and history.
Here Pakistan has missed a grand opportunity which it had. It could have declared cessation of terrorism from its soil to Kashmir.
The graveyards in Kashmir are mostly of those whom Pakistan trained and armed and sent back for “jihad”, and also of those who were killed in “crossfire” or whom the militants blasted. It owes an explanation for that. That would have been moral.
It could have promised to open new paths in building relationship with India and living peacefully with its eastern neighbour. Instead, it used denialism as a strategy to twist and distort the actual picture.
This is what it said in NSP, while talking about “Securing our borders”: “Special attention is required to manage lingering border disputes which continue to pose security threats, particularly along the Line of Control and Working Boundary where ceasefire violations by India threaten civilian lives and property while endangering regional stability.”
A selective amnesia has been used as a technique to hide facts. It has completely omitted the reiteration of the November 26, 2003 ceasefire agreement, better known as Eid-ul-Fitr agreement on February 24/25, 2021, in which it was stated very clearly that the Indian and Pakistani armies agreed for “strict observance of all agreements, understandings, and cease firing along the Line of Control and other sectors with effect from midnight of 24/25 Feb 2021”.
Consequently, there has been exchange of sweets by the two sides on the LoC and international border in J&K. Pakistan’s National Security Advisor Moeed Yusuf, the main author of the national security policy, perhaps took exchange of sweets on the borders as ceasefire violations.
Should it be reminded to Moeed Yusuf that it was he who had declared that the back-channel talks (between India and Pakistan) were off . “It’s over now.” , he had said in an interview in July last year. The echo of his repulsive comments about India’s role in working for peace and stability in Afghanistan that “a spoiler cannot be a peacemaker” is antithesis to the spirit of dialogue that the NSP claims to be pitching for with India.
In today’s world where so many fault lines are triggering conflict and near-war situations, with superpowers involved in one way or the other, it is imperative that the issue of the security and peace be addressed in a holistic manner. Bits and pieces approach is self-defeating.
The growing tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine, and the developments in the central Asian region, particularly Kazakhstan, should have made Pakistan realise that its diatribe against Delhi and drawing sadistic pleasure from a difficult situation doting eastern Ladakh due to the aggression of China, will not help it, strategically or economically.
The strategies regarding the national security policy are framed by taking all good and bad things into consideration. These documents are not framed to please one or the other power by demonising others.
The way the NSP of Pakistan has acknowledged that,” Extremism and radicalisation on the basis of ethnicity or religion pose a challenge to our society. The exploitation and manipulation of ethnic, religious, and sectarian lines through violent extremism cannot be allowed”; its author(s) should have known that export of such hate and violent extremism, physically and through cyber space cannot be justified in the high-sounding terminology of “ moral, diplomatic and political support”.
It should have added, in very specific terms, that it will seek friendly ties with India by rolling back all instruments of terrorism and put a halt to the export of radicalism once and for all. The roads would have opened for dialogue on trade and business. Unfortunately, there is nothing progressive or pragmatic vision in the NSP, though we wish it should have been there.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.