THE National Internal Security Policy 2018-2023 has been announced that envisages strengthening the State ability to respond to security issues, challenging the extremist narratives, and addressing the deprivations that result in security challenges. NISP 2018-2023 is a comprehensive framework of security that has been created with a complete consensus by all organs of the State.
On the face of it, the policy seems to be comprehensive, elaborate and has clear objectives to achieve besides a firm mechanism for its implementation. To achieve the objectives and vision of NISP 2018-2023 the policy has a 6R strategy (re-imagine, reconcile, redistribute, recognise, regional approach and reorient facets of the State and how it interfaces with its citizens). Policy provides 120 measures, however key priority areas as well as those required in the short, medium or long term have been identified to help efficient resource allocation. An elaborate implementation plan has been developed that includes for the first time in any government policy, the indicators to measure progress. Under the policy, four broad objectives; creating structures for enforcement of the rule of law, bringing the country together through a shared vision that gives space to many identities of the people of Pakistan, developing political stability from a shared vision and creating the conditions for economic and societal preconditions to achieve social justice has been set.
There, however, seems to be some confusion about all these objectives as we have witnessed in the past that none of them was given priority by all stakeholders. How can we expect enforcement of rule of law when a few months back extremist and militant groups occupied the main expressway of Rawalpindi and Islamabad for three weeks sending alarming signals not only to peaceful citizens of the country but also to international community. They were allowed to continue with their plans and finally they made the government to surrender. As far as political stability is concerned every one has witnessed that how, during last many decades, political manoeuvrability by ‘actors’ played havoc with the political system and as a result elected governments were not allowed to work despite clear mandate from the people. Same is the case with economic stability, which is deeply linked to political stability and continuation of policies but we have been discarding policies initiated by one government on flimsy grounds and narrowed vision. The policy identifies IS (Daesh) as the biggest threat to the country whereas in the past it was repeatedly stated that there was no organised presence of the militant group in Pakistan.
Again, the policy envisages creation of a number of entities both at federal and provincial levels in the name of coordination, oversight and monitoring whereas the fact remains that there is no dearth of organisations and the only question that needs to be addressed is how to make them responsive to the situation and threats and how to improve coordination among them. Despite repeated claims, our security agencies and law-enforcing agencies seldom coordinate and there have been even reports that they do not share their information and data with one another. There is definitely need for carrying out meaningful police reforms but keeping in view our track record there is hardly any hope of worthwhile progress in near future despite the fact that visible improvement in law and order situation can be achieved if police is reformed and modernised. The goal to modernise and upgrade forensic labs and adopt modern investigation techniques is laudable if implemented in letter and in spirit. Militants are increasingly using latest gadgets and technologies but some recent incidents clearly showed that our law enforcing agencies are lacking in tackling cyber crimes. This aspect needs to be taken care of on a priority basis and the objective can be realised if appointments in the concerned departments are made purely on merit and not on Sifarish.