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سوموار، 5 نومبر، 2012

Internal security of Pakistan

Pakistan has been suffering from the threats posed to its internal security due to the conflict between different religious groups". There are many horizontal and vertical cleavages in Pakistan that keep people divided on the basis of religion, caste, creed, status and language along with ever lasting lacuna between haves and have nots.

Internal security holds pivotal place in national security policy of any country. Pakistan is facing multitudes of multi-dimensional internal security problems, extensive internal threats and challenges to its physical and human security, which arise mainly out of intolerance, extremism, militancy and terrorism - both in the hinterlands and urban areas.

Criminal corruption and societal crimes further compound the problem. On the whole, these threats hamper prosperity of the people and progress of the state. The country is braving the worst forms of terrorism, the society is divided into groups, foreign interventions are taking deep roots, extremism and intolerance are thriving, the writ of the state is weakening, the requisite political will to stem the tide seems wanting and the rule of law has been the biggest casualty.
While addressing a seminar on internal security of Pakistan a Vice Chancellor of a reputed university conceptualized that “being a consociational society where different religious groups are most of the times in conflict with each other on petty issues, Pakistan has been suffering from the threats posed to its internal security due to the conflict between different religious groups”. There are many horizontal and vertical cleavages in Pakistan that keep people divided on the basis of religion, caste, creed, status and language along with ever lasting lacuna between haves and have nots.

These cleavages are not only undermining Pakistan’s economic system but also causing socio-political instability. In this age of globalization media has exacerbated the crises and made Pakistan more vulnerable by disseminating disinformation, besides fabricated and manipulated stories that present a gloomy picture of the country and stop the foreign investment. Like other so called political parties and leadership, media is also working against the national interest of Pakistan.

Overall, the internal security situation continues to be a pressing challenge for Pakistan’s struggling government. Critical security challenges remain unaddressed as being portrayed by the prevailing situation of FATA and Balochistan primarily and the rest of the country secondarily. A lack of coordination among intelligence agencies, lesser attention to the capacity building measures of law enforcement agencies are playing as the apples of discard in this context. Challenges faced by state are enormous and diverse and the government has yet to devise an effective and comprehensive counter-terrorism and internal security policy. Thus, there is an imperative need to revisit our internal security policy to retrieve the situation to normalcy.
Achieving internal security is of paramount importance to ensuring a stable and prosperous future in Pakistan. At the core of internal security is the creation of a capable, well-resourced, structurally coherent, and institutionally autonomous police and law enforcement service. The establishment of a stable democratic government that makes decisions responsibly and is accountable to the public is a central part of this objective. Moreover, improvements in internal security cannot be achieved through a firefighting approach alone. Rather, the strategy should cultivate long-term policies that include both military and nonmilitary aspects of counterinsurgency and counterterrorism, and must include measures that tackle the root causes of insurgency and violence in the first place, such as poverty, illiteracy, a sense of injustice, and a widely held perception that “external forces” are attacking Pakistan. The following steps needs to be taken to ensure internal security in Pakistan over the next decade:

De-radicalization programs and the effective use of law enforcement backed by military force must be enhanced to reduce religious militancy.
The Pakistan government will have to confront the multiple insurgent and terrorist groups operating simultaneously in the country. No terrorist or militant group should be allowed to use any space as a sanctuary.
Establishing an efficient, resourceful, and accountable law enforcement infrastructure will require Pakistan to do the following:
Fully implement the 2002 Police Order and reorganize the police into an efficient, professional, and politically neutral force. The controversial amendments made in 2004 to the Police Order should be discarded. Most importantly, police safety commissions-already provided for under the new law-must be empowered to monitor police performance.
Increase salaries and improve conditions in the police to ensure that policing standards are enhanced. Better performance of the National Highways and Motorway Police clearly shows that incentives make a significant difference in output.
Follow, as a model, the Citizen-Police Liaison Committee in Karachi, a nonpolitical statutory institution, and engage in similar efforts across Pakistan. Developing public trust is critical for reducing crime and sustaining any reform agenda.
Streamline the nationwide law enforcement command and control system and enhance police and intelligence services cooperation.

Military and civilian intelligence agencies must follow guidelines provided by law when gathering information and conducting interrogations. Human rights violations, especially in Balochistan, where reports of abductions of political activists by security forces are common, must end. While Pakistan is not a failed or even a failing state, the country’s weaknesses and dysfunctions are clearly visible. Internal security is only one of the challenges facing Pakistan today. Weaknesses in state structure as well as Pakistan’s perennial identity crisis also have risen to a dangerous level. Without the urgent adoption of both remedial and revolutionary measures, Pakistan’s future challenges will only become more serious over time. As one leading Pakistani economist has noted, “As Pakistan’s crisis of governance and economy reaches a point of inflection, it is time to change the policy paradigm-the one that regards greed as the basis of public action, affluence of the few at the expense of many as the hallmark of development, and an adversarial relationship with a neighboring country as an emblem of patriotism.” To make tough choices, Pakistan’s leadership needs enhanced credibility as well as international support in this respect.

Furthermore, Pakistan needs to develop an internal security policy based on a good governance policy aimed at eradicating poverty, and further set out in national strategies to promote investment, as internal security goes hand in hand with National economic development so as to adjust National Economic development to internal security both as regards infrastructure for the national police institutions and prisons service or in areas of skills to help prevent or detect development related crimes like those committed with the use of new technology etc. full security is a guarantee for investment and increased national economic growth. Pakistan faces enormous challenges in the years ahead. But the people of Pakistan have shown a remarkable resilience in addressing some of these challenges, and there is a high potential for reform and development in the country. Progressive and constructive policy shifts in Pakistan are what truly matter in the long term. There is no short-cut, and Pakistan’s path will be defined and driven by internal and regional factors, and the international community, especially important allies such as the United States and China, must play a supportive role.


By Muhammad Kashif Irshad

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