Social engagement for NAP implementation
The government should take necessary steps to engage intellectuals and non-government organisations as part of the social engagement agenda of the NAP
Good things do happen in Pakistan, but not very often. The latest one is that the National Security Council (NSC) meeting was convened last week at the PM House. It was the first meeting the new Prime Minister Shahid-Khaqan Abbasi chaired. The meeting that lasted for four hours reviewed the prevailing situation along the Line of Control (LoC) and the Afghan border and the country’s internal security. Besides, the military’s ongoing Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad and Operation Khyber-4 also came under discussion.
The meeting was attended, from the military’s side, by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Zubair Mahmood Hayat, Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah and Inter Services Intelligence Director General Lt Gen Naveed Mukhtar, while Defence Minister Khurram Dastagir, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal and other senior officials represented the civilian government.
All stakeholders and members of the NSC appear to be on the same page. It was decided that security operations would continue till elimination of terrorism from the country besides stressing upon Afghanistan to control illegal movement from her side of the border and stop incidents of cross-border firing and shelling. The political gurus are quite optimist after observing the conduct of the new premier Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as he has no hang overs of any sort on any strategic and defence challenges confronting the country. Perhaps that is why he has opted for some changes in his cabinet to get out of the chaos that was created by the former premier Nawaz Sharif and his cabinet. Many believe the exclusion of Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan is a blessing in disguise. Let’s see how dynamically and aggressively the new prime minister and his cabinet take on the chronic and disastrous challenges facing the land now.
The 20-point National Action Plan has been underway for three years but unfortunately government, opposition parties and the forces fighting the miscreants directly on the ground have never been on the same page
A cohesive and inclusive strategy certainly would lead to much better results in taming Pakistan’s friendly relations with the neighbouring countries, though it seems quite hard at a time when US President Donald Trump is trying to jeopardise the situation in the region too. His total intolerance towards the economic stability and growth of China over the region and across the globe could bring unfortunate consequences to states in the South Asian region.
At this point of time, indeed internal security is more important to fight cross-border terrorism and security challenges. The 20-point National Action (NAP) is on for the last three years, but unfortunately government, opposition parties and the forces fighting directly against the miscreant and anti-state elements had never been on the same page. Many times we heard opposition parliamentarians asking the government to chip in their part of efforts to support the Zarb-e-Azb and Radd-ul-Fasaad and other operations in the tribal belt. I believe with the new premier in the chair of the NSC, the situation would improve. All stakeholders and strategic internal partners would be playing their best to stabilise the internal security situation.
We hardly see the social engagement of NAP. The federal and provincial governments should take necessary steps to engage moderate intellectuals and social sector non-governmental sector to begin with the NAP social engagement.
The sustainability think tank, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) had identified some gaps in the NAP and made some recommendations too. While going through the NAP document, I could not find any traces if anyone had considered incorporating those valuable suggestions to improve the action agenda of internal security.
Another good example is the process of social engagement that Sungi Development Foundation has opted to eliminate sectarian hatred, and to resolve social and religious conflicts from different parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). In several exemplary cases, the society itself segregated and cornered the social and religious ‘leaders’ creating conflicts through hate-speech or by distributing conflicting print material. My firm belief is the NAP social engagement would further support the segregation of such hidden elements that facilitate, support and protect the unwanted theories and philosophies and their masterminds.
Fighting against the miscreants is one part of the solution to make the society peaceful and harmonised on the basis of ethnic equality and religious tolerance. Preventing from conflicts to happen is another solution, rather a better solution. That is only possible through meditative social segregation process where the elders and respectable of the community shall make a code of conduct for themselves to adopt safeguards for their cluster or a group of communities to support the National Action Plan. The meditative social segregation process may be facilitated, supported and monitored by a joint committee of locals, government and non-government members, commonly accepted by the communities. This process may be a new beginning of the social integration to support and strengthen the internal security as envisaged in the NAP.
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The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint or stance of SDPI.