Given Pakistan’s location and capability to influence regional and extra regional stability, Pakistan offers vast opportunities but is also confronted with a host of challenges. However, the responsibility to protect its people from internal and external threats by applying all available national power potentials lies with the state. National security is a key derivative of national power potentials that helps in formulating policies and strategies to mitigate the domestic as well as external threats to the core values and interests. These components are closely inter-linked and even if one of them is weak, national security as a whole is weakened correspondingly.
While its external challenges are real and visible, internal threats are interchangeable and dynamic in nature. Pakistan is concerned about the increasing involvement and sinister activities of its eastern neighbor in Afghanistan as well as the increasing presence of Islamic State (ISIS) that poses potential threat to our national security. The spoilers or elements opposed to peace in the region have many a times attempted to obstruct any peaceful developments in Pak-Afghan relations by the use of proxies to carryout terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan. COAS’ visit to Kabul in October was yet another effort to resolve the misunderstandings through dialogue, strengthening bilateral security cooperation and border management. Recent spate of acts of terrorism in both countries should also be seen in this context and its ill effects can be minimized through maintaining trust and dialogue. Despite many ups-and-downs, Pakistan‘s commitment to peace is unwavering and it is up to others now to give peace a chance by showing flexibility and prudence.
Pakistan and Iran’s agreement to improve border control mechanisms to deny terrorists any space for exploitation during COAS’ recent visit to Iran is another step towards ensuring peace in the region. “The Pak-Iran border is one of peace and friendship”, said the COAS during the visit. The support of Tehran for Pakistan’s diplomatic initiative that seeks regional consensus on enduring peace in Afghanistan should play a noteworthy role towards regional peace.
At a time when we are securing our borders and fighting the war on terrorism, we need internal security more than ever. It has been reiterated unequivocally by Army Chief that the prerogative of declaring jihad rests only with the state and the armed forces are a state instrument for application of state policy. Besides Armed Forces having defense capabilities, national cohesion is fundamental to our security. It is also important to emphasize here that Pakistan Armed Forces and people of Pakistan are chained in bonds of deep love and loyalty to Pakistan. Application of force and violence is not the only method for dealing with any issue while aiming at peace and stability in the country. The means applied are subservient to the end objectives and not vice versa. It is vital for us to shun all notions that could lead to anarchy, internal strife and further widen the internal fault lines.
Pakistan is committed to peace at home as well as in the region and the world. Our commitment is visible through our actions, sacrifices and meaningful parleys. Others need to recognize it and emulate by meaningful steps.