Analysts hope new national security policy will put economic development at heart
Najam us Saqib (former ambassador): The challenges and opportunities for Pakistan to enhance regional trade through improved ties with neighboring countries are an integral part of the overall national security policy. Pakistan’s borders east or west have been porous for many decades and this security policy has provided an optimal solution to relevant regional conundrums. The unveiled part of the policy explains the vision which will help to design policies on a practical basis. Traditional concepts of security have been revisited in this document and economic security has been prioritized. The regional security complex is in danger as the Afghan issue remains unresolved. Peace in Afghanistan means peace in the region. Pakistan and Afghanistan are on the same page and this statement can be backed up by the OIC Special Session. Both countries can derive maximum benefits from bilateral trade and regional connectivity, but for that, peace in Afghanistan is a prerequisite. Moreover, mega projects like CPEC should be revisited and not all fruits should fall into China’s basket. Pakistan must determine its national interests and pursue them through a vigilant and pragmatic foreign policy. The global security policy summarizes a consolidated prism for all of these sectors. The trade war between China and the United States will have secret implications for Pakistan. India plays the role of American stooge in the region and tries to hijack the mega development projects of China and Pakistan. Meanwhile, the recently presented policy brief implies that Pakistan wants peace in the region. The international community should take note of the Indian aggression, otherwise anarchy will prevail in the region.
Masood Khalid (former ambassador): The government’s comprehensive national security policy was long overdue and its final form outlines all important segments, including the economy. The unclassified part of the document reveals that Pakistan will focus on materializing the economic security of the citizens. Also, regionalism will be encouraged which will complement Pakistan in boosting economic development at the national and regional levels. India has always played the role of troublemaker in peace and development projects in the region. Pakistan has repeatedly invited India to resolve territorial disputes, but New Delhi has never reciprocated. The international community and human rights watchdogs have acknowledged the Indian state-sponsored atrocities at IIOJ&K. The chaos in the region is due to the extraterritorial power politics where India is the mercenary of the United States to contain the emerging China. Pakistan, on the contrary, has opened avenues of peace and cooperation even with the Central Asian States.
Dr. Salman Shah (CM Punjab Advisor): There are many examples that imply that Pakistan’s economic policy is commendable. Pakistan was ranked among the top two countries that handled the pandemic well while providing immunity to the economy. Value and supply chains have remained intact in the agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors amid strict global lockdowns. Credit to the private sector is gradually increasing and the business sector is flourishing. The country’s GDP which was negative has been rejuvenated to 5.37%, indicating that the government is implementing plausible economic policies. Pakistan is now moving towards another IMF plan to ensure the country’s economic stability. Economic stability provides an environment conducive to business and growth. Inflation has been an underlying problem for our economy for a few years, but people need to understand the dynamics of the Pakistani economy. The current government adopted a floating market-based exchange rate, which caused the rupiah to depreciate against the dollar. The previous government had artificially maintained the exchange rate which led to the accumulation of foreign debts. Additionally, the global energy crisis has contributed to supply-side inflation as Pakistan’s industrial sector is dependent on imports. All of these variables have led to inflation in the country, which poses difficulties for the oppressed segments of society. Nonetheless, robust economic growth will ensure an increase in purchasing power parity and per capita income of the public. Pro-poor policies, even in these difficult economic times, reveal that the incumbent government is determined to provide relief to the disadvantaged segments of society.
Dr. Shahid Hassan Siddiqui (Economist): The improvement in the GDP rate explains that the country is on the way to development. Inflation has long haunted Pakistan’s economic growth. Yet the government has managed to bring stability to the economy even in the most difficult times of the pandemic. The problem and the challenge of inflation can only be solved with one solution, which is improvisation in fiscal policies. Privileged sections of society should play a constructive role in tackling the problem of tax evasion. The principles of economics have nothing to do with politicians and rulers. States that focus less on collecting and redistributing taxes are likely to collapse economically. The real benefit of increased GDP will trickle down to the poor segments if taxpayers pay their dues honestly. Pakistan has millions of unearthed resources, a well-established agricultural setup, and large-scale industries that can help boost exports and reduce imports. The Comprehensive National Security Policy also confirms that food security should be a government priority, which shows that basic commodities will no longer be imported in the future. The SME requirements also validate that the government of the day is committed to establishing import-substituting and export-oriented industries. Such policies will ultimately lead to an increase in GDP of around 8%, certainly with guaranteed economic security for nationals.