ISLAMABAD: The National Security Advisor (NSA) of Pakistan Lieutenant General (r) Nasser Khan Janjua said that Pakistan is confronted with a plethora of non-traditional security threats, yet they cannot be dealt with effectively in isolation from traditional security threats. To address these challenges effectively, we have to adopt a comprehensive outlook on national security, he added.
Nasser Janjua gave this statement during his address as the chief guest at a national seminar on ‘Non-Traditional Security Challenges to Pakistan’, organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) at the Marriott Hotel, Islamabad.
Janjua outlined the constitutive elements of national security at great length while establishing its link with nation-building and nationhood. He was of the view that Pakistan’s security challenges, both traditional and non-traditional, emanated from the negligence of public welfare, poor governance and dysfunctional institutions.
He said that if left ignored, non-traditional security threats would hamper the process of national development along with undermining the national security. He suggested that a multi-pronged approach should be formulated to deal with the challenges of environmental degradation, food and health security, water scarcity and population explosion.
The speakers at the seminar agreed that the nature of non-traditional threats and challenges to Pakistan were grave and that the country needed to improve its socio-economic milieu, which had both direct and indirect impact on the country’s overall well-being.
The experts also accentuated the need for incorporating the elements of environmental security into the prevailing narratives of national security. They also agreed that urbanisation, water scarcity and population explosion were the kinds of problems which could be managed by introducing institutional reforms and implementing wide-ranging policy initiatives.
The speakers also agreed that a futuristic approach in this regard was absolutely essential since non-traditional security challenges were being shaped by the forces of technological advancements, the fourth industrial revolution, globalisation, and the growing competition among the states and the societies for natural resources.
Possibly, one of the most fundamental dimensions of non-traditional security threats was a population explosion and food scarcity because they were not as dependent on external factors, the speakers observed. On the question of water security, all speakers agreed that the judicial arm of the country was now realising the threat of water security.
Earlier, in his opening remarks, the ISSI Chairman Ambassador Khalid Mahmood spoke about the importance of understanding the nexus between climate change and security in the process of policy formulation. He said that the most important task in front of us was to connect the dots between environmental degradation, and food and water security by keeping in view the rate of population explosion. Pakistan required an urgent re-conceptualisation of its national security and the set of recommendations for national security policy and strategy formulation to counter these challenges. He proposed that given the diverse nature of non-traditional security threats, Pakistan must respond to these challenges at all levels.
Notable speakers at the seminar included, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change Romina Khurshid Alam, Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Director General Dr Ghulam Rasul, United Nations Habitat Pakistan Country Head Javed Ali Khan, Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) Executive Director Dr Abid Qayyum Suleri, Ministry for National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Director General Population Abdul Ghaffar Khan, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms Member Social Sector and Devolution Dr Asma Hyder Baloch, Agahi Founder/President Puruesh Chaudhary, Population Council Pakistan Country Director Dr Zeba Sattar, former Senator Javed Jabbar and others.