Pakistan’s National Security: An Analytical Reappraisal



National security is debatable yet a central notion is fundamental to statecraft for state’s existence and smooth functioning. Contemporary global security is varied in nature ranging from civilian conflicts, human security and climate change to terrorism, organized crimes, militancy and hybrid warfare.

The complexity of security challenges is very much related to modernization, technological advancement and globalization, besides regional and global geopolitics that states uphold vis-a-vis their respective security calculus.

In this regard, three broad trends impact global security; First, shift of power dynamics from West to East and from economically developed North to economically under-developed South triggered by multi polarity. Second, an accelerated globalization and interdependence with transformational growth of technology is uniting, at the same time dividing people vis-à-vis free movement of products, money and philosophies. Third, terrorism and extremism perpetrated by violent non-state actors for political objectives is compounding security challenges. In totality, these drivers are potent challenges impacting national security matrix of statecraft. Pakistan being situated on an important geo-strategic and geographic location has been affected by these factors which are at play along its flanks for a long time impacting its security calculus in diverse ways.

Pakistan, since its inception has inherited a number of national security problems with a weak economy, hostile hegemonic eastern neighbour, poor infrastructure and under-developed government structure to handle unprecedented human security woes due to large scale migration and settlement of refugees. Over time, the country has come of age and today possesses formidable defence, reasonably developed infrastructure and is contributing to peace and stability at regional and international levels. Defeating terrorism in the country is well to Pakistan’s credit. However, governance, economy and human development are ticking bombs threatening national security, cohesion and unity from within and have so far kept the country from being a progressive and prosperous nation. Furthermore, the geo-strategic environment in Pakistan’s neighbourhood gets intensified by global powers’ moves and counter-moves, resultantly impacting its national security and development in various ways. Though, the country’s geo-strategic location does offer countless opportunities via multiple trade corridors to regional and extra-regional states for connectivity, however, internal fault lines, governance woes, dwindling socio-economics, faltering GDP, political instability, lack of social justice and rule of law, internal peace and,security including human security underline the urgent need for an inclusive national security roadmap to address these issues at the earliest. Pakistan, for Paul Kennedy, is a pivot state, for its capacity to affect regional and international stability fits well over here: whose collapse would spell trans-boundary mayhem: migration, communal violence, pollution, disease and so on. A pivot state’s steady economic progress and stability, on the other hand, would bolster its region’s economic vitality and political soundness and benefit American trade and investment.

This article attempts to proffer a perspective on rethinking the national security within comprehensive security paradigm having a balance between national security and economy; state- centric security to individual – focused security. The framework of this discourse is adopted from security models of Barry Buzan, Nils Anderson and Lenore G Martin with six areas of national security being integral to state’s security. Alongside, a cursory view of global and regional environments that subsequently lead to major kinetic and non-kinetic challenges to Pakistan together with country’s economic, governance and human security challenges are highlighted with a proposed plan of action. The core of this security perspective takes guidance from the founding father’s maxim; “Peace Within and Peace Without”; building upon the positive vibe and collective urge for betterment that is visible currently in the polity of Pakistan. Such urge for collective betterment presents an opportunity for initiating directional, structural, capability and capacity related aspects of national security.

This moment of positivity if capitalized by leadership is likely to transform the country significantly besides confronting challenges head-on that equally necessitates leadership’s recognition and pro-active engagement at every level of administration. The article concludes with some practical policy recommendations with a reality check to formulate a road map for comprehensive national security policy to steer the country successfully out of difficult times.

Contemporary Global and Regional Environment

Before discussing the theoretical framework, it is imperative having a look at contemporary global and regional security environment in order to not only discuss challenges but also the opportunities that promise substantial growth and progress to Pakistan.

Pakistan is faced with significant challenges against the backdrop of an ever-changing international security environment due to increased global, regional and domestic volatility. Much is attributed to globalization and interdependence of states wherein coalitions and alliances are made regardless of status of power in order to act against other states; that is the transition from “uni-polar primacy” to “coalitional primacy'”, Of late, buzzwords like mutual development, shared destiny, peoples’ prosperity, win-win situation and cooperation are in use in the international discourse. This does not mean that the realist paradigm is obsolete, rather is much relevant today. However, geo-economics is transforming international politics and economic interdependence significantly making liberalist voices more audible with convincing impacts.

Global War on Terrorism

The coalition initiated under the US leadership remained engaged in this war since 9/11 thereby giving the US a pretext for promotion of its ‘Liberal World Order’s to be implemented in Afghanistan, Iraq and Middle East in order to ensure its security and security of its coalition partners from terrorism and its multiple manifestations. However, with change in its national security priorities manifested in the National Security Strategy (NSS) 2017, the US renders that its strategic competition is with the ‘Revisionist Powers’ like China and Russia rather than terrorism. This may well indicate that war on terror has reached its culmination leading way to power politics in international system”

Energy Wars

Today’s international politics is characterized by struggle for control of energy resources of Eurasia, Central Asia and Middle East – predominantly hubs of energy resources – and remain a focus of power centers of the world due to their dependency on these regions’ natural energy resources. China’s Belt and Road Initiative grants her a vast ingress into Asia in almost all of its sub-regions including CARs, along with Africa. The Chinese presence is a source of concern for the US and western strategic thinkers. Amid rivalry of world powers for strategic influence, Pakistan due to its important gee-strategic location remains at the center of such strategic competition.

Primacy of Geo-economics to Geopolitics

Present times are manifesting primacy of geo-economics to geopolitics. Presence of China and India, two major economies of the world in Pakistan’s neighborhood offers multiple opportunities to the country provided it manages a fine balance in its relations with major world powers. Since the US rebalancing to Indo-Pacific has intensified US-China competition, China’s stakes in Pakistan have multiplied especially via CPEC that may result in fillip in kinetic warfare inside Pakistan.

Regional Power Equilibrium

Regional balance of power equally impacts Pakistan’s security. Ever-evolving transformations in Middle East especially in Iraq, Yemen and Libya have given rise to proxy wars between Iran and Saudi Arabia for regional dominance. Pakistan has so far treaded the path of engagement with both these brotherly Muslim countries, However, a long-term, pragmatic foreign policy with regard to these competing regional powers needs to merit primarily Pakistanis strategic interests.


This western neighbour is currently repositioning itself vis-a-vis major powers’ competing interests. However, its inconsistency in bilateral relations is ripe with mistrust keeping Pakistan’s security situation simmering. As security situation in Afghanistan is directly proportional to Pakistan’s internal security, thus, it facilitated the intra-Afghan peace dialogue and then the Taliban’s rapprochement with the US for regional and global security.

India Factor

Pakistan-India relations continue to be fragile and have become tense since India’s revocation of Articles 370 and 35A thereby scrapping special status of Indian Illegally Occupied Kashmir that is further aggravated by the ongoing deteriorating human rights violations there. The Indian government has belligerent attitude towards every peace move of Pakistan and Pakistan’s every proposal for bilateral talks has so far been turned down making peace prospects a distant dream.


The country’s continual economic rise as an economic giant is as a matter of course, taking roots from its “Harmonious World Policy” that aims at empowering the Chinese government for closing in the wealth divide and easing out of societal tensions. Pakistan, an important strategic ally to China and close partner in CPEC – lynch pin to BRI – is instrumental in furthering Chinese harmonious world view in foreign relations. More than $60 billion bilateral project CPEC is regarded as a game changer for Pakistan and is likely to change the fate of the South Asian region too”. China being an all-weather friend of Pakistan has always been consistent in providing aid and support to Pakistan alongside supporting it at international forums. China values its relations with Pakistan, fully supports stability in Afghanistan and fight against terrorism in all its forms. Pakistan’s close economic cooperation with China may further boost close defence cooperation with the country too, which is to enhance economic opportunities for Pakistan in the region and beyond.

Internal Environment of Pakistan – An Overview

The 21st century has brought two significant shifts in national security: first, power diffusion from states to non-state actors and second, emergence of geoeconomics as the predominant norm of states’ bilateral relationships.

Contemporary warfare trend has reduced the focus on kinetic options as war is too costly especially when it is between nuclear armed states. Thus, countries view non-kinetic end of conflict spectrum being more diversified in options and advantages. It is noteworthy that Pakistan has defeated the menace of terrorism from its soil with whole of a nation approach that indeed speaks volumes of resilience of its people and law enforcing agencies including its armed forces. Here, it is imperative to append Pakistan’s domestic security landscape to underline the nature of non-kinetic angles of national security.

Fight against terrorism has met success; however, extremist tendencies in society pose serious threats to manipulating internal ethnic and sectarian fault lines.

A vibrant civil society, energetic youth bulge and cognizance among masses are positive signs amidst waning national cohesion. Alongside, thriving media is creating awareness in society. Ifharnessed positively, it can help in realising country’s under-utilized potential.

Economic fragility arising from weak governance, mismanagement and misplaced priorities has led to drastic drops in economic growth thus creates discontent amongst masses.

Bad governance leading to rising poverty, i n sufficient healthcare, and lack of education, unemployment and unskilled population are directly proportional to dismal socio-economic indicators.

Democratic governance laced by separation of powers amongst state pillars like executive, legislative and judiciary is lacking leading to weak and incompetent institutional capacity wltich also results in dis-continuity of policy.

The threat of terrorism and. extremism is and will remain the most potent danger to Pakistan for the foreseeable future. Afghan-based Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), ISIS’ acts of terrorism, nationalist movements and an under-developed Balochistan continue to pose security challenges.

Comprehensive National Security: Theoretical Framework

In order to redevise Pakistan’s national security framework within the ambit of comprehensive security, political scientists Barry Buzan, Nils Andren and Lenore G Martin’s security models are studied. Each of them has enlisted areas of national security with Barry Buzan enlisting military, political, economic, societal and environmentally while Nils Andren categorizes six as territorial, economic, cultural, ecological, socio- political and military and diplomacy and Lenore G Martin formulates five variables like political, ethnic and religious, economic, natural resources and military”. Keeping these three models in view, Pakistan’s comprehensive national security framework may comprise the following six areas:

1 Political
2 Economic
3 Military
4 Socio-Religious
5 Information & Technology
6 Environmental

One notices the overlapping and interlinking threads of these sectors which are at times non-separated from one another. Within the purview of present discourse, the areas that affect Pakistan’s security the most have been deliberated upon instead of divulging into each and every aspect of state working. While analyzing the challenges posing potential threats to national security, their causes and various manifestations are duly deliberated upon. Furthermore, owing to complexity of contemporary modes of warfare, clear demarcations vis-a-vis internal and external challenges are hard to make. National security debate remains incomplete without a mention of human security that addresses and identifies challenges to the survival, livelihood and dignity of people of a country. Thus, strengthening and empowering people being an integral component of national security architecture, is given due consideration while outlining Pakistan’s comprehensive security framework.

One may not forget human security, with its seven categories as economic, food, health, environmental, personal, community and political security, that has achieved significant attention in international politics and national security 14 discourse of late.

1. Political Dimensions

In order to confront non-kinetic warfare, the need is to respond via whole of a nation approach that further underscores weaving national security around human security.

The most challenging aspect is to ensure political stability and continuity of policies in the country. Success stories of Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and China speak volumes about political stability, continuity of policies and good governance as pre-requisites for their economic rise.

Following dimensions are of much importance for political stability:

Provincial Autonomy Shortfall

Often a debate rages in Pakistan between presidential and federal form of governments with supporters of presidential form voicing the executive stability with limited government ensuring greater democracy in this form. However, cohorts favouring federating democracy argue, since Pakistan is divided across multi- ethnic and sectarian and sub-national lines, federalism is the right choice as the 1973 Constitution duly divides powers between the center and provinces. Striking a balance of power at the federal and provincial levels ensures national cohesion and unity by eliminating regional imbalances and injustice. This unity in diversity must not be harmed by regressive minority at the center trying to prevent provincial governments from exercising authority within their constitutional domains. Pakistan being a federating democracy needs to strengthen intra- provincial coordination to eliminate the feelings of mistrust and alienation in the society. However, the situation on this account is not encouraging as provincial autonomy deficit leads to non-consensus on many issues – water distribution among provinces, NFC award for distribution of financial resources etc – thus hampering state’s ability to address socio-economic matters on time thereby causing marginalization and frustration of under-developed areas.

Bad Governance

Bad governance is a result of poor socio- economic development in the country with the inability to address masses’ problems resultantly causing despondency. Bad governance is multiplying problems arising from demographic explosion, untapped youth bulge, weak rule of law and inconsistent and unrealistic policy goals making the matters worse. Adherence to constitutional spirit by upholding the principles of republicanism, checks and balances, separation of powers and limited government would solve governance issues.

Weak Institutions

This aspect is yet another hurdle in smooth government functioning. For internal peace and security and counter-terrorism, National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) is in doldrums; implementation on National Action Plan (NAP) is just anafterthought; political capture of Federal

Board of Revenue (FBR) and other financial institutions prevent meaningful debate on broadening the tax net and Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee is toothless in checking on matters of public interest. Keeping the spirit of ‘Social Contract’ intact thereby the state of Pakistan is responsible for creating a political and economic environment where people’s welfare must be at the heart of public policy. Sticking to constitutional democracy as envisaged in 1973 Constitution as a social contract would ensure strong institutions.

Political Instability and Discontinuity of Policy

Success stories of Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and China exemplify that political stability and policy continuity is the pre-requisite for development and growth. Pakistan has witnessed turn-taking of political and military governments in its existence of 75 years that has contributed to political instability.

Besides, there are a number of other reasons; one policy failure does not get the government to find out its causes instead another policy is announced, weak institutions and authoritarian administration, failing rule of law and priorities inconsistent with development needs further multiply peoples’ woes. Political stability with democratic governance can take roots only when more democracy and not less is practised and ensured. Greater accessibility and openness of the democratic decision making is guaranteed; avoiding extra-constitutional arrangements, working on merit, integrity, transparency and accountability accompanied by decentralization of power permeates the system of government. Most importantly, negotiating a new social contract to fix change of power between political and military establishments would solve the problem once and for all.

Social Polarization

The polity of Pakistan is not just politically divided but it also suffers from sectarian, ethnic, provincial and linguistics issues. Such situation at times lets certain segments fall prey to identity crises. Alongside, poor literacy indicators, unequal application of law and order on different segments of society and lack of social justice result in inequality, exploitation and conflict and weaken the society internally. A concerted effort to come up with a fairer economic regime and political system that looks at everyone equally would do the trick. Upholding the 1973 Constitutional Themes of republicanism, popular sovereignty and democratic governance would put unrest to rest.

Internal Peace and Security

Lack of peace and security in erstwhile FATA and Balochistan are constantly destabilizing and eroding the writ of state. Despite enhanced development activities and mainstreaming of these areas through various infrastructure projects, the situation is far from satisfactory. Attending this sector on priority basis, the pace of development activities needs to be fast-tracked with special emphasis on addressing alienation and deprivation of people by providing them a level playing field for social upward mobility.

Balanced Foreign Policy

Pragmatic foreign policy aimed at striking a balance in relations with major powers such as USA, China, Russia and other regional countries like KSA and Iran is imperative for Pakistan. The country has to have constructive engagement with all major powers to ensure its relevance to all regional and extra-regional geopolitical and geoeconomic domains.

Indian Dynamics

Indian actions of August 5,2019 of revoking the special status of IIOJK and turning it into a unionterritory is clear violation of UNSC Resolutions on the disputed Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir. So far peace efforts by Pakistan for peaceful resolution of Kashmir issue have been turned down; instead Prime Minister Modi is pursuing a policy to isolate Pakistan diplomatically. Pakistan needs to stick to the path of international law and supporting the people of Kashmir politically and morally furthering their right to self determination at all international forums.

Afghanistan Conundrum

Pakistan needs to align its diplomatic strategy concerning the post-US troops withdrawal Afghanistan in synchronization with the regional actors. After Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, Pakistan being a sincere neighbor is assisting the country to build its institutions, urging the Taliban to have an inclusive government and providing them assistance and advice. So far Pakistan’s response to the rapid developments in Afghanistan is mature and calculated.

2. Economic Dimensions

Struggling Socio-economics

Pakistan’s Asian peers like Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea have continued with high growth rates and fast industrialization quite consistently over the years that has made the difference. Their high growth ensured-their prosperity in a short period of time. However, Pakistan’s domestic economy is in shambles with inconsistent growth rates accompanied by a population growing at 1.8 percent each year which is straining the scarce resources. CoVid-19 pandemic has additionally resulted in negative impact on the economy. Besides, low sources of revenues and high non-development expenditures are recipe for disaster. The most sustainable plan must incorporate; implementing a just tax system with a cut on non-development expenditures to divert bigger share of resources towards human development.

Dwindling GDP

Pakistan’s investment rate has hardly exceeded 22 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) over the years. Key factors for poor GDP are low levels of investment and export, continual shortfall in revenue collection, absence of tax reforms and growing un-documented economy. In addition, investors’ shaky confidence is making the matters worse. The road to inclusive and sustained growth underlines devoting energies to ensure sustainable fiscal and monetary practices with continuity of economic policies having a consensus of all at the helm of affairs.

Water Scarcity

It is said that Pakistan is fast moving towards becoming a water-scarce country and by 2025 the situation is to deteriorate further. Water storage, control, and consumption activities have put tremendous stress on Pakistan and this assumes to be a troubling national security problem if it is not addressed well in time. The need is to implement a comprehensive National Water Policy to respond to the challenge of water scarcity.

3. Military Dimensions

Confronting Indian Threat

Security issues vis-a-vis India are challenging in the midst of conventional asymmetry, Pakistan-specific doctrines and hybrid warfare propagating that the country’s struggling economy is incapable of meeting its defence requirements. Besides, accentuating internal fault lines in Balochistan and erstwhile FATA are indirectly fomenting sub-nationalism, regional and provincial injustice and imbalances. Indian “Cross Domain Strategic Coercion” against Pakistan for the last 20 years is indeed part of its “Compellence Strategy” implying that India in combination with its international partners has been interfering and impacting a policy change in Pakistan.

Terrorism and Extremism

In Pakistan terrorism is manifested under ethnic, sectarian, religious and criminal spectrums. Such forms of terrorism take strength from Afghanistan being a battleground for great powers’ competing interests. This problem is aggravated further by societal inequality, governance deficit, lack of education and social justice and demands to fast-track individual- focused security and development on priority basis.

Extra Regional Forces (ERF)

Pakistan’s strategic and geographic location in proximity to Global Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) draws interest of global powers. Being a connector to multiple regions, Pakistan enjoys significant importance as energy corridor. Growing Indian Ocean Region’s importance in the US and China’s security calculus and stronger maritime forces in Indo-Pacific region are a matter of concern for Pakistan’s security.

4. Societal Dimensions

Human Security

Pakistan pegged at abysmally low Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of 154 outof189 countries/” and with 38.8 % of the population suffering multi-dimensional poverty= makes it an obligation to make urgent amends. Since the citizens of Pakistan are faced with dismal human insecurity thus informational, psychological, economic and societal deprivations are manipulated to impairing national will and resolve accentuating challenges vis-a-vis national cohesion, economy, arid polarization of society on ethno-centric, radicalized and extremist grounds. Addressing human insecurity through allocating more resources to human development and increasing the proportion of expenditure on human security initiatives are absolutely necessary for a thriving society.

5. Information and Technology Dimensions

Problems in the information domain stem from subtle and divisive use of all forms of communication, including media ranging from cultural co-option to public perception building and the spread of social despondency.

6. Environmental Dimensions

Natural and Environmental Calamities

Pollution causes destruction of the ecosystem and is further aided by depletion of meager forest areas. The frequency of natural calamities has also increased dramatically in the recent past resulting in huge losses to human lives and properties while causing damage to the country’s economy and adding strain to already scanty resources. Natural calamities have the ability to affect society’s very basic structure and demographic fiber resulting in instability and security problems.

Pakistan’s Present National Security Mechanism

It is relevant to chronicle some of the structural transformations that have been instituted in Pakistan’s government vis-a-vis its national security management. This existing arrangement attempts at responding to national manner being in conjunction with coordination and support from the political government and relevant ministries.

National Security Council (NSC)

NSC is a federal and influential policy institution. It is the highest consultative set chaired by the Prime Minster of Pakistan. This forum serves not just as a consultative body but also as a decision-making body on matters of national security. However, institutionalization of decision-making on matters of national security through NSC has remained slow from 2013 to 2018 as most of the time the council was kept dormant, depending instead on one-on-one meetings between the Prime Minster and the COAS.

Coordination Committee for National Security and Defence (CCNSD)

This forum was mandated to formulate and oversee the implementation of national security policy in Pakistan. However, it has not so far contributed meaningfully in this regard.

Defence Committee of Cabinet (DCC)

This forum being a permanent body is another high level forum to debate and discuss national security issues and implements decisions through real-time coordination. It is the only forum that meets occasionally to deliberate on event-triggered security matters thereby issues a unified response by both the civilian and military leadership showing national cohesion and unity.

Discourse Analysis on Pakistan’s National Security

Imagined by the founding fathers to be a progressive Islamic Welfare State, Pakistan soon became a security state in the face ofIndia’s true and pervasive existential threat which has become stronger over time. Pakistan has had to experience a number of catastrophic events during a very turbulent journey of more than seven decades with the dismemberment of East Pakistan in 1971 and the War on Terror from 2001 to 2020. The looming Indian challenge from the eastern frontiers and the internal instability related to great powers’ geopolitical competition lifted national security to the highest point in the list of national priorities. Therefore, national security, instead of human security, became the political leadership’s main priority.

Indeed, Pakistan’s search for a modern military balance had kept her bogged down even after the 1971 war in a crippling arms race in the region. The achievement of nuclear deterrence, a testament to the national will to survive as a self-respecting country, inaugurated a different era of strategic equilibrium that opened possibilities for peace in Pakistan and India relations. Despite India’s elusive quest to find space in new arena for conventional war, the two neighbours however; escaped a full-fledged war. Thanks to Pakistan’s strategic deterrence that prevented a full-fledged war between the two nuclear armed states and maintained deterrence. Not to mention, the nuclear deterrence’s stability-instability paradox manifested through localized conflicts such as Kargil and some narrowly missed conventional wars between Pakistan and India. The scourge of terrorism wreaked havoc in Pakistan after 2001 when the country decided to be part of global war on terror that was very much concerned with global powers’ geopolitical ambitions in the South Asian Region. This along with Indian perfidy made security situation of Pakistan even worst for a number of years. The resilience of the People of Pakistan, its law enforcement agencies and armed forces navigated successfully through the hard times, suffering huge losses both in men and material and opened up a window of opportunity for peace. In this regard, building national consensus on national security through National Action Plan (NAP), 201425 thereby bringing both civilian and military leadership on one page, upholding principles of inclusiveness and integrated coordination resulted in defeating the menace of terrorism. Equally important was the formulation of Pakistan’s first ever National Internal Security Policy (2014-2018).

However, over a period of time , the country struggled at securing good governance, stable economic growth and human security due to political instability, weak national institutions, dismal SOClO- economic indicators, power imbalance among various pillars of state, lack of social justice and fragile rule of law. Nevertheless, Pakistan’s leadership in consultation with all stakeholders has to chalk out a strategy that leverages and incorporates the strengths of all components of national power in order to formulate a comprehensive national security blueprint that would address the most vulnerable security dimension of Pakistan’s national security – human security and human development – in a befitting manner.

Policy Recommendations with a Reality Check

While formulating a comprehensive national security roadmap, the following steps are recommended:

Comprehensive National Security Roadmap

  • There is a need to evolve a national security roadmap in synchronization with political and economic realities of the country with the sober realization that “change” is de rigueur in these times. To start, there should be an unfettered, unbiased and ohjective “Strategic Defence Review” thereby a reappraisal of the existing defence approach, organizational configurations, force goals, developmental plans, and military structure and defence production is to be made. In this context, following sub-sectors are important and demand attention of all stakeholders:
  • National Security should be reviewed and re-evaluated through the prism of “Comprehensive Security”. Viewing security just as the defence of territorial integrity must not impair strategic thinking. Since the future of humanity depends on human development and not just on weapons and warfare, therefore, Pakistan can best negotiate its security dilemma, economic issues, and defence expenditures. This can be done by adopting an integrated approach to national security; accounting simultaneously ‘hard’ military and ‘soft’ assets including democratic political leadership, a viable economic course of action, social cohesion and successful foreign policy”.
  • Once human security is conceptually agreed upon by all stakeholders as part of comprehensive security, then, this non-military dimension must get adequate resources to fully supplement national security.
  • Visualization of character of future war is another important aspect. Future wars would be about modern impact of technology, space and cyber warfare, disruptive technologies, ballistic missiles, defense shields along with use of hard and soft powers. Such a context underscores the concept of hybrid warfare that carries a tendency to lump everything under it. Hence, the outcome of future war is unlikely to be resting on military might alone, rather would be a contest involving overall power potential of a state.

Despite Pakistan’s full spectrum deterrence, the Indians have been trying to explore space for conventional war and are employing ‘Cross-Domain Strategic Coercion’- a ‘Compellence Strategy’ by employing multiple levers and drivers simultaneously for affecting a policy change in Pakistan. In this regard, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) – the Damocles’ Sword – is a case worthy of deliberation. Such an environment where India Is engaged in harming Pakistan through political, economic and diplomatic leverages, the need to develop a ‘Cross Domain Deterrence’ is all the more important, No doubt, military power is going to retain its primacy in geopolitics. However, modern complex non-traditional threats certainly carry significant potential to damage the country in the absence of an effective comprehensive national security response.

The comprehensive national security roadmap must ensure that scarce resources be allocated imaginatively and judiciously to get synergy of efforts jointly at the military as well as the political levels via whole of the government approach.

Considering the array of threats encompassing hard as well as soft dimensions with equal malignity, civilian institutions’ capacity building should also be given equal attention for achieving benchmarks in human security and in the best interest of comprehensive national security of Pakistan.


Challenges faced by Pakistan internally and externally are of serious nature and demand the leadership to analyze them objectively and shape strategic response smartly besides an enhanced relationship with global powers to cash on opportunities offered by multipoiarity and geoeconomics connectivity. The need is to evolve a comprehensive national security roadmap in synchronization with political and economic realities of the country with the sober realization that change is de rigueur in these times. There is a realization in all quarters of power to reorient Pakistan’s national security through the prism of human security while giving due consideration to ‘Cross-Domain Coercion’ and confronting it via ‘Cross-Domain Deterrence’ in combination with all sectors of national security but with special emphasis on human security. Pakistan being a resilient and strong country has displayed an unwavering will to face and defeat challenges throughout its history. Therefore, chalking out a comprehensive national security policy and its implementation should never be a problem for realizing the vision of a progressing, prosperous and secure Pakistan.


  1. There have been several attempts at developing a comprehensive security framework however the country lags behind on implementation phase. One such example is National Action Plan which has been implemented only half heartedly. However, the county is primed for a change as rightly said that all power quarters are ready to make some compensations.

  2. There is a need for mainintaing a balance between national security and economy, state centric security to individual focused security.
    To steer out of difficult times Pakistan needs to work for a harmonious blending of various aspects of security, keeping in view the national objectives, domestic, regional and global security environment.


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