Kashmir settlement also to benefit India, says PM Imran
Says Delhi will have to take the first step for peace: Food security, economic stability part of national security: National security dialogue need of the hour
While launching first annual Islamabad Security Dialogue on Wednesday, the prime minister emphasized that the right of self-determination must be given to the Kashmiris as stated by the UN Security Council resolutions.
Imran Khan said the economic connectivity and regional ties need to be strengthened for the prosperity of the South Asian region. He added India needs to take a step towards peace and cooperation for the benefit of all.
Imran Khan said it was time for Pakistan to get a stronghold of national security by expanding its domain to key areas including climate change, economic stability and food security, besides focusing on military strength.
The Prime Minister stressed the need for addressing the challenges of several non-traditional security threats confronting the general population. “A secure State is where common people own it and believe that they have stakes in it,” he said, pointing that the goals of national security could not be achieved in an environment with handful of affluent and a sea of poor populace.
Imran Khan paid tribute to the country’s armed forces and law enforcement agencies for making the nation feel secure in tough situations particularly in the wake of 9/11.
He said dialogue about national security was the need of the hour. "People think that if we only strengthen the armed and the security forces, it would be sufficient for national security," he said and added "I pay homage to the armed forces and intelligence agencies who sacrificed their lives to save ours but there are other challenges also."
Imran stated that in the past nobody was talking about climate change and its effects. He added the government's 10 billion tree plantation drive was an effort to combat climate change which could have disastrous consequences for our future generations if not addressed.
Imran further said food security was also a part of country's national security paradigm as Pakistan's population was increasing at a rapid rate. "We had to import four million tons of wheat just to meet the needs," he said, adding the government had made wrong assessments in providing food security to the masses.
Imran said the economy was also a part of national security as a stronger economy means a stronger country. "The deficit in the economy affects our currency directly which increases the inflation which ultimately affects the poor sector of the country. No country can progress when there are only a handful of rich people and a sea of poor ones," he averred.
Till the time people do not own their country, the country cannot be secure, he said adding that only the armed forces cannot secure the country.
Poverty biggest challenge
Giving an example of China, Imran said that we have to learn from their history that how they lifted millions out of poverty. "Lifting people out of poverty is our biggest challenge," he said, adding "About 25 percent of the population is living in extreme poverty and there are many who could easily fall below that line."
Imran said the Ehsaas Programme was the initiative that was launched to keep that objective in mind and was acknowledged all over the world. "We are also launching a programme of giving directly targeted subsidies," he added.
He further stressed that trade relations with neighbouring countries also needed to be improved so that Pakistan would be able to take advantage of its geo-strategic location. "It comes down to regional peace," he said. "There is the hope of peace in Afghanistan after a long time and but there are a lot of challenges. In a country that has been in a civil war kind of situation, the Afghan administration is depending on Pakistan to bring peace. The Biden administration also believes that this war has been going on too long."
COAS to address
The two-day security conference is being organised by the National Security Division (NSD) in collaboration with its advisory board comprising five leading think tanks of the country.
The new strategic direction would be based on a comprehensive security framework in line with PM Imran's vision of peace, regional connectivity and development partnerships with the world.
At the event, the premier also launched the first of its kind advisory portal of the NSD.
The portal would be a dedicated and integrated platform through which major think tanks and universities working on the subject of national security will be able to share policy recommendations directly with the national leadership.
Chief of the Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa will be the guest of honour on the second day of the conference.