NSA says Islamabad’s shift toward geo-economics will help it ensure even the most impoverished citizens have a means to earn livelihoods
Economic security will help ensure Pakistan’s national security, National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf said on Wednesday.
“The issue is we need microeconomic stability to ensure that we have enough resources to spend adequately on our military and on our human welfare,” he said at a Pakistan: Future Direction seminar organized by the English Speaking Union of Pakistan in Karachi. “The genius of policy is to ensure that your resource pile grows to a point where you can redistribute it adequately to everyone,” he added.
“The ultimate goal of national security is to ensure that the most disempowered Pakistani citizen has a means to livelihood and personal safety and security,” he said, adding that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s references to Riyasat-e-Madina envisaged a country where even the poorest families would be safe and secure and have a means of livelihood.
“Our leadership regularly talks about Pakistan’s shift from a geopolitical to a geo-economic cadre, which is actually a transformation in terms of the thinking,” he said, noting that Pakistan’s position had brought several global wars to its doorstep. “Afghanistan is a very good example of this for the past 40 years. What we are looking at is how to utilize our location for geo-economic position,” he said, explaining that this required three “pillars” of connectivity; the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and development partnerships.
“In terms of policy, you may have noticed a very strong shift towards Central Asia, an area that has been closed for a long time,” he said, noting the “most economical route” was through Afghanistan. For CPEC, he said Pakistan could serve as a transit territory for China. “Theoretically, we can also extend connectivity eastward. Unfortunately, that side is closed due to the kind of government attitude and trajectory that India has,” he said.
Referring to development partnerships, he said the government was seeking internal and regional peace to create “real partnerships in terms of trade, investment, export.”
Emphasizing that peace in Afghanistan was essential for Pakistan’s geo-economic goals, he said Islamabad’s economic security also had direct benefits for citizens. “Everything from social safety programs such as Ehsaas have helped us survive COVID too. This welfare orientation of the government has helped us do that. So the prime minister is very serious about this Riyasat-e-Madina concept. The idea is redistribution towards the poorest Pakistani citizens,” he added.
On the issue of military security, the NSA claimed Pakistan was “grossly under-resourced” with reference to defense. “There are very few countries that you can find who would be managing the situation with such small resources,” he claimed.
“Sadly, perceptions matter more than reality today. Due to perception, you lose investment, you lose tourism, you lose serious conversations, the cricket team decides to leave. So here Pakistan has to do much to ensure that our stories get to the world,” he said, and advised the global community to stop “dwelling on the past” and not repeat old mistakes in Afghanistan. “If this region is abandoned international terrorism will get strong. We stand for an inclusive government. This requires that Afghanistan stabilizes,” he added.