Pakistan is facing many tough challenges and is going through a turbulent time. On the one side, it is facing the scourge of terrorism, and on the other, it is facing economic challenges that imperil human security. In addition to the threat of terrorism, Pakistan is facing challenges to its traditional security due to geopolitical competition and an arms race. All these issues impact the comprehensive security of Pakistan. Despite these challenges, Pakistan’s political leadership is exhibiting no solemnity; as a result, the country is engulfed in political instability. Political instability can hamper Pakistan’s ability to provide comprehensive security to its people. Furthermore, it also shakes the people’s confidence in ruling institutions because they witness that the people in power don’t care for their hardships and are involved in the power struggle. Consequently, political instability engenders multiple challenges for the comprehensive national security of Pakistan and becomes an obstruction in resolving these quandaries.
First, the dilemma of terrorism has resurfaced in Pakistan. Recently, the National Security Committee decided not to conduct any dialogue with the TTP and decided to use force against them. The situation in Balochistan is also not very encouraging. To prosper against terrorism, we require political consensus. However, it seems infeasible in the current scenario.
Secondly, political instability engenders the challenge of economic insecurity. According to a Working Paper published by the International Monetary Fund with the designation ‘How Does Political Instability Affect Economic Magnification?’, a negative coefficient is expected between political instability and economic magnification because more preponderant political instability increases dubiousness about the policies, which slows down economic magnification. The financial security situation in Pakistan is not very encouraging. Currency reversals have totalled less than 5.6 billion dollars. One of the reasons for the economic insecurity is that perpetual political instability. Due to political instability, the regimes cannot develop policies for the long term and do structural reforms in the economic structure.
Economic insecurity engenders challenges in ascertaining traditional and non-traditional domains. In the traditional security domain, the world is going through an era of increasing geopolitical competition. Countries are developing incipient weapons systems and investing in nascent technologies.
Economic insecurity engenders challenges in ascertaining traditional and non-traditional domains. In the traditional security domain, the world is going through an era of increasing geopolitical competition. Countries are developing incipient weapons systems and investing in nascent technologies. To compete with China, the United States has invested 280 billion dollars in high-tech. According to Bloomberg data, Chinese investment in incipient technologies rose 14 percent and has reached $388 billion. China has additionally taken the lead over the US in several supercomputers. The technological competition between the US and China also impacts our region. India has further increased its information technology spending on artificial intelligence. Indian IT spending is expected to grow 30 percent in 2030.
Moreover, India decided to invest 1 billion dollars in quantum technology. Furthermore, it has begun investing in quantum firewall solutions for its defense sector. In addition, in 2022, the Indian regime approved 9.7 billion dollars in the procurement of state-of-the-art ordnance. India also acquired Raffle Jet for its air force and Russia’s S-400 missile defense system. It has close bulwark cooperation with American and Israeli bulwark corporations.
Furthermore, India is additionally modernizing its navy, diversifying its defense capabilities. According to the column inscribed by Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists, and Matt Korda, a senior research associate with the project, in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, India is perpetually modernizing its nuclear arsenal. At least four incipient systems are under development or nearing completion. Moreover, India is developing several systems. As a result, Pakistan needs a massive increase in the defense budget to meet the challenges; however, in the current scenario, this seems infeasible to achieve.
Furthermore, political instability causes economic insecurity, which also impacts human security. Pakistan has massive population growth; however, due to a lack of resources, it cannot provide human protection to all these people. They are facing food insecurity and threats due to inadequate health infrastructure. Inflation is double-digit, and as a result, people’s purchasing power is declining. Other non-traditional security threats, such as climate change and floods, have recently wreaked havoc in Pakistan. People impacted by the flood are still under the roof and haven’t gotten any substantial mitigation, and their issues have vanished from the national conversation.
Due to human insecurity, the denizen’s social contract with the state of Pakistan will be debilitated. Weakening the social contract between the state and citizens can embolden anti-state actors and other states to exploit them. They can easily exploit them through hybrid warfare. For instance, there were protests in Gwadar. People’s confidence in the institution diminishes in front of our ocular perceivers. All of this necessitated collective action on the part of political leaders and close coordination among political actors.
Political parties are the representatives of the people. They are the ones who get the votes from the people and are responsible for distributing them. Ergo, it is the need of the hour that political leaders understand the threats to the national security of Pakistan. There is a desire to achieve agreement on critical national security issues. Pakistan and the people of Pakistan can no longer abide by the cost of political instability. There is a desire to develop long-term policies and reach an agreement on the critical national security issue. The political actor should understand the requirement for vigorous institutions. Otherwise, Pakistan’s comprehensive national security will be at grave risk.
The writer is a Research Officer at CISS AJK. He is working on Nuclear Politics, Disarmament, Emerging Technologies, and New Trends in Warfare.