India must take first step for moving forward, says PM

ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that the Armed Forces alone cannot secure the country as he lauded the efforts of the Army, intelligence and civilian law-enforcement agencies for playing a monumental role in the fight against terrorism.

“People think if we strengthen the Armed Forces and the security forces only, it would be sufficient for national security,” PM Imran Khan said and added only the Armed Forces cannot secure the country. “Till the time people do not own their country, the country cannot be secure,” he stated. 

The Prime Minister paid homage to the Armed Forces and intelligence agencies which sacrificed their lives to save ours and added there are other challenges also. 

The Prime Minister was addressing the inaugural session of the two-day ‘Islamabad Security Dialogue’ here.

The first-ever Islamabad Security Dialogue was aimed at unveiling Pakistan’s new strategic direction.

On the occasion, the Prime Minister also launched the National Security Division’s Advisory Portal connecting over 100 think-tanks and university departments in Pakistan with the policy makers.

At the inaugural session, the Prime Minister was introduced to the New Comprehensive Security Framework which is based on the three pillars; military, economic and human security with economic progress at the core.

Addressing the gathering, the Prime Minister said that to ensure a truly secure country, the authorities must make the common citizens of Pakistan secure. He said that security was required that we make the common citizens of Pakistan safe, secure and provide them necessities of life.

“National Security today includes many aspects including climate security, food security and economic prosperity,” he said.

The PM said that national security was the need of the hour.

He was of the view that Pakistan’s economic security lens prioritizes connectivity, domestic and regional peace and development partnerships with the world.

For peace in Afghanistan, there are a lot of challenges

He also congratulated the National Security Division for crystallizing this framework.  

The Prime Minister said that Pakistan is pursuing a national vision, focusing on economic prosperity and human welfare.

“National Security has been ignored in previous decades,” he added.

PM Imran stated that in the past, nobody talked about climate change and its effects.

He told the gathering that the government’s 10 million tree plantation drive was an effort to combat climate change which could have disastrous consequences for the future generations if not addressed.

He said food security was also part of a 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 need,” he told the participants.

He believed that the economy was also a part of national security as a stronger economy means a stronger country.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said Pakistan is poised to become the trade and transit hub for the extended region. He said economic prosperity cannot be sustained without peace in the neighbourhood. That is why, he said, his vision for the region is peace.

The Prime Minister said that under his government, the country was able to fight a debilitating current account deficit, increase exports and Foreign Direct Investment.  

He said that the dollar inflow must be consistently greater than the dollar outflow in order to expand the national resource pie.

Talking about India, the Prime Minister said that when his government came into power, it did everything to resolve the major issues including the issue of Indian Illegally-Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

He said India must commit to giving Kashmiris their right to self-determination as per the UNSC Resolutions.

He said he offered dialogue to India when he came into power but unfortunately India took illegal actions on 5th August 2019.

He maintained that Kashmir is the core issue between Pakistan and India and if a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue is found by giving Kashmiris the right to self-determination it would be beneficial for both the countries.

He said India must take the first step and create an enabling environment for moving forward.

He further stressed that trade relations with the neighbouring countries also need to be improved so that Pakistan would be able to take advantage of its geo-strategic location.

“There is the hope of peace in Afghanistan after a long time 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,” he said.

He said Pakistan wishes for a political settlement in Afghanistan that can lead to sustainable peace. He said peace in Afghanistan is the key to unlocking the connectivity potential of the region. PM Khan said that his government has prioritised human welfare through Ehsaas and Panagah programmes.

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