ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said that national security was more than just a matter of focusing on military might, emphasising that the national security was an all-encompassing thing with an inclusive growth.
He was addressing the opening session of the Margalla Dialogue’21 with the theme: ‘Breaking Past, Entering Future’. He pointed out that the government’s entire concentration had so far been on the military prowess, but the national security was actually an all-encompassing thing, as there could never be national security unless there was an inclusive growth, and without it no country could be called secure.
PM Imran also contended that no country could be secure where a small segment keeps getting richer and those at the bottom are left behind, adding the same applied when a particular area or two or three cities were developing while other parts of the country or a province was left behind.
Premier said, “This always becomes a cause of violence when people rise against unequal development and injustice and this is a major issue of national security that we should go for equitable and all-inclusive development. Likewise,human development is very important and we need to focus on that as well.”
He called for highlighting the issues in Pakistan’s three-tiered education system while lamenting that three education systems were running in parallel in the country with English-medium, Urdu-medium and religious schools.
“Do we think there will be no fallout of this?: English-medium schools are subject to further segmentation, while Urdu-medium schools had seen a decline in quality and there is a lack of job opportunities for students of religious schools,” he added.
PM Imran attributed this imbalance to lack of research in the country and reliance on second-hand research from abroad and added this is why it is important to have an all-encompassing national security dialogue.
He was hopeful that more think tanks would be established in Pakistan that competed with each other in quality of research and global credibility. He continued, “Then we will be able to properly put our national narrative in front of people.”
Speaking on the importance of rule of law, he emphsised that the major difference between the developed and developing nations was the rule of law, being a critical thing, as democracy also prospers where there is rule of law. “If there is lack of the rule of law, then warlords, power elements and criminals come up. So, the precondition to democracy is rule of law, which impedes such elements to come up,” he added.
He said that the developing world was lacking behind due to rule of law issues and corruption and there was also an issue of lack of research as well, for research brings forth original thinking and without research, original thinking could not be brought about while research and debate take forward the thought process.
The prime minister said while it was the United States that made mistakes in Afghanistan, Pakistan had to bear the brunt of the situation.
The prime minister regretted that Pakistan itself became a casualty in the war on terror as a proper reply to the Western media propaganda could not be given owing to lack of leadership and presence of think tanks in society. He said they (the US) were thinking that Pakistan would help them win the war in Afghanistan, whereas Pakistan was saving itself in the wake of destruction caused by the war.
“Pakistan was held responsible for the shortcomings of the United States,” said the premier. The PM contended that the country which suffered the most collateral damage owing to support to the US in the war in Afghanistan was incensed that the US did not succeed because of Pakistan, while no other ally but Pakistan suffered 80,000 casualties, 3-4 million people became internally displaced and the loss to the national economy was over $100 billion, yet for the last 10-15 years, the newspapers in the West did not credit of its sacrifices: rather Pakistan was defamed that it had been playing a double game, which was totally wrong and Pakistan was also made scapegoat for their failures.
He continued that that was a very bleak period for the country; “there was humiliation that we were with them and we also kept on saying ourselves their ally, and that ally had been bombing us as well and people were also being killed and still Pakistan was being blamed.
“They (US) would say they were providing us aid, which was miniscule to our losses and the vacuum, it had caused.” And, he added, there was also no able leadership to push the country up and the country was divided too with pro-US and anti-US people while Pakistan could not project its own viewpoint to the world properly.
Premier regretted that ever since the Salman Rushdie affair, the foreign media and think tanks concentrated on Pakistan’s extremes and generalised the whole society. “If you concentrate on any society’s extremes then you will say a lot of bad things about it,” he emphasised. He blamed the unjust three-tiered education system as being majorly responsible for the extremes in Pakistani society since it produced three groups that had no connection with each other.
He remarked, “I expect that now the time has come to do research, bring original thought and define our country instead of someone from outside doing it. “The more the credibility of your think tanks increases, the easier it will be for us to define ourselves in the world. However, the problem of a lack of narratives is not unique to Pakistan. There is a lack of think tanks in the rest of the Muslim world which could not respond to criticism or Islamophobia.”
He regretted that Muslims in the West had to face hardships but there was no response from the Islamic world’s leadership and insisted if there were think tanks in the Muslim world then they would have taken up the issue of atrocities in Indian-occupied Kashmir. “It is our misfortune the kind of racist government is there (in India) and the fascist policies it has pursued and what it is doing with its minorities and especially in Kashmir. Unfortunately there are no think tanks in our Muslim world that can project this issue,” he lamented.
The PM said “Islamophobia was not our fault in the world; where were think tanks in the Muslim countries, which should answer that there is no relationship between Islam and terrorism. If no religion allows terrorism, then how come the Muslims and terrorism after 9/11, were linked”.
He also pointed out that in spite of what India was doing, no Western country was criticising it and added if there were think tanks in Muslim countries, they would have raised this issue, but it is unfortunate there were no think tanks in the Muslim world to project to the world India’s partisan, fascist government policies on minorities and measures taken in Kashmir.
PM Imran said that Islam is one and the same, human beings are fundamentalists, moderates and liberals but the religion has nothing to do with it. The religion of the Holy Prophet PBUH is only one. Prime Minister noted that the Muslims living in the Western countries faced severe difficulties during this period, but there was no reaction from the leadership of the Muslim world.
“Although I have travelled all over the world and seen the most generous, hospitable people in this society, the effect of our religion on the common people is very positive; our family system is strong, it is a civilised society,” he added.
He said that this does not mean that there are no problems; we also have extremes, which is a big reason for not fixing the unjust education system. He noted that the country, which was at the forefront of economic indicators till 1990 and then we saw it going backwards. He added that there is only one reason for this and that is rule of law.
The reason why the poor nations do not develop is not lack of resources but rule of law is the most important thing that brings civilisation in society.