Govt set to overhaul national internal security policy

New draft of NISP shared with NACTA for vetting after security institutions’ input

ISLAMABAD   -   The federal government has started work for the formation of third National Internal Security Policy (NISP) as it aims to bring major changes in the previous one in the face of new internal and external challenges of national security.

It is likely that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif-led coalition government would revise the National Action Plan (NAP) for countering terrorism and extremism, for the second time, under the new NISP.

A draft of the new NISP has been shared with the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA) for vetting following a major input of the security institutions, the official sources privy to the development informed The Nation. It is being anticipated by many officials linked with the security that the government may bring political activism and “unbridled” use of social media under the umbrella of security through the new NISP.

Then Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had introduced the country’s first-ever NISP (2013-2018) that declared NACTA as the focal organization for national security. The policy had three major elements including dialogue with all stakeholders, isolating terrorists from their support bases, and enhancing deterrence through capacity-building of security apparatus to neutralize threats. The policy was based on two approaches – soft and hard – while NACTA had been given the task to implement both.

The second NISP (2018-2023) was brought by then Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, which focused on three main domains: Administrative (strengthening the ability of the state to respond to security issues), Ideational (challenging the ideological underpinnings of extremist narratives) and Socio-Economic (addressing the deprivations that create a breeding ground for security challenges to emerge). To achieve the objectives, the policy contained a 6R strategy including re-imagine, reconcile, redistribute, recognize, regional approach and reorient facets of the state. This second NISP expired last year without being implemented.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Imran Khan’s government had introduced the first-ever National Security Policy (2022-2026) aimed at placing economic security at the core of comprehensive national security and addressing the challenges of terrorism, water security, population growth, foreign policy and relations with other countries. The NSP was the brainchild of then National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf.

The national level policies are always a public document but the full version of NSP never came into public domain. Only a few of its pages, named as “public version”, were made public and the others remain confidential.

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