NationalVOLUME 16 ISSUE # 08

Security aspects in Pakistan

Pakistan is situated in a volatile region of the world and its external security threats have been grave; however, the country is currently facing multiple internal security dangers, which need to be focused. Of the internal security threats to Pakistan, the foremost is the administrative collapse in the length and breadth of the country.

The biggest indicator of the administrative collapse in the country is the lack and, at times, complete absence of the writ of the state in all spheres of human activity. In today’s Pakistan, the state could not enforce its laws on the people, both by convincing them and also by forcing them to abide by them. Take the example of the enforcement of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the containment of the novel coronavirus. A large majority of people do not follow the protective measures, which are only for their own safety. This lack of trust in the state and its authorities is due to a number of reasons. However, the topmost is the state failure to make people believe that it is there to serve and protect them. The state could not do so because those, who have been controlling it from the top, including the civilian leaders, mostly use the state for personal benefits. As there is an equal and opposite reaction to every action, due to lack of the state’s focus on the people, their welfare, development and security, most people remain underdeveloped and largely uneducated. Resultantly, now they are least concerned about the government’s advice and laws and even they are not ready to abide by the general laws sending the entire administrative system into a ditch.

The administrative collapse in all parts of Pakistan can be ascertained from the fact that hardly any district could be cited in the whole country where the administrative structure is desirable. In other words, no district in the country has a splendid administrative system, which could be imitated elsewhere. One key reason for it is that none of the provinces of the country has a local government system in place while the districts are being run by civilian officers and deputy commissioners. The officers are only good at facilitating routine activities of the people. However, the manner in which the activities are carried out leaves a lot to be desired. For instance, the district administration may take action if a road is completely closed. However, encroachments by pushcarts and street vendors on a road, leaving an extremely narrow passage, get no response despite being obvious to every eye.

Another important internal security threat to Pakistan is the rise of extremely powerful, what in the West are called, “interest” groups. However, in Pakistan we may straightforwardly call them “mafias” in each and every sector. Whether it is education, health, construction, real estate or capital markets, strong mafias have taken the respective sector completely hostage. Take again the example of private educational institutions, which have become so strong that they are virtually dictating the state to set the rules and procedures of their choice to exploit the masses. The private educational institutions of the country have become a strong interest group and the state is virtually powerless before them. The situation has emerged because of the state failure to fulfil one of its fundamental duties of providing education to all citizens. The mushroom growth of private educational institutions is, therefore, the result of complete lack of sound policymaking and good governance in the educational sector. Gradually, education officials have found it personally advantageous to collude with owners of private schools to damage public educational institutions. Now everything related to education in the country is in a shambles. Resultantly, most of the people of Pakistan could not be educated in a way which was really needed and chaos and panic, which we see in whole society of contemporary Pakistan, is largely due to the substandard or no education at all of the masses. It may be noted that this year again the pass rate of candidates in the Central Superior Services (CSS) examination remained just over 2 percent, which is a great question mark on the country’s education and its standards. Moreover, the standard of the candidates, who have been passing and joining the civil service, could be gauged very easily. It has contributed to the administrative chaos in the country.

A state is typically an institution which acts in public interest, whereas interest groups act in private or personal interest. In today’s Pakistan, it is more than obvious that private interests have dominated public interest as the state has largely failed to protect the latter. It is really an explosive situation and the country’s power wielders must focus on it. However, the political part of the power centres, which is presently led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, is enmeshed in so many issues that it is too overburdened to make bold and rational decisions. The opposition political parties have also launched an anti-government movement, which has put the latter in extreme pressure due to which key decision-making has become very shaky. The civilian and military parts of the power centres are not up to the task of addressing the multidimensional issues of society and the state. In the situation, it is PM Khan, who has to rise to the occasion and take extremely difficult decisions, if the country needs to be rescued from multiple interest groups and their negative agendas. Once PM Khan displays the will, other state institutions would be more than ready to help him and, above all, the masses by seeing that the government is acting in their interest, they would throw their weight behind the government.

The internal security threats are really grave in Pakistan and they pose dangers which make the pillars of the state hollow. Therefore, they facilitate the situation for the external security threats to achieve their objectives. Whether it is the collapse of the administrative edifice or the dominance of the mafias in every sector or any other internal security threat to the state and society it is directly related to the political-administrative structure of the country. Therefore, the country’s top brains and bigwigs have to realize the situation and think about the state, rather than the continuity of a sham system.