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Nawaz Sharif won't return, we will bring him back: Fawad Chaudhry

Updated 29 Dec, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan presides over the federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad. Photo: twitter.com/@appcsocialmedia
Prime Minister Imran Khan presides over the federal cabinet meeting in Islamabad. Photo: twitter.com/@appcsocialmedia

The federal cabinet has approved Pakistan’s first-ever National Security Policy which focuses on the economy and the common man.

National Security Adviser Moeed Yusuf tweeted the information earlier today and later joined Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry, in a press conference in Islamabad Tuesday, where the two shared details about the 100-page classified document.

“Until such a policy focuses on the common man, it won’t work,” said Chaudhry, adding that if the average Pakistani doesn't feel secure, then the policy would be useless.

He said the exercise, which started in 2014 in the wake of the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar, was seven years in the making, while congratulating those involved in the process for its successful formulation.

The federal minister credited the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government for “having the vision to bring together diverse point of views in a coherent manner” to build consensus on the policy.

“It is due to Prime Minister Imran Khan that we have this document which was finalized after consultations with relative stakeholders,” said Chaudhry.

NSA Moeed Yusuf, elaborating on the policy, said it would serve as an umbrella document under which various aspects of national security would be brought together.

National Security Policy

Speaking about specifics, Yusuf said the policy would focus on comprehensive national security – which means ensuring safety of the average Pakistani.

Economic security remains the cornerstone of the National Security Policy, Yusuf said, adding that PM Imran’s government had codified it to ensure better financial security for its citizens.

On foreign affairs and ties with other states, Yusuf said the objective was “peace” in the neighbourhood as well as in relations with other countries.

National cohesion is another aspect of the policy to ensure the diverse cultures and ethnicities of Pakistan flourish in harmony.

Human security, with population the priority, along with health security, climate and water, food security are also part of the comprehensive security plan.

Another aspect of this policy is to ensure Pakistan’s fiscal soundness, including managing the external imbalance that results in current account deficit. Energy security as well as education, in terms of producing human resource and manpower for export, are part of this aspect.

Finally, ensuring Pakistan’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and defence in conjunction with the country’s armed forces is also part of the document.

Yusuf said that while the main document would remain classified, a public version would be released in the “next 7-10 days” and the government was looking forward to the debate that it generates.

Policy Implementation

Acknowledging the problem of policy implementation in the past, the NSA said that with the policy document providing a direction and vision, policies related to sub-issues would take shape under it.

He added that the National Security Committee, which includes civil and military leadership, had taken ownership of the policy which would ensure implementation.

"Prime Minister Imran Khan has instructed the National Security Division to update the National Security Committee on monthly basis regarding progress, implementation and bottlenecks," he said.

He pointed out that with the policy would serve as an umbrella, providing a broad vision and direction, under which other policies would coalesce.

Nawaz Sharif's return and political landscape

Responding to a question about the possible return of Nawaz Sharif and whether it was discussed in the cabinet, Fawad Chaudhry said such statements were dime and dozen and had been made ample times in the past.

He added that the government was constantly in talks with the UK regarding their extradidtion treaty for the past two years and were hopeful of having it resolved soon.

"Nawaz Sharif will not return himself. It will be us [the PTI-led government] that will bring him back to Pakistan," said Chaudhry.

He also said that Pakistan lacked politicians who could bring about real change, while labelling those constitution the Opposition as 'rentier politicians'.

Nazim Jokhio murder case

During the press conference, Fawad Chaudhry apprised mediamen of several other decisions taken by the federal cabinet, including the formation of a joint investigation team (JIT) for the Nazim Jokhio murder case.

"The decision was taken as efforts were made to protect those involved in the murder from prosecution," said Chaudhry while talking about the case of a man who was bludgeoned to death for purtportedly making a video of a foreign national hunting endangered birds.

Urea fertiliser shortage

Talking about reportss of shortage of urea fertilisers, the minister said that it was artifical while action would be taken against those hoarders and profiteers in line with the prime minister's instructions while promising that the issue would be resolved in the next 48 hours.

Chaudhry said that agriculture was a priority for the government, while pointing out that the country had a bumper crop of wheat, sugarcane and rice.

He repeated the claim that it resulted in a surplus of Rs 1100 billion for agri producers and that it was reflected in the increased sale of tractors, motorcycles and farming equipment.

The minister said that despite the gas shortage, it was being provided to urea producers to manage the supply gap.

Moreover, he said that the price of a urea bag in Pakistan was between Rs1,700 to Rs1,800, while it was being sold in the global market for more than Rs10,000.

It must be added that there have been reports of traders selling bags for as much as Rs2,300 in a blatant violation of the government directives of selling the commodity at Rs1,768.

Parliamentarians' tax directory

The cabinet has also ordered the publication of details of taxes paid by parliamentarians in 2019, which would detail the income and assets of lawmakers as well as the tax paid by each.

"In Pakistan, politcians face the most accountability on taxes and this has been made possible by PM Imran's stress on accountability and transparency," he added.