ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that road map to formulate the National Internal Security Policy is centred on goals defined in Vision-2025 that envisage sharing peace, stability and development. Chairing a high level meeting here on formulation of National Internal Security Policy (NISP) 2018-2023 on Friday, he said present government has steered the country towards progress by enabling peace and stability. “We need to take practical steps now in order to consolidate gains made and improve our capabilities for new and future threats to our peace and security,” he said. The meeting was attended by officials from Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs), Counter Terrorism Force, Provincial Home Ministries, Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Ministry of Interior. The participants approved detailed roadmap for policy formulation process that includes three rounds of consultation sessions involving key stakeholders and a national conference on internal security. This represents a move towards evidence-based policy making in order to design policy interventions that deal with not only symptoms but also root-causes of security issues. Ahsan Iqbal said political stability plays vital role for development which requires avoiding conflicts in all forms and manifestations. National Security has become a broad subject. The nature of threats is changing with technological revolution, he said. He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has changed Geo-Political equilibrium in region due to which new Geo-Political pressures are developing on Pakistan. “We must develop a comprehensive approach with the ownership of all stakeholders to succeed in implementation,” the minister said and stressed that youth in Pakistan constitutes a major part of population and is an asset for the country. “It is our priority to mobilize youth towards peace and stability by providing them with enabling environment,” he added. He said new internal security policy framework is directed towards establishing a new paradigm for policy on security and peace and added a more empirical and evidence based approach focused on implementation of goals has been adopted. Ahsan Iqbal said ownership and participation of key government departments as well as that of key state institutions and broader civil society is critical for its success and implementation. He, therefore, requested feedback from all stakeholders and their continued engagement during policy making process. The Minister said internal and external affairs are interconnected and have implications on domestic and foreign policies. Moreover, steps have been envisaged in Framework to formulate policy, planning and initial meeting with internal stakeholders, desk research, consultation sessions with relevant stakeholders, national internal security conference, experts interviews, data analysis, reconciling differing views, circulating initial draft for feedback, developing and refining a final draft, seeking executive approval, setting up mechanism for implementation and launching/dissemination of policy. It is to be noted that basic tenets of the policy encapsulates four key areas to improve peace and security viz: creating a shared vision, establishing rule of law, ensuring political stability and providing social justice. The policy framework has also identified political parties/policy makers, academics/analysts, educationists, journalists/media personnel, religious scholars, legal experts, civil society organizations and representatives of marginalised groups (youth, minorities, women who will be engaged during process of policy formulation) as major stakeholders. The key inputs required from government departments include an assessment of key initiatives that have been effective in ensuring security and those that are now redundant and assessment of key bottlenecks and blockages that impede optimal performance and Suggestions to remove these impediments and make government departments and LEAs more effective. It was recognized that similar policy exercises in past lacked implementation, therefore, detailed implementation strategy – monitoring and evaluation mechanism and funding requirements will be included in policy and given particular attention. Published in Daily Times, January 13th 2018.