Human Security Equals National Security

Author Name: Dr Zia Ul Haque Shamsi      21 Jun 2021     Human Rights

Human security is the most important element of national security. It relates to basic human needs: food, health, economic, environmental, personal, community, and political, however, none would be possible without a concerted effort for the sound development of state institutions and systems.

The human security and the development of any state are dependent on each other in the manner that neither would be viable without the other. This implies that state cannot ensure individual or societal security until it has developed itself and achieved self-sufficiency in food, health, environment, and employment for its citizens and residents.Therefore, developing countries are faced with the dilemma of distributing their resources between state’s territorial integrity and the development for human security requirements. Unfortunately, corruption, money laundering, incompetence, and insensitivity towards the poor people has led the developing nations further down on Human Development Indices (HDI).

According to Population Data HDI report 2018, South Asia remains the most poor and underdeveloped region in the world. Afghanistan is placed at 50, Pakistan stands at 48, Bangladesh at 43 and India at 40. Though late but Pakistan has embarked upon an ambitious plan to ensure certain elements of human security for its future generations.

For a long time now, Pakistan had an extremely poor health system for its populace, however with the introduction of ‘Insaf Sehat Card’ or the health insurance, people may be able to get some quality treatment. PTI government introduced this programme to provide essential medical facilities to all citizens starting from the poorest segment of the society. Each family is entitled to avail medical treatment from any public and private hospital from Rs. 0.72 million up to Rs. 1.0 million per year. The government plans to expand the programme and include all citizens in the coming years. This kind of health support programme for the poor as well as middle-income groups was always needed, however, was ignored previously. Likewise, Ehsaas nutrition strategy, once implemented would help address the issue of stented growth and make Pakistan a healthy nation.

Unfortunately, corruption, money-laundering, incompetence, and insensitivity towards the pool have led the developing nations to side further down on Human Development Indices (HDI)

To address the issues related to environmental security, the launching of ‘Ten Billion Trees Tsunami Programme’ is expected to be a game changer. The programme aims at restoring the ecosystem which has been largely recognized by the global leaders and institutions, aims to fight the effects of climate change. This programme which will not only mitigate the effects of global warming but also contribute to the green economy of Pakistan. The multiple objectives that the programme is aimed at includes the “revival of forests and wildlife alongside community engagement and green jobs.”Moreover, the government’s emphasis on an aggressive campaign of Olive plantation would in the long-term be extremely beneficial in reducing the import bill of palm oil while earning the precious foreign exchange through the export of olive oil and products.

In the domain of food security, Pakistan is on the way to recover its lost place in agricultural produce. After years of neglect, agriculture sector has shown promising results contributing towards the growth, despite COVID restrictions worldwide. Agriculture sector which includes the livestock and dairy, has shown tremendous turn-around in last three years. Pakistan now ranks in first few nations which produce cash crops: wheat, rice, cotton, sugar cane, and tobacco, along with dairy and meat products. Record production and exports of citrus fruits and mango also deserve a mention. Moreover, the acceptance of Pakistani fruits, seafood, and rice by Australia, Japan, and Russia is also a sign of confidence shown in the quality produce. Concurrently, Pakistan has started to register for ‘Geographical Indications’ (GI) of its products to arrest the trend of unauthorised distribution worldwide.

To address energy security which had been a cause of great concern in Pakistan for the last decade or so, it has started to focus on its hydel potential once again. Last time Pakistan build large dams was in the follow-up of Indus Water Treaty with India in 1960 under the auspices of the World Bank. Now, several large-scale hydro projects have been launched simultaneously either under CPEC or independently with active support by the relevant donor agencies. The most notable projects are Bhasha, Dasu, and Mohmand, with completion dates from2024 to 2028. The building of large dams would go a long way to secure clean, green, and affordable energy.

To conclude, Pakistan appears to be on road to ensure certain important elements of human security for its growing population. However, a lot more is needed to achieve the remaining elements of human security of which the most important would-be economic security, personal security, and the societal security.

Dr Shamsi is Director of Peace & Conflict Studies (CASS) and the author of the book ‘Nuclear Deterrence and Conflict Management Between India and Pakistan.’ The article was first published in Daily Times. He can be reached at

Image Source:Watson, Hayley and Kush Wadhwa, “Why Is Human Security Important?" - Trilateral Research, April 7, 2020,