Small Wars Journal

Doctrine, Policy, and Strategy: A Quintessential Pakistani Counterterrorism / Counterinsurgency Policy

Doctrine, Policy, and Strategy: A Quintessential Pakistani Counterterrorism / Counterinsurgency Policy by Saad Masood - Daily Times (Pakistan)

Previous op-ed in this series has taken the position that a counter insurgency policy, aligned with the overall national security policy, is a must for winning the peace. To that end, a Pakistani counter insurgency policy of reconciliation is recommended.


This policy of reconciliation is tasked with curbing the insurgent tendency that aims to usurp power away from the government. Terrorism is one of the main strategies that executes this insurgent policy. Therefore, it stands to reason that – after deliberating the counter insurgency policy – a counter terrorism policy is also envisaged and adopted. That is also because, in the sequence of events, generally insurgency will come first and lead to terrorism, which comes second. That is why, even in the order of responses, nominally counter insurgency comes first and counter terrorism second.


The counter insurgency policy of reconciliation was explained as assimilate where possible, eliminate where needed. In-fact, the counter terrorism policy speaks to the later; i.e. eliminate where needed. That is the key link between the counter insurgency policy and counter terrorism policy.


Policy is defined as a conscientious and galvanising vision that imagines a favourable end state. A counter terrorism policy needs to be setup similarly. In Pakistan’s case, the counter terrorism policy is deemed to stand resolute in the elimination of, and protection from, insurgents. This would translate into a one-word counter terrorism policy of resolve. That is, the policy will espouse and ensure the resolve to ensure an end to the wide-activities of insurgents. There are three objectives of this policy. One, eradication of insurgent leadership. Two, elimination of terrorist safe heavens and protection from them. Three, removing conditions that non-state actors use to cultivate resources.


Additionally, the counter terrorism policy will also defend, promote and align to the five national interests of Pakistan described by previous pieces in the series. First, Pakistan should become a nationally harmonious country – a survival level national interest. Second, it should become a secure state especially with regards to its territory, citizens, and constitution – a national interest related to Pakistan’s survival. Third, Pakistan needs to be a successful economy and enhance the standard of its citizens through favourable social opportunities. This is a vital level national interest. Fourth, promote a morally stable and secure world governed by the rule of law. Fifth, initiate friendships globally by acting as a democratic and credible partner. The last two being major level national interests. Mostly, the counter terrorism policy of resolve will explicitly underpin the second survival level Pakistani interest of becoming a secure state…

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