Freedom from fear and freedom from want

The writer is a student of International Relations
By: Waqar-ul-Malik Makhdoom

The term human security illustrates the concept of freedom from fear and freedom from want. It described as safeguarding and enlarging people’s indispensable rights and entails both securing people from critical and prevalent perils and allowing people to take command of their own lives. It also included essential dimensions of development such as human rights, social wellbeing, economic and environmental safety. Human security insists that people need to be protected when encountering abrupt and intense turnabouts in economic and social life.

Woefully Pakistan presents a pathetic picture in this regard. The country has been ranked 152nd among 189 countries surveyed in the UN’s 2019 Human Development Index measured by combining indicators of life expectancy, educational attainment, and income. Unluckily, Pakistan has the largest population of stunted children under the age of five in the world. Approximately half of the women of the country undergoes malnutrition. In 2019, Pakistan ranked at number eight in the unenviable list of top 10 countries with the worst drinking water.

Human security is observed to be a vast concept and almost encompasses every aspect of human life that deals with human welfare. But the state of Pakistan seems unable to fulfill its duties in terms of human welfare and providing people their basic needs of life. As a consequence, about half of Pakistan’s population is uneducated and one-third is breathing below the poverty line. Perturbingly, a recent report reveals that the state is inept of even defending its most vulnerable segment of society. Over 8 children abused every day with 2,846 cases of child abuse reported in 2019. Moreover, in Pakistan, the price of essential commodities such as wheat flour, sugar, food items like chicken, vegetables, and petroleum products doubled in a few months which is creating more miserable conditions for poor people.

Right now, the country is fighting with a pandemic that is not only a health crisis but also a human security crisis and it is stripping freedom from fear and freedom from want. Yet the government has been far less willing to respond to this issue than to increasing military budgets. The pandemic offers a chance to fashion human security in the lives of the people and not in the weapons that states have.

The above-mentioned issues are exemplified the poor state of affairs on the human security front because of our untenable prioritization of traditional security. Surely, Pakistan is placed in a volatile region with a certain external peril to its sovereignty. However, policymakers need to break out of this mentality and widen the concept of security by reconstructing it to be comprehensive and holistic to comprehend and address internal threats to the integrity of the country. There is a dire need for enlarging the scope of security from state-centric to the people-centric in Pakistan.

The writer is student of Department of International Relations, University of Sindh, Jamshoro. He can be reached on [email protected]