The Geopolitics of Infrastructure and Securitization


Past Event

Feb 14, 2024 - 4:00 am |

Feb 14, 2024 - 6:00 pm

Dr. Hasan H. Karrar


Upcoming Event

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On Wednesday, 14 February, 2024, CPPG organized a seminar on “The Geopolitics of Infrastructure and Securitization”. Dr. Hasan H. Karrar, an Associate Professor at the multidisciplinary humanities and social sciences department, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) was invited as the guest speaker. He specializes in Chinese, Central Asian, and twentieth century international history. The session was moderated by Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Professor and Founding Director CPPG.

Karrar initiated the conversation by sharing that there had been no road link between down- country Pakistan and the Karakoram prior to 1948, and an all-weather road, known as the Karakoram Highway, was built in the 1960s. This development enabled outmigration for education and employment and spurred new markets and industries. But, this initiative holds deeper significance than the apparent consequences. Presenting his two main arguments, Karrar argued that, firstly, the building of Karakoram highway should be seen amidst geo- political tensions, Pakistan’s territorial dispute with India and its alignment with China’s foreign and security policies. He argued that the construction of this infrastructure is the material embodiment of statecraft i.e. a presentation of governmental authority and power, influenced by the geopolitical tensions with India and close relations with China, which bypasses normative laws, akin to the exercise of power during the colonial empire with its civilizing lexicon. In this context, the military, which has ruled Pakistan for long-periods, has played the role of a custodian of state-led development, working closely with China in building infrastructure.

Raising his second argument, Karrar asserted that the region’s geopolitical tension is manifested internally either through securitization of infrastructure or the creation of security infrastructure. For example, there are around twelve check posts down the Karakoram Highway spread across Gilgit Baltistan. The creation of a securitized environment in the everyday lives of locals affects their everyday movement, the use of public space and public transport, which he termed as calibrated violence against those deemed outside the state. The session was
followed by a Q/A session.