Dr. Saeed Shafqat Annual Job Fair 2024 as the Guest of Honour and presented shields

Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Founding Director CPPG, graced the Forman Christian College & University’s Annual Job Fair 2024 as the Guest of Honour and presented shields to the participating companies.


Ms. Ayesha Saddiqua was honored with an Award

“CPPG’s Project Research and Public Relations Manager, Ms. Ayesha Saddiqua was honored with an Award for enhancing her education during the past year at the FCCU Annual Staff Club Dinner.

CPPG Hosted a Policy Dialogue for the Department of Social Welfare & Bait-ul-Maal

Centre for Public Policy and Governance hosted a policy dialogue for the Department of Social Welfare & Bait-ul-Maal, Punjab on the 18th January, 2024. This policy dialogue aimed to garner diverse perspectives and feedback from various stakeholders through discussion and group work. Director CPPG, Dr. Saeed Shafqat was awarded a shield for his contribution and efforts by the DG SWD, Mr. Mudassir Malik and Secretary SWD, Mr. Zahoor Hussain. 

8th Mid Career Management Course (MCMC) from PAS visited CPPG

Officers for the 8th Domain Specific Mid Career Management Course (MCMC) from Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS) visited the Centre for Public Policy and Governance on 5th December, 2023. Dr Saeed Shafqat, Professor & Founding Director CPPG, showed the MCMC officers the CPPG department. He also briefed the officers on the policy brief on Local Government. Rector FCCU, Dr. Jonathan Addleton, also met with the batch of MCMC and CPPG faculty.

Meeting with Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN)

On November 20, 2023, a meeting between the Center for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG), FCCU and the Balochistan Think Tank Network (BTTN) was held. The meeting was held at the initiative of the BTTN, which approached the CPPG for a possible future cooperation aimed at fostering intellectual exchange, capacity building, and collaborative research. Brig Agha Ahmad Gul (R) – Head of BTTN, gave an overview of the vision, mission and broad objectives of the Think Tank. Director Research, Dr. Maria Malik shared the think tank’s research areas, expertise, and their commitment to addressing critical issues in Balochistan and the region.

Book Review | China-Pakistan Relations In The 21st Century By Dr Ejaz Hussain

Dr Ejaz Hussain reviews Ayesha Siddique’s book which examines China’s rise as a global power and its relationship with Pakistan.

My alma mater, Forman Christian College (now a charted university), has, over the years, emerged as a dynamic center of learning and knowledge production particularly in political science. In this respect, the FCCU’s Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG), founded and headed by veteran Pakistani political scientist, Professor Dr Saeed Shafqat, is playing a pivotal role by not only offering MS and PhD programs in public policy ─ which is one of the core areas of political science ─ but also according academic supervision and environment to young researchers engaged in scientific research on various aspects of policy analysis. Indeed, some recent studies published by CPPG has attempted to analyze Pakistan’s foreign policy towards major powers such as the Unites States and China.

The FCCU is the only American university in Pakistan, which is producing quality work consistently. Interestingly, despite being an American institution led by experienced American academics and administrators, the university in general and the CPPG in particular is also focused on China, which is trading in billions of US dollars with the US regardless of regional and global geopolitics. Importantly, China is the only neighbor with which Pakistan has cordial relations for decades.

Nevertheless, China-Pakistan relations are often seen by scholars and political observers from a geopolitical perspective. Empirically, such studies are grounded in the historicity of bilateral interactions, starting with the making of the communist state in 1949. Ghulam Ali’s China-Pakistan Relations (OUP, 2017) is a case in point. Ali’s pioneering work ─ which is the first ever book-length academic study of China-Pakistan relations by a Pakistani scholar ─ has served a point of reference for CPPG based young woman scholar, Ayesha Siddique, who did her M.Phil/MS thesis with Dr Saeed Shafqat on analyzing the implications of the rise of China for China-Pakistan relations in the current context. Noticeably, her thesis has been published as a book titled China-Pakistan Relations in the Twenty-First Century by CPPG itself ─ which puts it as a marker of academic dynamism, epistemological outreach and dissemination of policy prescriptions.

Thematically, the book is centered on China’s rise economically, technologically and scientifically. Indeed, since 2010, China, while surpassing many a regional economy such as Japan, has become the second largest economy of the world. Currently, China is a leading trading partner of major world economics, i.e. US, EU, ASEAN. Methodologically, employing a qualitative method, the researcher has systematically explored, and effectively utilized, primary as well as secondary data sources such as official reports of Chinese government on, for example, the conception of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that was launched by President Xi Jinping in 2013.

Organizationally, Ayesha’s China-Pakistan Relations in the Twenty-First Century is systematically divided into seven, concisely written, chapters followed by an overall conclusion, bibliography and, importantly, index that helps to negotiate the text conveniently. In addition, the book carries a foreword by FCCU’s current rector, Jonathan Addleton, who shared his diplomatic insights on the unique character of China-Pakistan relations. Similarly, as editor of the CPPG monograph series, Dr Saeed Shafqat has underscored the scholarly and institutional background for the current study in his meaningfully composed note.

While not diving into the history of China-Pakistan relations, Siddique seems to have purposefully picked the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to not only identify the ‘transformative role’ of these institutions in enhancing bilateral engagement but also analyze China’s rise through these bilateral and multilateral measures.

Diplomatically, though China and Pakistan established ties in May 1951, the two sides came closer in the wake of Sino-India war of 1962. The following year, the first China-Pakistan trade agreement was signed under which both countries accorded the Most Favored Nation (MFN) trading status to each other. Consequently, China assisted Pakistan with long-term credit for industrial development and growth. Following Pakistan-India war of 1965, the two countries also collaborated militarily.

However, owing to the Cold War compulsions, defense cooperation prevailed over commercial engagement. Indeed, period to China’s ‘reform and opening up’ policy, initiated in 1978 by post-Maoist leader, Deng Xiaoping, China was generally counted as a low-income country, facing myriad issues such as extreme poverty. Hence, beyond a point, Beijing faced structural constraints as far as economic assistance, i.e. foreign aid, to developing countries was concerned. Little wonder, despite trade agreement the two sides struggled to take further institutional initiatives to expand bilateral trade whose volume remained extremely in the (post-) Cold War period.

Interestingly, however, China has made remarkable progress in manufacturing, human resource development, industrial output as well as global trade in the past 45 years. Resultantly, China is presently not only the world second largest economy but has also attained global recognition due to its constructive role in various international and regional organizations such as the Unites Nations Organization (UNO) ─ where it is a permanent member of the UN Security Council ─ and World Trade Organization (WTO). With an increase in global trade and market connectivity on account of ‘reform and opening up, China-led by President Xi Jinping launched the BRI in 2013; CPEC is an important component of the BRI, connecting China with the Gulf, African and even European markets. It can also be extended to Central Asia via Afghanistan argued the author who has, overall, taken an optimistic view of CPEC that carry the potential to transform Pakistan is otherwise dwindling economy.

Empirically, the author has cited various CPEC projects, some of which were completed in the first phase (2015-2020), to highlight the ‘transformative’ significance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Indubitably, as per official data (accessed by the reviewer on 4 October 2023 from https://cpec.gov.pk/progress-update) 14 projects have been completed under the ‘energy’ category ─ only two projects have been completed in the ongoing year so far. In addition, under the said category, two projects are under construction while five are under consideration.

Moreover, under the ‘infrastructure’ category, only six projects are completed since the launch of the Corridor in 2015. Five projects, in this category, are under construction whereas 13 projects are stuck in the policy pipeline (under consideration). As far as Gwadar development is concerned, four projects have been completed whereas six projects are in progress; and four projects are under consideration. Nevertheless, to reap benefits from CPEC optimally, China and Pakistan need to prioritize Gwadar development as well as the construction of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) posited the author.

As regards the ‘transformative’ role of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Ayesha Siddique has underlined the financial and developmental capacity of the AIIB, which comparatively possess more financial worth compared to its competitors such as the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB). These banking systems are influenced by the US. The latter’s institutional say is much more pervasive in the case of the WB due to its voting power ─ and, by extension, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is also controlled by the US in policy terms. Contrarily, the AIIB is a Chinese initiative; it was launched in 2015. Pakistan, being China’s strategic partner, became one of the fifty-seven founding members of the bank. Importantly, Pakistan happened to be the first country to receive development assistence from the AIIB. The author has not only provided details of the AIIB-led projects in various parts of the country in tabular but is also optimistic about the constructive role of the AIIB in the development of flagging economics such as ours.

Having empirically and comparatively analyzed the transformative role of CPEC and AIIB, Siddique has also provided valuable insights on the technological, educational and cultural cooperation between China and Pakistan in the 21st century. Technologically, both sides find more opportunities, courtesy CPEC and AIIB, for institutional collaboration in various fields such as agriculture, water conservancy, digital communication, medical and health sector as well as space exploration. Educationally, though fewer Pakistani students flew to China during the Cold War period, the number surpassed thirty thousand in recent years due to the transformative impact of CPEC, that opened information, (visa) facilitation and financial, i.e. scholarship, windows for the Pakistani youth which constitute around 64 per cent of the population. Besides Pakistani youth, the Chinese students are also finding placement at Pakistani universities.

However, there is need to attract more Chinese students and scholars as comparatively their number is low noted the author. Culturally, the governments of both the countries have adopted various institutional measures to promote cultural understanding between the two societies. With CPEC in the limelight, the Chinese language is getting popular in Pakistan. Having sensed it, the Chinese universities are collaborating with their Pakistani counterparts in terms of establishing Confucius Institutes and ‘sister cities’. However,
bilateral tourism is still below the mark and the two sides need to devise mechanism to promote cultural capital for a shared future argued the author.

Last but not the least, China and Pakistan face various challenges. China has to deal with a liberal world order centered around American economic, military and cultural capabilities. The US, no doubt, is still the leading economy and a strong military in the world, maintaining more than 800 military bases around the world. Though the US-China trade ties are intact despite situational shocks, mutual misgivings get visible when it comes to trade deals with dynamic economies, for example, in the Indo-Pacific. In addition, Taiwan is another geopolitical challenge that China has to overcome.

However, the author argues that the Communist Party of China (CPC) has have the administrative capability, political will and policy vision to guide its society and economy effectively. Indeed, the way the CPC dealt with Covid-19, while taking drastic measures, reflects on the agency of the party, which is the largest political party/organization in the world. As regards Pakistan, it faces multiple issues ranging from poor governance to political and economic instability. Pakistani authorities ought to learn from their Chinese counterpart about political will, pro-poor policies and policy continuation. However, given differences in political and party systems, it is prudent for Pakistan to improve upon its existing political system so that it generates the capacity to accrue benefits from CPEC, AIIB and other China-led initiatives for the masses currently mired in extreme poverty.

Finally, the book has contributed to the literature on China-Pakistan relations in terms of invoking the institutional capacities of both CPEC and AIIB for technological, educational, cultural and, above all, economic cooperation between the two countries, societies and economies in the coming years of the ongoing century. Put differently, this book has , on the one hand, offered a horizontal analysis of China-Pakistan relations through a rigorous analysis of economic, technological, educational and cultural cooperation bwteenb the two countries and, on the other, presented convincing views on vertical expansion of ties both at the state and societal level. Moreover, it is a well-organized and argued text, which is also reader-friendly.

In view of the foregoing, China-Pakistan Relations in the Twenty-First Century by Ayesha Siddique is a recommend read for students, scholars and policy makers with interest in China-Pakistan relations especially China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Dr James A Tebbe visited CPPG

Message from Dr. Saeed Shafqat

It gives me pleasure to share with you that since 2008, we have been publishing the Quarterly Research & News magazine. Over the years Quarterly has performed a very useful function of sharing the Centre’s activities and views of our guest speakers, while occasionally publishing research articles, policy briefs and consultative dialogue reports.

Now, the CPPG faculty is ready to launch a policy research journal, regularize it’s monograph series, and enhance the scope of policy briefs and discussion papers published by the Centre. In that spirit the current issue is edited and managed by the student editorial team, supervised by Saba Shahid and Raheem ul Haque, both of whom have done an excellent job in advising and navigating this student-led initiative.

I want to underscore that this is a student-led initiative and reflects the vigor, dedication and a sense of purpose of the CPPG’s MPhil students. In the coming months/years the Executive Masters and the PhD students will also join enthusiastically and contribute towards making the Quarterly a flag-bearer of students’ voice and research. The faculty supervisor’s role is to advise and oversee that Quarterly becomes a torchbearer to promote a culture of research, deliberation and tolerance of opposing views in an academic environment, where student’s views and voices are respected. We hope that through this venture, the students of the CPPG will become the backbone of

the FCC research community, enabling the faculty to consolidate the Think Tank functions of the CPPG. Please join me in congratulating the Quarterly’s editorial team for making a daring new beginning. Any comments and critical feedback is welcome and will give the editorial team and contributors a sense of confidence.

Dr. Saeed Shafqat

Saba Shahid

Supervisor, Senior Research Fellow CPPG


Supervisor, Assistant Prof. CPPG

Nimra Zahid Mir

Student Sub-editor

Roha Suhail Qureshi

Student Sub-editor

Ajwah Nadeem

Student Sub-editor

Mansoor Ahmad

Student Editor

Neesa Abbas

Student Editor

Neha Malik

Student Editor

Iffrah Khalid

(Class of 2017-2019)

Iffrah Khalid is lecturer at the University of Lahore.

“Doing my bachelors in Economics and later joining CPPG’s MPhil Public Policy program was a complete roller coaster ride. I kept questioning myself again and again if this program will be worth it. I can say today gladly that it was worth it. What I am today, I own it to CPPG. CPPG provided me with the exposure I needed to get ahead in my career. The discussion-based courses opened my eyes to new perspectives and broadened my approach towards policymaking and its implementation. We were taught how government policies are put into action in order to fully analyze policies and programs. And the research skills that I acquired from CPPG have been a great help in my academic career. I specifically got a grip on qualitative analysis along with policy analysis, program evaluation and management. My leadership and analytical skills have strengthened, preparing me for working at public organizations. The faculty members and class fellows from diverse fields and backgrounds further added to a great learning experience. Today, I not only have the knowledge but the skills as well to materialize this degree. I got the opportunity to build my professional network and learn from well-established academia and faculty.”

Kainat Shakil

(Class of 2016-2018)

Kainat Shakil is currently pursuing her PhD from Deakin University and is working as a freelance research consultant also.

“The MPhil program at CPPG gave me valuable applied research skills which has aided me not only within academia but also outside it.

In the two and a half years of working in the development sector at Shahid Javed Burki Institute of Public Policy, skills such as research design, engaging with theoretical frameworks, and analyzing data were highly useful.

Now as a PhD student, at Deakin University, I have undertaken a degree which blends gender studies, politics and international relations. CPPG’s multidisciplinary coursework helped me explore new texts and perspectives with relative ease.

Not only this, CPPG has also given me the wonderful opportunity to build lifelong connections with supportive, diverse and vibrant academics.”

Muhammad Bilal

(Class of  2015-2017)

Muhammad Bilal is currently serving as Excise & Taxation Inspector.

“I’m a taxman. I started my career in 2014 as an Excise & Taxation Inspector. After a year of job experience I decided to proceed further and improve my academic base. I must say I was lucky enough to get admission in the CPPG MPhil program. This MPhil program entirely changed my thinking pattern more specifically baseline criteria to analyze others position while dealing and interacting with them. I switched my job from Provincial government to Federal in 2018, with an aim to put my best and contribute to the national arena with all of my positive energies. 

I have been part of the FBR team who are training and conducting workshops for various Federal, Provincial and Local Governments Department regarding Proper Taxation and its benefits thereon. Definitely CPPG was a launching pad of my career towards prosperity with a positive attitude.”

Language Under Constitution


The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, also known as the 1973 constitution, was drafted by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s government. It was ratified on August 14, 1973 and was the first Constitution to be framed by elected representatives in Pakistan (Bajora, 2010).

It comprises 280 articles and five schedules, and has undergone twenty-three amendments to date. The Constitution is divided into twelve parts, with the first three chapters establishing the rules and separate powers of the three branches of the government. The constitution broke away from its predecessor documents by establishing a bicameral legislature and parliamentary system, establishing two chambers, separate in deliberation from one another. 41 percent of the world’s governments adopt a bicameral system, including countries like Australia, Brazil, Canada, India and Russia.

The Parliament cannot make any laws which may be repugnant or contrary to the Constitution, unless the constitution itself is amended by a two-thirds majority in both the houses of the bicameral parliament.

With a history wrought with military coups upending the supposedly enshrined constitution, it’s no surprise that the Constitution continues to be the focus of political struggle. Considering language’s intricate ties to group identity, the constitutional provisions addressing it remain a charged debate.


The history of the Constitution contextualizes the political conflicts underlying most of its provisions. Experts believe that the principles of the Constitution of Pakistan still stem from colonial times.  At the time of its independence in August 1947, Pakistan inherited the Government of India Act of 1935) as its constitutional model – a framework designed by a colonial power to govern a colony that provided for a strong central government, a bureaucracy dominated executive unanswerable to the legislature, and very limited representation with continuation of feudal domination over politics.

1956 Constitution

On March 23, the 1956 Constitution of Pakistan came into existence. While parliamentary and federal in form, the constitution ensured that the president retained supreme powers and the center was more powerful than the provinces. But this Constitution had a very short life. The country’s first general elections were scheduled for February 1959, but President Iskandar Mirza, fearing a rise in East Pakistan’s influence could undermine his hold on power, abrogated the Constitution before the elections in 1958, establishing martial law and appointing army chief Ayub Khan as chief martial law administrator. This set a precedent for the military to assert itself into the country’s political affairs. It also led to a pattern of takeovers, subversion of constitutional provisions, and a military-bureaucracy dominated executive that superseded the elected parliament.

1962 Constitution

A new constitution came into effect in 1962 which failed to include fundamental rights until the first amendment was made to it, granting the executive power to the president and abolishing the office of the prime minister. Most significantly, it institutionalized the intervention of the military in politics by providing that for twenty years, the president or the defense minister must be a person who had held a rank not lower than that of lieutenant-general in the army.

1973 Constitution

The 1973 Constitution created a parliamentary form of democracy in which the executive power is concentrated in the office of the prime minister. It established the Pakistani president as the formal head of state, bound to act on the advice of the prime minister. The parliament consists of two houses, the national assembly and the senate. The Constitution also provides for four provincial governments and the distribution of legislative power between the federation and the provinces.  The new Constitution included Article (6) which stated anyone who now abrogated or attempted or conspired to abrogate or subvert the Constitution shall be “guilty of high treason.” It was an attempt to guard against the takeover of the state by future military rulers.

Importance of Constitution

In order to understand the importance of its articles- particularly those concerning language- its important to underscore the multi-faceted importance of the Constitution. To put it simply, the state, as an institution, is created and defined by its constitution. The study of constitutions must therefore inform policy making at every level.

Constitutions ideally provide an acceptable framework for maneuvering political polarization. They engender stability by giving legal and social guarantees that despite escalating political disagreements, all stakeholders accept the legitimacy of the system of choosing governments.

Even though constitutional provisions have been historically manipulated in Pakistan, they remain important due to their unique claims to accountability. The accountability demanded by invoking constitutional articles carries most weight in the courts and amongst citizens- even when other mechanisms fall short. Therefore, in countries with weak democratic norms, the constitution becomes increasingly important. This current analysis is on the topic of language under the constitutional umbrella.

Constitutional Analysis

Language is one of the important aspects of society. It is not some words brought together but an entity that connects an individual to his family, identity, culture, music, beliefs and wisdom (Zalmay, 2017). Currently in Pakistan there are 72 languages spoken (provincial and regional) including the official languages Urdu and English (Zalmay, 2017).  In 2014 the Parliamentary Paper highlighted that 10 out of 72 languages are near extinction and despite the fact that four major provincial languages Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi and Pashto/ Puhkto  are spoken in four provinces of Pakistan, with the exception of Sindhi, the other three have no official status (Zalmay, 2017). The Constitution of Pakistan makes 12 references for language, dedicating Article 251 to language only (Jabeen, S. & Shehzad, W., 2018). This section of the paper discusses Article 251 and other articles associated with language  in the Constitution that provide the insights on the significance of language.

 Article 251

Article 251 is of supreme importance. Under this article, Urdu is declared the national language of Pakistan and provinces are allowed to carry on with their respective languages alongside with the national language.

Clause 1

Under this clause, Urdu is declared the national language of Pakistan. The article  advises making all necessary provisions for the use of  Urdu,  within the 15 years from the  commencing day.

Clause 2

According to this clause, English should be used as the official language until all the necessary arrangements are made for its replacement by Urdu.

Clause 3

This clause allows the provincial assembly to, by law, prescribe the promotion of teaching of provincial language in addition to national language.

Article 255

Article 255 discusses the Oath of Office, and Clause 1 addresses the language in which the oath can be taken.

Clause 1

Under this clause of article 255 the oath by a person should be taken under the Constitution (preferably Urdu) or by the language that is understood by the person taking the oath.

Article 282

Article 282 is subjected to Article 251. The article allows citizens to have a distinct language, culture, or script to have the right to preserve and promote the same and, subject to law, establish institutions for that.

Article 31

Article 31 of the Constitution underpins the Islamic way of life. Clause 2 (A) of the article addresses the provision of Arabic language.

Clause 2(A)

Under this clause, provisions should be made for the teaching of Holy Quran and Islamiat  as a compulsory subject. The clause also encourages the learning and facilitation  of Arabic language and to secure correct and exact printing and publishing of the Holy Quran.


Analysis and Discussion

The Constitution makes it clear about the provision of language in federal and provincial affairs. Article 251 makes it clear that Urdu is the national language and all the arrangements should be made for it within fifteen years of commencement. The Constitution came in 1972 and the implementation process can be taken in the year 1973 so by 1988 the provisions under Article 251 should have been accomplished. Till date, English remains the official language.  In the case of provincial language except for Sindhi, no other language has an official status nor provincial assemblies have taken action for it.

In 2016, a constitutional amendment bill was presented in Senate for amendment to Article 251 by Senator Muhammad Javed Abbasi (The Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2016). The bill proposed that instead of a national language it should be ‘languages’ and a comma should be inserted after ‘Urdu.’ The languages after comma should be inserted i.e. Punjabi, Pushto, Hindko, Balochi, Brahvi, and Sairiki. The objective of the bill was language recognition and acceptance of diversity of language. However, the bill was not passed in the Senate.

The Constitution advises forming necessary institutions in pretext to preserve language (Article 28 and 251 (3). It is up to the lawmakers and enforcers to abide by the constitutional limit. However, different theaters, NGO’s and literary groups have been working for the promotion of different languages, but they require strong policy support for further changes that could be brought in to ensure our regional languages are not lost and are preserved as an important part of our cultural and historic heritage.



Bajoria, J. (2010, April 21). Pakistan’s Constitution. Council on Foreign Relations. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/pakistans-constitution.

Jabeen, S. & Shehzad, W.  Interface between National Ideologies and the Constitution of Pakistan. International Journal of English Linguistics, 8(5). https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v8n5p106.

“The Constitutional (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (Amendment of Article 251)”, Abbasi, M.J.  https://senate.gov.pk/uploads/documents/1503487187_505.PDF.

Zalmay, K. (2017, February 11). Language and Identity. The News. https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/185439-Language-and-identity.

The role of the judiciary – Case of the ‘No Confidence’ vote

Amidst an ongoing political turmoil, the supreme court of Pakistan gave a historic judgment on 7th April 2022. The Suo Moto taken by the Chief Justice of Pakistan as part of a 5 member bench redressed the concerns of the opposition that was due to pass a vote of no confidence against the sitting Prime Minister Imran Khan. The parliamentary session came to an abrupt end as the deputy speaker of the national assembly Qasim Suri refused to administer the motion of the vote of no confidence, citing a foreign conspiracy as the driving force behind the motion. Soon after Prime Minister Imran Khan advised President Arif Alvi to dissolve the national assembly, with the aim of holding early elections in the country.

The disgruntled opposition then sought the judicial channel to overturn the dissolution and declare the decision taken by the deputy speaker baseless and unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan rose to the occasion and after much deliberation gave a detailed verdict that invalidated the proceedings of the Parliament and the subsequent dissolution of the national assembly. The directive from the court explicitly detailed that the assembly should convene on 9th April to carry out the vote of no confidence motion and that the sitting government should not prevent any lawmaker from casting their vote.

Premise of Judgment

The main premise of the judgment was to declare the dissolution of the national assembly by the President of Pakistan at the Prime Minister’s behest, unconstitutional. The judgment also demanded that the vote of no confidence be passed without any obstruction from the government or the speaker of the national assembly. Leaving no room for ambiguity or further delays the judgment went on to dictate the exact day and time the motion was to be presented in the national assembly.

Opposing Views

The verdict by the supreme court was met with criticism from the government and its supporters as they claimed that the judiciary had no jurisdiction over the affairs of the parliament and that by dictating the rules of procedure the judiciary undermined the mandate of the legislative body. Other than the foreign conspiracy stance, Article 63(a) was also called into question. Article 63(a) demands the loyalty of the legislators to the party they represent. On the basis of the following article Imran Khan prohibited his party members to vote in the motion of no confidence and repeatedly cited the article to discourage the defectors from defying the party’s stance. The government’s representatives argued that using his position as the head of the Pakistan Tareek-e-Insaaf (PTI), Imran Khan had the authority to ask the speaker of the national assembly to not count the votes of any party defectors.

The opposition and the constitutionalists argued that the government is responsible for upholding the supremacy of the constitution and is liable to allow the process of vote of no confidence to ensue without any political threats or pressures. The dismissal of the motion set a bad precedent which was not in line with the democratic process of the state of Pakistan.

Raza Rabbani from the opposition party stated the speaker’s ruling was illegal. The motion of no confidence can’t be dismissed without voting on it according to Article 95 of the Constitution. He also mentioned that foreign conspiracy was a tout to tackle the motion.

Makhdoom Ali Khan representing the Pakistan Muslim League – Nawaz (PML-N) said the motion was signed by 152 legislators and voted by 161 in favor to put forward. Opposition pointed out the debate on the motion of no-confidence was expected on 31st March and voting was supposed to be on 3rd April but neither of them were held because of the obstruction caused by the PTI government.

Suo Moto – Personal Bias or National Interest?

The role of the judiciary is to primarily interpret the Constitution, but does dictating the rules of procedure to a body of elected representatives come under the jurisdiction of the supreme court?

The Supreme Court of Pakistan justified its intervention in the greater national interest of the country. The influence, practice and role of a Suo Moto action by the courts has yet to be defined in any constitutional act hence a Suo Moto is usually unpredictable and is practised as an act of judicial activism for the interest of the public as deemed fit by the courts. In Pakistan according to a latest ruling by the supreme court only the Chief Justice of Pakistan has the right to take a Suo Moto notice. The courts justify taking such action for the safety and rights of the public if violated in terms of basic human rights, certain government policies, religion or other fundamental rights.

In the context of Pakistan, the constitutional text of Article 184 (3) stipulates that for the Court to have original jurisdiction on an issue, it first needs to be of public importance. Secondly, that issue must involve a violation of fundamental rights that are enshrined within the first chapter of the second part of the Pakistan’s Constitution.[1]

The article 184(3) caters to cases that are for the interest of the public and courts under this umbrella have the power to enforce solutions and decisions on multiple issues. For instance during his tenure Chief Justice of Pakistan Saqib Nasir took Suo Moto notices on many issues like hospital mismanagement, population growth, water scarcity, land encroachment and money laundering cases in the guise of public interest.[2]

Internationally Suo Moto is also exercised to address issues of public interest and importance. One such example is when in 2021 the Supreme Court of India took Suo Motu cognizance over the contamination of rivers. Because of the negligence committed by the municipal authority, untreated sewage waste was thrown directly into the rivers, the Supreme Court of India stated that “open surface water resources including rivers are the lifeline of human civilisation”.[3] In its seven page order the court stated that it is the duty of the state to ensure that water resources are safeguarded from any contamination so people can have access to clean water and prompted the government to take swift action.[4]

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently also took Suo Moto cognizance and requested that the state government to respond to inadequacy and different issues identifying with the wellbeing area of the state. The court took Suo Moto cognizance for a paper article named ‘Clinical Corruption’. The article was an open letter addressed to the Prime Minister of India and focused on “the extreme costs charged for medications, malpractices and unrequired symptomatic tests and medical examinations.” [5]

The Supreme Courts also have the liberty to take a Suo Moto cognizance for any action deemed as a contempt of court, that is either when the dignity or integrity of a court order is challenged or when the delivery of justice is being obstructed by someone.[6]


The judiciary is bound to uphold the constitution just as any other institution of the state. Even though the legislators have the power to amend the constitution or make new laws, it is the courts that decide those laws are not in conflict with fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution, the Quran or Sunnah, the law of the land and the basic character of the constitution. These checks give the judiciary a lot of room for interpretation. The judiciary claims it works under the law to protect the law. Although there have been cases of personal bias in relation to the Suo Moto notices taken, reverting the dissolution of the assembly and ensuring the vote of no confidence took place, was a constitutional necessity. The judiciary with their detailed judgment set a precedent, which would discourage future leaders from dictating the proceedings of the parliament according to their own whims and wishes without the due process.



Anant, Antariksh. “Suo Moto Cognizance by the Judiciary.” Legal Bites – Law And Beyond, June 29, 2021. www.legalbites.in/suo-moto-cognizance-by-the-judiciary.

Darji Prachi, “Suo Motu Cognizance by the Indian Judiciary.” MyAdvo (2018) www.myadvo.in/blog/suo-motu-cognizance-by-the-indian-judiciary

Express Tribune. The Power of Suo Moto. Express Tribune. (2019) www.tribune.com.pk/story/1887380/power-suo-motu

Kamboj, N.S. “HUMAN RIGHTS AND JUDICIAL ACTIVISM.” Journal of the Indian Law Institute, vol. 41, no. 1, 1999, pp. 110–115. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43951701

Manzar, Shayan. “A Concoction of Powers: The Jurisprudential Development of Article 184 (3) & Its Procedural Requirements.” Shaikh Ahmad Hassan School of Law, August 3, 2021. www.sahsol.lums.edu.pk/law-journal/concoction-powers-jurisprudential-development-article-184-3-its-procedural-requirements

“Suo Moto Cognizance by Judiciary.” ilms.academy, December 24, 2021. www.ilms.academy/blog//suo-moto-cognizance-by-judiciary.

Rajagopal, Krishnadas. “Supreme Court Takes Suo Motu Cognisance of Contamination of Rivers.” The Hindu, January 13, 2021. https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-takes-suo-motu-cognisance-of-contamination-of-rivers/article33569924.ece

CPPG visits the Urban Unit

CPPG faculty and students had an informative training workshop in Urban Unit to learn the GIS, Data Analytics, and its applications. The training incorporation defines the capacity and technological resources of GIS to integrate, store, analyse, share and display geographical information for decision making. The process of decision-making involves various stakeholders from different departments of government and the private. GIS has evolved and gained immense significance in the technological world by connecting various geographical features in one frame.

Through this experience, the MPhil students got a chance to interact with public officials and understand the practitioner’s news about policymaking in the country, particularly the importance of data collection, timely upgrading of data, and evidence-based decision-making. The importance of relying on available technological resources was also stressed, as these allow for an accurate and reliable policy design process. By the end of the training, we were able to identify features of the Google Map pro system and how data is utilized by institutions for their analysis.Students engaged in a lively discussion on novel ways to approach policy problems and felt they had a wider perspective on how to choose thesis topics. The session ended on a high note where students were given certificates for their participation.

“Our visit to the Urban unit was extensively informative. We got to know about the colossal world of GIS and data analytics. The training revolved around providing us the required facts and figures so that we understand how GIS works and how its impacts everyone around us. Our trainers were well knowledgeable with strong command over the domain. The usage of GIS in the modern world has increased manifold as almost every public and private entity requires it these days. The extensive data collection that has been done under GIS was very new for us. Overall, our visit to the Urban unit was very pleasant and indeed a great learning experience.”- Maida Saqib Butt


“ We were invited to the Urban Unit for a training workshop on GIS, Data Analytics and its Applications. The training was incorporation of defining capacity and technological resources of GIS to analyse, share and display geographical information for decision making. Through this training workshop, we were able to learn the significance of GIS in the modern  world. GIS systems are required in every public and private sector as it brings down various geographical features in one frame. Ms. Urooj Saeed briefly explained and introduced different features of GIS and Google Map pro which are beneficial for collecting data in different sectors. Importance of technological resources was stressed upon for accurate and refined information. Indeed, our visit to Urban Unit proved to be beneficial and students learned new techniques and features  Google map pro. It was a pleasant and unique experience overall.”- Roha Suhail Qureshi

Event covered by Mansoor Ahmad and Roha Suhail Qureshi.

Book Review: Property Taxes and State Incapacity in Pakistan by Dr. Mujtaba Piracha

Reviewed by Roha Suhail Qureshi and Ajwah Nadeem.

Dr. Mujtaba Piracha was ideally suited to pen the first-of-its-kind detailed analysis exploring Punjab’s chronic woes of low property tax revenue. He has not only been Pakistan’s ambassador to the WTO but a member of the Punjab Revenue Authority. This book busts several myths about taxation, and shows the downsides of decentralization, arguing its limited benefits in an unsupportive political structure.

The arguments in the book are deeply multifaceted, going well beyond the typical academic analysis of linking low taxation to governments lacking political will, a centralized system, frequent changes in tax leadership, and implementation capacity. Dr. Piracha particularly looks at property taxes since their revenue is significantly lesser even when compared to other taxes; donor-supported initiatives to fix it fail repeatedly and therefore, reasons in addition to those of low taxation generally affect it. Other factors rendering property taxes of unique interest are: it is not at risk of asset flight, is progressive, provides relatively stable income since property values change slowly, and is channeled back into the local government’s municipal services.

This book upends the typical argument about decentralization leading to greater tax revenue and fully examines the extent to which informality seeps into government handlings, making it inefficient. It leads to one conclusion: without fixing the entire governance system and structure, these solutions are counter-productive.

For this book, Dr. Piracha studied detailed government records and took part in field studies, leveraging his role as a civil service officer to gain insight that would otherwise not be possible. His research findings revolve around three core reasons for exceptionally low property tax revenue.

The first reason is the failure of subnational governments to cooperate. This argument makes it clear that it is a policy problem at its heart: the revenue and responsibilities of the three levels of subnational governments are mismatched, leading to disincentives for each level to cooperate in collecting property tax.


He goes on to argue that the responsibilities are divided among the three levels of government, while revenues are only shared between two levels, creating organizational disincentives. Town level governments enjoy most of the revenue, district-level receive none while the remaining little amount goes to provincial governments. Perversely, the responsibility to supervise tax staff, fund operation costs, and review public appeals against assessment falls to the provincial government.

A testament to the author’s commitment to a nuanced, holistic overview, Dr. Piracha doesn’t fail to point out the role of repeated military governments’ attempts to empower local governments to undermine provincial governments. It has shaped a long history of rivalry, detrimentally affecting cooperation between different departments.


Secondly, Dr. Piracha argues that a low fiscal equilibrium plays its part too: there is a lack of incentives to raise taxes and expenditures. Low-level governments are highly reliant on transfers from higher levels of government and loans to manage expenditure. Provincial governments rely on federal revenue, and so relying on property tax becomes insignificant and its potential remains lost.


The author further argues that the prevalence of patronage politics and the alienation of the wealthy from the abysmal quality of public services means that the demand to improve them remains chronic, but never gathers enough momentum needed to be treated seriously enough to incentivize tax revenue collection. During times of fiscal stress, the government spends effort on paying its employees rather than maintaining public services.

Consequently, budgeting becomes central to the tax revenue problem too. Civil society plays a significant role in regularly analyzing provincial and federal budgets. For instance under the PILDAT initiativ, which however, is restricted to the annual budget only. So the question arises: How can we initiate policies or spread awareness amongst the general public and political elites about these services and the need for efficient tax collection?


The third core argument is weak tax administration. Predictably enough, the control of detailed information at the lowest levels, combined with an essentially patronage-based informal political economy, breeds corruption. The taxation policy has enough loopholes to make it quite easy: there are large tax differentials between owner occupied, rent occupied, commercial and residential properties. Lower-level staff monopolize information and- here, Dr. Piracha digresses from the mainstream rhetoric-not only for corruption. It is to create a buffer for periods when they face pressure for more tax collection, and to fund the cost of tax collection, an expense they get repeatedly inadequate funding for. In his book Dr. Piracha explores in detail the motivations of tax collectors at different levels, demystifying the typically reductive economic argument.


To conclude, the book highlights a broader disconnect between the state and its citizens and counters the ever-pervasive support for local governments by pointing out nuances that should be taken into consideration. It balances the macro and micro expertly, keeping the readers’ attention. It is worth a read for future policymakers, civil servants, and anyone interested in challenging their preconceived notions on governance and taxation.


Piracha, M. M. (2022). Property taxes and state incapacity in Pakistan. Oxford University Press.

Book Review: Ethnic Federalism In Pakistan by Maryam S. Khan

Reviewed by Nimra Zahid Mir.

“Ethnic Federalism in Pakistan: Federal design, construction of ethno-linguistic identity and group conflict”  is an article by Maryam Khan published in Harvard Journal on Racial and Ethnic Justice (VOL. 30, 2014). Maryam Shahid Khan is a jurist with extensive knowledge of federal design and ethnic politics. She has an LL.M (Hons) from Yale Law School, is Bar at Law from Lincoln’s Inn and is currently a visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAS). Her areas of interest and publications are concentrated around the themes of comparative constitutional law and constitutional design, federalism and local government, ethnic politics and conflict, and lastly law and development.

Her paper highlights how “region-based political groups in Pakistan have been historically mobilized for political power largely around their ethnic and linguistic identities.”[1] She shares how these groups’ efforts for political autonomy occurred in the post-colonial setting though ethnic movements had their roots in the colonial era. She uses the example of secession of East Pakistan in 1971 and military operations in Balochistan to argue how ethno-politics has been a reason for violence in Karachi, for the Sindhi minority to seek its linguistic identity.

The article uses the federal layout of Pakistan to explore the link between the ethnic federation and how it counters the political demands of various ethnic groups in Pakistan. It explores how different  ethnic groups sometimes collaborate and raise their voice to be identified for political representation, linguistic rights and other gains. Further, how resistance to homogenization may instigate ethnic conflicts.

The paper is divided into five parts. Part I explores the federal design and ethnic conflict in Pakistan and provides an explanation for ethnic mobilization of the Muhajirs, the concept of minority within minority in the case of Sindh. It is discussed within the context of Sindhis as a minority in urban Sindh after the migration of muhajirs, Sindhi nationalism, and the politics of geography and provincial autonomy. Part II focuses on Sindh’s encounter with Muhajir dominance. It explores inter-group relations in pre-federation Pakistan; how this led to inter-group cleavages, and entrenchment of Muhajir dominance. It further explores the one-unit plan, a bipolar federation, militarization of the state, and the rise of sub-nationalism.  Part III and IV connect ethnic federation of the 1970s to the ethnicization of politics in Sindh with theoretical insight into minorities-within-minorities in ethnic federations using Amy Chua’s positive theory of “market dominant minorities” and Horowitz’s examination of behavior of ethnic groups in post-colonial states. The last part talks about ethnicity-based politics & institutional protections of minorities in Pakistan

This paper gives an idea about how federalism became an essential part of the legacy of the Constitution of Pakistan. The article also explores how ethnic politics is reflected in the decision making and policy process in Pakistan.


Khan, Maryam S. “Ethnic Federalism In Pakistan: Federal Design, Construction Of Ethno-Linguistic Identity & Group Conflict” Harvard Journal On Racial & Ethnic Justice Vol. 30 (2014) https://ideaspak.org/images/Publications/Social-Exclusion-and-Marginalization/Ethnic-Federalism-in-Pakistan.pdf

Smog in Lahore: Impact and Policy Options

Smog has turned Lahore from a ‘city of gardens’ to one of the most polluted cities in the world. Historically, The Mughals designed the city of Lahore around the concept of a garden. However, with a surge in the number of concrete buildings, its green spaces are becoming increasingly scarce.

Unregulated urbanization, excessive air pollution due to toxic emissions, poor waste management, and increased amount of traffic has created a hazardous situation for the city’s environment. As a result, every year Lahore has begun to experience a wave of smog during the fall season which continues well into the winter months.

According to IQAir Air visual live ranking of global cities, Lahore has been ranked as the most polluted city at the start of January 2022.[1]


Impact of Smog

Accelerated by high levels of pollution, smog has severe effects on Lahore’s inhabitants like deteriorating health conditions, disrupted flight operations, and visibility issues for road traffic.

In terms of health issues, smog has been responsible for causing excessive breathing issues, eyesight problems and headaches. If left unchecked, smog can have fatal outcomes such as lung cancer.

Apart from health, smog also results in disruption of flight operations. Every year the Civil Aviation Authority is forced to delay and cancel many flights as a result of zero visibility caused by the smog. Lahore’s International Airport is an important hub for economic activities. The delaying and cancelation of flights due to smog causes innumerable losses to the economy as everything comes to a halt.

Not only flight operations but also road traffic faces hindrances from smog. The flow of traffic is disrupted as drivers and riders are unable to see. This may result in unnecessary traffic blockades which lead to more air pollution and also disruptions in daily life activities. Smog affects the education and employment sectors, as people are forced to stay home to protect their health. Schools are often forced to close campuses as a result of the poor air quality students have to experience while traveling to school.



Severe effects of smog demand some dynamic policy options, these include:

  • To avoid health issues caused by smog, it should be made mandatory for people to wear masks and glasses so that smog may not affect their breathing ability and eyesight.
  • Government and other monitoring agencies should ensure environmentally friendly transport systems. Government should introduce the Electric Vehicle Supply Scheme so that pollution may be minimized as traffic is a major contributor to pollution in the city.
  • Social and economic activities of the masses must be monitored. Pollution in Lahore is not entirely caused by the citizens of Lahore, nearby areas are also responsible for this environmental catastrophe.[2] Therefore the administration of the causes of smog should go beyond the city boundaries.
  • There should be an environment related awareness system for locals. Awareness can be created through educational institutions by holding seminars on how to make our daily life activities more sustainable and environment friendly. The span of the awareness can be expanded by distributing the pamphlets among masses. For this purpose, youth can play an active role by collaborating with district administration and giving awareness to their own local networks. Building on social capital is an important tool to consider when it comes to raising awareness.
  • Residents of Lahore should prefer using public transport rather than private transport especially while moving within the city. Lahore has three public transport systems: North to South – Metro Bus System, East to West – Orange Line Metro Train, and for on road movement Speedo Feeder Bus, which almost covers all parts of Lahore. In this manner, on road traffic will be lessened and that will be helpful in producing less air pollution. Bottlenecks that hinder people from using public transport must be dealt with. Improving efficiency, punctuality and cleanliness of public transport, ensuring safety for women and children and facilitating disabled access are all important areas to work on.

Smog has pushed Lahore to the top rank of most polluted city in the world while paving way for change in seasonal patterns. It is also contributing towards bad public health and sluggish economic activity. However, the damage is not irreversible yet. Preventative measures and policies like  monitoring public and private transport, ensuring environment friendly activities and giving awareness to the locals, can minimize the intensity of smog. It is pertinent for all concerned stakeholders to raise their voice and communicate viable policy options for making the city of Lahore sustainable and environmentally safe for everyone.


About the author

Muhammad Shahid is currently a student of MPhil. Public Policy at CPPG. His research interests include social issues and civil society.



Ali, Syed Mohammad. “How Lahore Became the World’s Most Polluted Place”, Foreign Policy. (2021) https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/11/29/pakistan-lahore-pollution-fossil-fuels-climate/ (Access date: March 07, 2022)

“Lahore Air Quality Index”, IQAir. (2022) https://www.iqair.com/pakistan/punjab/lahore (Access date: Feb. 22, 2022)

“Pakistan’s Lahore again tops world’s most polluted cities list”, Al Jazeera. (2021) https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/12/3/pakistan-lahore-tops-most-polluted-cities-list (Access date: Feb. 22, 2022)

Suffering in Silence – Marital Rape in Pakistan

Marital Rape is a type of domestic violence and sexual abuse in which an individual is subjected to non-consensual intercourse by a spouse, which could either be practiced through force or threat of force. Although it is not uncommon for men to be victims of marital rape but majority of the victims all around the world are women. Until the 20th Century, forceful sexual relations with one’s wife weren’t regarded as a crime, as it was considered the right of a partner to indulge in any form of sexual act with their spouses who were deemed as their properties and thus marital rape was validated by the institution of marriage itself. The criminalization of marital rape gained momentum in Western countries in the late 20th century. During the 1960s and 1970s, the emerging feminist movements in the west challenged the traditionall2y held beliefs about rape within marriage and worked towards the liberation of women by highlighting the right to self-determination of their bodies. In Pakistan, the subject of marital rape still remains a taboo, often brushed under the carpet. Most people don’t even acknowledge the idea of consent of a girl in marriage let alone sexual interactions. In these circumstances it becomes pertinent to ask why does marital rape go unnoticed in Pakistan and what are its implications on married women’s lives?

This article aims to analyze different attitudes that revolve around marital rape, which eventually leads to the ineffectiveness of criminalization of marital rape in Pakistan.

Global Perspective

The American philosopher Ann J. Cahill in her book Rethinking Rape (2001) observes, “Rape, in its total denial of the victim’s agency, will, and personhood, can be understood as a denial of intersubjectivity itself. The self is at once denied and … stilled, silenced, overcome”.[1]

During the 1970s feminist movements played a significant role in changing attitudes towards rape, by classifying rape as a violent crime rather than a mere sexual misconduct. By the 1980s mass campaigns about rape awareness were raised all across the United States.[2] Prior to these movements, stranger rape was still regarded as an offence but marital rape was not even acknowledged. It was not until 1993 that all 50 states of USA declared marital rape a crime.[3] The criminalization initiative taken up by the US was a huge leap forward but exemption provisions in some States serve as loopholes in legal prosecution. The criminalization of marital rape in other parts of the world does not necessary mean that these laws are enforced either. Common reasons include lack of public awareness, as well as reluctance or outright refusal of authorities to prosecute. For instance in Columbia marital rape was criminalized in 1996. Originally it was treated as a lesser offence than other forms of rape, until this was reconsidered under the new penal code. Despite these measures, statistics indicate up to 44% out of 5.3% rape cases were marital in the country.[4]

South Asian Perspective

In their book Marital Rape (2016), authors Kersti Yllö & M. G. Torres argue that marital rape is common across different cultures and is regarded as a locally recognized social violation. Despite so much cultural variation the underlying purpose of this violation is similar across most cultural contexts, which is to impede women’s agency and empowerment. They say, “women across many cultures do experience the violation of rape in marriage—even if the way that such violations are experienced and understood differs from culture to culture”[5]

Writer and academic Saptarshi Mandal highlights the issue of marital rape as perceived in the Indian society. Indian state laws regarding marriage are dictated by classical religious tradition. The act of marriage is thus considered sacred and divinely ordained rather than a contract between two individuals. According to this pretext, the regulation of criminal law is not applicable to any act that takes place within a marriage, which is why marital rape cannot be deemed as a crime under any legal provision.[6]  While religion and tradition influence Indian State Law, according to The Hindu Marriage Act, 1995 an individual who identifies as a Hindu cannot practice polygamy, which is in direct contrast to the classical Hindu texts in which Lord Krishna is said to have multiple wives. The Act and Hindu religion also prohibits a Hindu person either male or female from taking divorce from a partner[7]. Under these circumstances if a Hindu woman is stuck in an abusive relationship she cannot legally leave her husband. The Act does not factor in any form of abuse or rape within the bounds of marriage. This shows the grim attitude of the Indian society towards domestic violence or marital rape.

According to the non-profit Population Council Organization, forced sexual relations among married young couples in developing countries is a common practice. Qualitative studies from Bangladesh, various parts of India and Nepal highlight the vulnerability of newly married adolescent girls who undergo arranged marriage, and are neither familiar with their husbands nor informed about sexual matters. Interviews that were carried out with women who were married off in their teens or preteens, point out that early sexual relations with their husbands were not only forceful but also traumatic. Various testimonies from young women in South Asia reflect their fear and helplessness during such incidents.[8] These studies draw attention to the larger conversation around women’s rights in South Asia and their limitations within the context of a patriarchal culture. Taboos on subjects that have a direct relation to women’s development, including their sole right over their bodies, have a lasting impact on factors such as gender inequality, women’s economic or political participation or even their decision-making powers within the domestic sphere.

The Case of Pakistan

Writer and academic Rubeena Zakar in her book, Intimate Partner Violence Against Women and Its Implications For Women’s Health in Pakistan, explains that Pakistani society is patriarchal nature, which is why most socioeconomic spheres are controlled and dominated by men. This gives them a better standing in society as compared to women who are dependent on them, which is why most men tend to believe that women are their property and that they can utilize them any way they want.[9] The controlling behavior of a husband is closely associated with physical and sexual violence committed against women. In the context of Pakistan, the circumstances of women vary depending on social class, level of education, working status and geographical location, all of which can influence their freedom and personal autonomy. A generalized perception exists that husbands carry out sexual violence and mistreat their wives because of their subordinate and dependent status, but on the contrary, even in cases where women aren’t solely dependent on their husbands, they are still subjected to sexual and other forms of violence, indicating that the issue goes beyond one of financial dependence.

Zakar, Zakar & Krämer carried out research regarding Women’s Coping Strategies Against Spousal Violence in Pakistan. The data they collected showed that a majority of the women used emotion-focused strategies, especially spiritual therapies, which somehow reduced the impact of violence and provided them with psychosocial solace.[10] Nonetheless, these strategies incurred some costs, such as the consumption of scarce resources, time, and emotional energy. Another aspect that their data highlighted was that few women opted for problem-focused strategies, such as seeking help from formal institutions, as these strategies could lead to overt confrontation with their husbands and may result in divorce, the outcome least desired by most Pakistani women, which is why they continue to suffer in silence.[11]

Apart from lack of awareness about the concept of rape within marriage, the fear of public humiliation and loss of family honor play a key role in ineffectiveness of criminalization of marital rape in Pakistan. The legal provision against rape in the Pakistan Penal Code[12] doesn’t explicitly mention marital rape but still the provision recognizes sexual intercourse insides the bounds of the marriage as rape if it takes place against the will of the wife.

Theoretical Frameworks explaining Marital Rape

Feminist Approach

According to feminist theory, patriarchal structures dictate social phenomena of most societies. In this perspective marital rape is an outcome of this structure and is practiced to keep women in servile positions.[13] The feminist view also holds that until women are seen as other than subservient, compliant victims, little will change. It is a deeply embedded social problem that has to be addressed by social change.

Radical Feminist Approach

Adding weight to the Feminist theory, Radical feminists see marital rape as a part of the patriarchal constructions of gender and sexuality within the context of broader systems of male power, and emphasize the harm that rape does to women as a group.

Thus according to the radical feminist approach marital rape is in actuality the elimination of a woman’s bodily sovereignty, which reinforces male control over the sexual and reproductive uses of women’s bodies as a central defining element of patriarchy.[14]

Evolutionary Approach

According to this perspective the desire of men to control women through sexual coercion is rooted in the evolutionary process, the ultimate goal of sexual behavior is to maximize the likely hood of passing one’s genes. Thus it can be stated that husbands practicing marital rape are acting out of evolutionary impulses.[15] This theory is highly criticized, as it tends to justify sexual violence against women.


Factors that perpetuate Marital Rape

Religious and Cultural Factors

Religions all around the world expect its devotees to adhere to a set of traditional values laid out by that religion. In Pakistan, the majority of the population is Muslim. Apart from the cultural stigma associated with divorce, the religion of Islam also discourages divorce, although it does allow it particularly when a partner is violent. Women also have the legal right to divorce in Islam, however interpretations of the religious mandates are often a result of cultural perceptions and within the Pakistani society have led to attitudes that make it very difficult for a woman to even consider ending a violent relationship. Women tend to believe that they would commit a sin by dissolving even an abusive marriage.[16]

Lack of Awareness and Legal Provisions

Many victims in Pakistan remain unaware of the crime being committed against them in the form of marital rape. The idea of consent of a wife remains unacknowledged, as it is expected of her to satisfy the sexual desires of her husband whenever and however he pleases.

The Pakistan Penal Code, in section 375, provides the comprehensive definition of rape:

  1. Rape: A man is said to commit rape who has sexual intercourse with a woman under circumstances falling under any of the five following descriptions,

(i) Against her will.

(ii) Without her consent

(iii) With her consent, when the consent has been obtained by putting her in fear of death or of hurt,

(iv) With her consent, when the man knows that he is not married to her and that the consent is given because she believes that the man is another person to whom she is or believes herself to be married; or

(v) With or without her consent when she is under sixteen years of age.[17]

Although not mentioned explicitly, in principle it can be said the marital rape is criminalized in Pakistan but this information in not common public knowledge, which gives rise to a lot of confusion on police’s and judiciary’s part. Moreover, most cases of marital rape go unreported.

No Reliable Statistics

According to the Aurat Foundation in 2012 an estimated number of 820 rapes and gang rapes were reported in Pakistan but a distinction between marital rape could not be drawn from these reported cases.[18] The statistics for overall rape in Pakistan are not accurate let alone the statistics for marital rape, which is hardly ever reported. The sphere of sex within a marriage is considered an extremely private matter, thus publicizing one’s bedroom life is regarded as a strong taboo in a conservative society like Pakistan. The aspect of shame that accompanies with reporting marital rape hinders many women in bringing this issue forward even to their own family members in the first place.

Effects on the Victim

Marital rape was also found to be associated with depression, as it may lead to a feeling of degradation, negative self image and cause shame, guilt and fear which are known predisposing factors for depression. Some women with history of marital rape report flashbacks, sexual dysfunction, and emotional pain for years after the violence.[19]

Marital rape may be even more depressing than rape by a stranger as victims of marital rape may experience additional trauma of betrayal from their own partner. Intimate sexual violence can be significantly related to poorer physical and mental health conditions.[20] Many victims suffer pre traumatic paralysis and/or dissociation—that is, conditions at the time of trauma that render them unable to protest or resist.[21]

This lack of resistance at times might be taken as consent whereas the victims are undergoing a process of detachment as a coping mechanism because they are unable to escape the circumstance they are in.


Conclusions and Recommendations

Marital rape is a serious crime and a social problem that needs to be addressed. Rape within marriage is not infrequent but the lack of sufficient data in Pakistan fails to show the severity of the matter. Under these circumstances it becomes increasingly difficult to reach out to the victims who often choose to remain silent on the pretext of family honor and morality.

How can things change? 

  • NGOs that serve as mediators between the unaware victim and the legal authorities should be formulated. These NGOs should enlighten the victim with possible legal actions that can be taken. Organizations like Aurat Foundation, Shirkat Gah, Homenet Pakistan, War Against Rape and ActionAid are already working with victims of rape, domestic violence and abuse in Pakistan. These NGOs can expand their work to include the area of marital rape. They can create awareness, and empower women through skills and financial support so they can gain independence from their abusive husbands. The state also needs to support the work of these NGOs by providing them necessary funds, infrastructure and cross-sectoral communication required for their work, for instance with medical centers at the local level.
  • A clear division between stranger rape and marital rape needs to be drawn within the legal framework. Punishment for both the cases should be made more severe and stricter.
  • The government must adopt innovative and effective ways of collecting data on violence against women. In order to improve and encourage reporting of such violence, there needs to be a demonstration of successful cases of criminalization and penalization of perpetrators. The judicial system in collaboration with the bureaucracy needs to build public confidence on the rule of law and justice, particularly for victims of sexual abuse and rape.
  • Religious reforms need to be brought about that highlight the significant status of the wife as an independent individual and not just a mere object. Religious leaders and community leaders have an important role to play here.
  • Parents should provide an encouraging environment for their daughters to speak up against crimes like these. Empowering girls and women will have multiple positive impacts on the Pakistani economic and sociopolitical system and that empowerment needs to begin at home. Information campaigns, the news media and entertainment platforms—all need to pledge alliance to the cause of curbing violence against women and this can come through government-led initiatives but also public-private collaborations.
  • Curriculum reform: Boys and girls alike need to be sensitized about the role of women in society, their economic and social contribution through their formal education. Civic education that promotes women as dignified members of society that need to be respected and supported needs to be developed across all education levels through seminars, workshops and as part of their mainstream academic programs. Non-formal education programs that promote women as individuals that have economic, social and political rights need to be expanded with support from the public sector, private sector and civil society organizations.


About the author

Neesa Abbas is co-editor of Student’s Quarterly and is currently a student of MPhil Public Policy at CPPG. Her research interests include identity politics, social activism, institutional reforms, and women & minority rights.



Ali, F.A., Israr, S.M., Ali, B.S. et al. Association of various reproductive rights, domestic violence and marital rape with depression among Pakistani women. BMC Psychiatry 9, 77 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-244X-9-77

Anderson, Michelle J. “Negotiating sex.” S. Cal. L. Rev. 78 (2004): 1401.

Bergen, Raquel Kennedy. “Marital Rape: New Research and Directions. National Online Resource Center On Violence Against Women.” (2006).

Cahill, Ann J. Rethinking rape. Cornell University Press, (2001).

Hofeller, Kathleen H. Battered women, shattered lives. Palo Alto, CA: R & E Research Associates, 1983.

Mandal, Saptarshi. “The impossibility of marital rape: Contestations around marriage, sex, violence and the law in contemporary India.” Australian Feminist Studies 29, no. 81 (2014): 255-272.

McCaughey, Martha. Real knockouts: The physical feminism of women’s self-defense. NYU Press, 1997.

Ganju, Deepika, William Finger, Shireen J. Jejeebhoy, Vijaya Nidadavolu, K. G. Santhya, Iqbal Shah, Shyam Thapa, and Ina Warriner. “Forced sexual relations among married young women in developing countries.” (2004).

Pakistan Penal Code. “Protection of Women”, Penal Code Pakistan (1860) http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/legislation/1860/actXLVof1860.html

Report. “Violence Against Women in Colombia”, OMCT. (2003) http://www.omct.org/files/2004/07/2409/eng_2003_04_colombia.pdf

Whisnant, Rebecca. “Feminist perspectives on rape.” (2009).

Yllö, Kersti, and M. G. Torres. “Understanding Marital Rape in Global Context.” Marital Rape: Consent, Marriage, and Social Change in Global Context. Oxford (2016): 1-8.

Zakar, Rubeena. Intimate partner violence against women and its implications for women’s health in Pakistan. disserta Verlag, 2012.

Zakar, Rubeena, Muhammad Zakria Zakar, and Alexander Krämer. “Voices of strength and struggle: Women’s coping strategies against spousal violence in Pakistan.” Journal of interpersonal violence 27, no. 16 (2012): 3268-3298.

Exploring the Possibilities of Peace between India and Pakistan

Sustainable peace between India and Pakistan is imperative for the regional stability, security and economic development of South Asia. Therefore, it is a profound necessity to explore avenues where both countries can engage and mutually benefit. In a globalized world, marked by economic integration and connectivity, it is a paradoxical dilemma that despite sharing common history, socio-economic similarities and geographical proximity, South Asia is the least integrated region in the world.

Pakistan and India can engage at multiple fronts and enhance people-to-people contact to sustain development and peace. But no matter how extensive a framework is created for exploring peace between Pakistan and India, if Kashmir is left out, a workable peace process and cooperation will be a far cry. The geopolitical contention demands a resolution to achieve sustainable peace. Thus, Kashmir sits at the core of any possibility of peace between Pakistan and India.

Hostility and lack of trust between India and Pakistan has a historical context. IThe two countries have fought multiple wars, experienced stand-offs, engaged in skirmishes and military aggressions. However, nothing conclusive has been achieved, rather both parties have paid hefty human and economic costs of the wars. As a result of hostility post-independence, aggression was not only limited to military actions but has also leaked onto the larger fabric of society in both countries. As a result, social and political systems radicalized, and led to cultural hostility, propagandist media campaigns, lack of economic integration and trust, border clashes and securitization of trans-boundary water resources (Javaid 2020).

The history holds witness to the realities of reconciliations and establishment of peace among conflicting and warring nations. Europe has fought multiple wars throughout its recorded history culminating in two World Wars. However, realizing the economic and human cost of the wars, European leaders found common grounds for sustainable peace for integration, economic interdependence and socio-cultural development. The Cold War was marked by disputes, proxy wars, conflicts, and polarization of global politics, but even under these conflicted scenarios the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. established economic and cultural linkages.

Defining and Contextualizing Peace between India and Pakistan

To explore solutions for peace between Pakistan and India, it is important to define peace, and the way its understanding can impact conflict resolution. Peace can be either ‘negative’ or ‘positive’ (Galtung 1996). Whereby, ‘negative peace’ is the ‘absence of violence’ and ‘positive peace’ refers to the integration of society and absence of ‘structural violence’ through measures which will prevent conflict (Galtung 1969). Johan Galtung, the principal founder of Peace and Conflict Studies, proposed comprehensive frameworks, both theoretical and conceptual, to understand causal relations between peace and violence. The peace process is not a static result of some events; it is a process to eliminate structural violence by understanding various conditionalities and social externalities.

Thus, for exploring peace, identification of the causal factors of violence across the socio-political spectrum is an imperative. Kashmir is the primary cause of ensuing violence and the conflicts that the post-independence Indo-Pak history entails. Besides, the systematic and structural violence that arose from perpetual conflicts has gotten ingrained in the national psyche that manifests in national narratives and state’s actions.

Identifying the Causes of Violence and Conflict between Pakistan and India

Peace building and conflict resolution between Pakistan and India has several layers to it, which are complex and  demand comprehensive and integrated approaches. It will be prudent to identify the causal factors which instigate violence and perpetuate the historical conflicts between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan and India were impacted deeply as colonies of the British, which led to deep rooted inequalities and violence among political and social systems. Even after the Indian subcontinent gained independence, violence based on class, religion, and ideologies continued. The violence before and at the time of independence, set a stage for permanent future rivalry between Pakistan and India (Paul 2005). Furthermore, the ‘Partition of India’ epitomized ‘identity politics’ (Ahmed 2002). For Muslims it was for the sake of a separate homeland, and for the Unionists, a united India and independence from the British Raj. At its inception, for Pakistan, the driving narrative and ideological force was religion, while India’s ideological orientation was secular. The Unionists resisted the division, and viewed Pakistan as a defaulted unit.

Although India and Pakistan share a common history, have cultural congruence and socio-economic similarities, the narrative that evolved and grew out of Indian and Pakistani ideological orientations shaped the countries’ respective nationalisms which were distinguishing and had both nations’ daggers drawn. Pakistan’s nationalism developed around religion but Pakistan’s ‘religious homogeneity’ stands in stark contrast to its ethno-linguistic diversity (Halai et al. 2017). Whereas, constitutionally and initially Indian nationalism was constructed upon secular foundations. But this changed after Gandhi was murdered by a right-wing Hindu nationalist, Nathuram V. Godse. Though subsequent governments in India have tried enough to keep up its secular profile, but the social fabric has been radicalized with the passage of time. Recently, with the rise of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the political structures and systems have been radicalized enough to transform Indian nationalism from secular to Hindu.

Politics, on the other hand, is a major cause of stalemate between India and Pakistan. Political parties incorporate the Kashmir narrative into their respective agenda to manipulate voters. The Kashmir issue has received so much propaganda that now it has become a part of political maneuverings and strategies. Socio-political systems of both countries have internalized hostility against each other, for one reason or another. And, there is a significant role of historical events in conferring legitimacy to the politics of communal and national hostilities (Ahmed 2002).

Under the doctrines of ‘necessity’ an2d ‘balance of power’ Pakistan and India have militarized heavily to create deterrence, and to maintain a strategic equilibrium in the region. Nuclear capable neighbors spend a considerable part of their GDPs on defense, despite the fact that the majority of their populations live below the poverty line. This is a lost opportunity; if the region had not been embroiled in geopolitical and geostrategic conflicts, it would have been economically integrated, connected, industrialized, and developed.

Areas of Engagement and Solutions for Peace between India and Pakistan

Pakistan and India can engage at political, economic, social, and strategic fronts for regional cooperation in trade and security. Consequently, shared security and strategic collaboration will catalyze confidence building, which may then create a sound diplomatic space for Kashmir.

Nuclear security, trade and economic links, water-sharing and flashpoints like Kashmir, Siachen, and Sir Creek (Pan 2022) must be included in the national narratives to internalize the necessity of peace and dialogue at the government and public levels. The traditional positions of the governments of India and Pakistan are not likely to provide a basis of settlement (Rizvi 1994). Thus, the process of peace must be an integrated approach in which not only should governments engage, but also populations, business communities, civil societies and security stakeholders must be involved for the resolution of longstanding geopolitical conflicts in the region.

It is believed that with the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, Kashmir, according to India, is technically its internal affair. However this move by India does not resolve the Kashmir dispute nor does it make any progress in terms of involving the Kashmiris in determining their own future.  Nonetheless, in order to improve the welfare of Kashmiris, the region must be developed through joint-efforts. However, the fact remains that peace can only find its way when systematic and structural violence will subside in Kashmir. For India and Pakistan Kashmir might be a matter of strategic concerns and territorial sovereignty, but for Kashmiris it has become a humanitarian crisis. Therefore, prior to engagement in other areas, the Kashmir issue ought to be resolved holistically first.

It is less likely for the states to go to war, when they are economically integrated and interdependent. In the international arena, trade has become a vector of development and cooperation. South Asia can benefit from regional cooperation and integration under the auspices of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), spearheaded by China. The global order is now increasingly driven by geo-economics; trade and economic activities are more important to establish relations between nations. However, the political ideology and security dynamics have mostly over-shadowed economic relations between India and Pakistan (Gul 2002).

The role of education is vital in ensuring the prevalence of awareness and deradicalization of the populations (Halai et al. 2017). Deradicalization of politics and society will translate into improvement in social justice and socio-political inclusion. Besides, literate and effectively educated masses will lean towards liberal resolutions of conflicts amounting to integrated and structural peace. It may sound simplistic, but illiteracy in Pakistan and India has been one of the primary causes for radical politics and protraction of conflicts. A joint effort in education can prove seminal for bringing a paradigm shift in both countries.

Kashmir is held hostage to the nationalisms of Pakistan and India (Majid 2019). Concept of nationalism needs to be watered down from extremes to a level of moderate understanding. With this, politics will be used as a service, instead of an instrument to cater vested interests at the cost of issues like Kashmir and regional stability.

The media is an ‘excessive stimulus’ that shapes the public mind by focusing their coverage on any issue (Karim 2020). The media holds power to shape public opinion. It is stated as the ‘fourth pillar’ of democracy, therefore, it can highly influence public opinion by creating a space where the idea of comprehensive peace between India and Pakistan is encouraged. Besides the conventional media, the entertainment industry (Bollywood, Lollywood) are also channels for cultural exchange. The entertainment industry can create a shared space for art and further add to diplomatic resolution of conflicts as a subtle but viable soft-power.

Religious tourism, has so far, proved quite effective and practical to explore peace, largely because of popular support and political will.

Sports, especially cricket, serves as a remarkable medium for cultural exchange and people-to-people contact in the Sub-continent. It also gives rise to many economic opportunities and is therefore a tool for diplomatic engagement. At multiple instances, cricket has been used by the leaders to ease political and diplomatic deadlocks. For instance, in 1987, then President of Pakistan, General Zia-ul-Haq visited India for an Indo-Pak cricket match. The ulterior motive was to deflect the mounting pressure on India by Russia during the Soviet-Afghan conundrum of 1980s. In a similar fashion, in 2004, the President of Pakistan General Pervaiz Musharraf visited India for a cricket match, to discuss the Kashmir issue. These diplomatic endeavors were termed as ‘cricket diplomacy.’ Thus, sports can play an important role in normalizing ties between India and Pakistan.


Conflicts only protract when there is a lack of willingness for resolution among the actors. An absence of will reflects across the political, economic and strategic dimensions of state affairs. Therefore, to achieve a sustainable peace process, an integrated approach is needed in addition to the general will of the actors involved. Indo-Pak relations and conflicts have cultural and historical nuances, which require profound insights into the nature of conflict and violence to determine the right peace building methodologies. For Pakistan and India, all sorts of conflicts and issues boil down to Kashmir. Thus, peace between these neighboring countries is tied to a plausible resolution of the Kashmir dispute. Keeping Kashmir as a principal area of peace discussion both the countries can engage across a wide spectrum of opportunities and possibilities. Peace can be explored along the lines of politics, education, sports and regional economic integration through robust trade and comprehensive foreign policies that must be flexible enough to accommodate changing regional and international dynamics.

About the Author

Muhammad Hamza Sultan is a lawyer and currently a student of MPhil Public Policy at CPPG. His research interests include South-Asia, defense, water security, climate change, development, governance and civil services reforms in Pakistan.

Hamza Sultan is an MPhil student at CPPG.



Ahmed, Ishtiaq. 2000. “The 1947 Partition of India: A Paradigm for Pathological Politics in India and Pakistan.” Asian Ethnicity 3 (March 1, 2002): 9–28.

Diehl, Paul F. 2016. “Exploring Peace: Looking Beyond War and Negative Peace.” International Studies Quarterly 60, no. 1 (March 1, 2016): 1–10.

Galtung, Johan. 1996. Peace by Peaceful Means: Peace and Conflict, Development and   Civilization. Oslo: London; Thousand Oaks, CA: International Peace Research Institute; Sage Publications.

Galtung, Johan. 1969. “Violence, Peace, and Peace Research.” Journal of Peace Research 6, no. 3 (1969): 167–91.

Gul, Saima. 2007. “Assessing the Role of Trade in Promoting Peace: Pakistan and India in Perspective.” Thesis, UNIVERSITY OF PESHAWAR PAKISTAN, 2007.

Halai, Anjum, and Naureen Durrani. 2017. “Teachers as Agents of Peace? Exploring Teacher  Agency in Social Cohesion in Pakistan.” Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, May 23, 2017.

Javaid, Prof Dr Umbreen, and Naseem Sahrai. 2020. “Conflict Management between Pakistan  and India: Challenges and Failures.” South Asian Studies 31, no. 1 (September 17, 2020).

Karim, Javeria, and Dr. Shahid Hussain. 2020. “An Analysis of Viewers’ Perception Regarding Role of News Media in Promoting Peace Between Pakistan and India.” Journal of Peace,         Development & Communication 03, no. 02 (2020).

Majid, Abdul, and Mahboob Hussain. 2016. “KASHMIR: A Conflict between India and Pakistan.” South Asian Studies, June, 2016.

Pan, Esther. 2022. “INDIA-PAKISTAN: Peace Talks.” Council on Foreign Relations. Accessed March 3, 2022. https://www.cfr.org/backgrounder/india-pakistan-peace-talks.

Paul, Thazha. 2005. The India-Pakistan Conflict: An Enduring Rivalry (Cambridge: Cambridge  University Press, 2005), 33

Rizvi, Hasan Askari. 1994. “PEACEFUL RESOLUTION OF THE KASHMIR DISPUTE.” Strategic Studies 17, no. 1/2 (1994): 119–32.

Ruisheng, Cheng. 2004. “On the Peaceful Resolution of the Kashmir Problem.” China Report 40    (July 1, 2004): 271–82.

Pak – Afghan trade – Taliban takeover, a blessing in disguise?

The Pak – Afghan trade relationship has been obfuscated due to political and economic turmoil caused by regional instability and international interventions. The key drivers of this tense relationship has been territorial sovereignty concerns, security, geopolitical dynamics, cross-border ties, and trade. Despite having means for developing a sustainable economy, the instability in Afghanistan has led the country to an economic downturn. Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan in 2021 the country’s economic condition has plunged into further crisis and uncertainty. This article addresses if US interventions were the only reason for poor trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan, wh2at element accelerated the trade since Taliban takeover, will it be a permanent rise or does it come with its own repercussions in terms of taxes, cross-border drug export. It also considers if the devalued currency of Afghanistan can be capable enough to maintain imports particularly with international restrictions on engaging with the Taliban government.

The Taliban seized power of Afghanistan mid-August as the last of the US-led coalition troops that had been supporting the previous government pulled out. But apart from a few countries, the broader international community has not yet recognized the current government. Billions of dollars of funding, assets and loans earmarked for government agencies and development and humanitarian services remain frozen.[1]

During the time of such a humanitarian crisis women and children are also exposed to extreme trauma, uncertainties and disrupted daily life where they are unable to perform day to day activities. For war ridden countries like Afghanistan that depend on aid and NGOs for healthcare, education and such facilities, the US exit became more than some political change. “The vulnerable segments of the society like children and women who aren’t allowed to work and earn a living for themselves are in dire need of assistance. Foreign aid largely funds all the food and healthcare facilities in Afghanistan. Since the exit of the US, access to healthcare and delivery of good quality food has been nearly impossible. Some international donors are looking for ways to hand out funds through non-governmental channels, but that has taken time”. [2]

On 10 December, donors agreed to release US$280 million to the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF and the World Food Programme to directly deliver essential health services and food assistance to more than 10 million people in the country.[3]

Afghanistan is a highly cash-reliant society. In 2020, nearly 85% of the adult population did not have a bank account, according to the World Bank. In September 2021, the UN warned that Afghanistan may face an economic collapse and resultantly a humanitarian crisis, partly because of its liquidity crisis but also due to a decline in foreign trade.[4]

It would be unfair to blame the Taliban solely for the current economic crisis since the last governments themselves were unable to formulate sound economic policies. The policymaking process had been overshadowed with local political conflicts, foreign intrusions motivated by vested interests and border politics affecting the trade and economy directly. Apart from this, being heavily dependent on international aid created a stagnation in the economic growth and also generated a dubious image of Afghanistan as a global trade partner.

Afghanistan is a landlocked country that depends on transit routes for trade and also generates revenue from these routes through border charges and customs fees. But these trade routes have always been a reason for regional conflict, smuggling, loot and Taliban interventions, which is why it has never been able to generate enough revenue to impact the economic development of the country.

Pakistan and Afghanistan face their share of security, economic and political challenges and over the years, both countries have seen some of the worst economic shocks in terms of Taliban interventions and other international restrictions and discriminations. The War Against Terror focused primarily on  Afghanistan has cost Pakistan a huge amount in terms of economic losses, regional instability, ethnic conflicts and an overall reputation of being unsade at international levels. During the last 13 years, the direct and indirect cost incurred by Pakistan due to incidents of terrorism amounted to US$ 102.51 billion equivalent to 8264.40 billion Pakistani Rupees.[5]

With the exit of US military troops from Afghanistan, the sitting federal government, unable to face the mess, escaped Afghanistan too, leaving behind the country in a fragile state with the Taliban in charge. As soon as the initial taking-over mayhem settled down, the Taliban who initially were only generating income through opium production, intercity bribes and other illegal sources took over the country’s economy and opened Afghanistan to international trade. Small businesses that once had to pay bribes to pass through various borders, soon were generating more as the mobility of trade was free with the Taliban imposing a ‘good ruler’ image.

During 2010, the two countries negotiated a robust Afghanistan-Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) with urging from the United States and support from the United Nations. “The agreement enacted counter-smuggling initiatives; reiterated a commitment to strengthening both countries’ customs facilities; enabled them to use each other’s rail, road, and airport infrastructure on certain routes; and provided for the one-way transfer of Afghan goods to India via the Wagah border crossing.”[6] In practice, however, interviewees from the trade and business communities on both sides concurred that compliance with the agreement is still lacking. Despite guaranteed access on set routes throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan, interviewees reported, both sides have curtailed this movement such that traders have to stop in the first major cities they reach after crossing the border—Jalalabad and Kandahar in Afghanistan and Peshawar and Quetta in Pakistan. “Afghan traders are thus unable to transit Pakistan to India as outlined in the agreement, a friction point between the two sides. Afghan traders also complain of costly documentation they are required to show at the port of Karachi and when crossing the border, over and above what is necessary under APTTA. Traders from both sides highlight corruption among border officials and police, who often demand bribes from those transiting.”[7]

Since the Taliban takeover, the export mobility through Baluchistan to Kabul and Kandahar has been accelerating, with Pak Afghan trade exceeding 50% than what it was before. Locals expressed their satisfaction over the current trading situation. “Earlier, the Afghan officials at the border and also at different check posts demanded bribes ranging between 10,000 to 20,000 Pakistani Rupees ($60 to $120 approximately) to allow our vehicles in their respective areas, Now, in last 20 days, no one has asked me to pay a bribe at the border or any check post”, said Abdullah, a truck driver from Khyber district.[8] Along with much better trade mobility, there has been less smuggling, the local businesses in Afghanistan have been able to gain profits without cuts and overall, there has been a sense of trust in the trading sector.

The Taliban proposed security for businesses, a hurdle free border, a sticker visa, reduction of taxes and revision of the previous policies. However, the Durand Line fencing is still a dispute that has been addressed by Pakistan but the Taliban, considering it a British colonial division, still disagree with it. Over the past years, this border has been one of the key modes of transportation, refugee influx and other territorial disputes leading to frequent skirmishes between Taliban and Pakistan security forces. Although these closures generate major losses for the predominantly Pashtun trading community, they can also revitalize lucrative smuggling routes: illicit trade reportedly tripled after routes were closed in 2017.[9]

The number of cross-border terror attacks from Afghanistan fell from 82 in 2019 to just 11 in 2020. Fencing of the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan has been initiated by Pakistan but this initiative has been met with a lot of criticism. According to locals the fences have had an adverse impact on many families that live across the borders and has not only led to numerous farmers selling their lands but has also affected many traders.[10]

There is a need for demand-based policies and implementation of regulations that will successfully bring peace and long-term security to the region. These are still under consideration as a peaceful economic cooperation between these two countries will help in connecting South Asian and Central Asian economies in return this bilateral trade will boost employment, better currency value and domestic economic stability.


About the author

Nimra Zahid Mir is an MPhilstudent at CPPG. Her research interests include Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), education, leadership and institutional development.



Basit, Abdul. “Pakistan- Afghanistan Border Fence, a Step in the Right Direction.” Aljazeera, February 25, 2021. https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2021/2/25/the-pak-afghan-border-fence-is-a-step-in-the-right-direction.

“Home – Ministry of Commerce | Government of Pakistan.” Ministry of commerce, Government of Pakistan, 2010. https://www.commerce.gov.pk/wp-content/uploads/pdf/APTTA.pdf.

“Impact of War in Afghanistan and Ensuing Terrorism on Pakistan’s Economy.” Ministry of Finance, Government of Pakistan , March 6, 2015. http://www.finance.gov.pk/survey/chapters_15/Annex_IV_War_on_Terror.pdf.

Jhanmal, Zabiullah. “Smuggling from Pakistan to Afghanistan Tripled.” Tolo news, March 13, 2017. https://tolonews.com/business/smuggling-pakistan-afghanistan-tripled.

Loft, Philip. “Research Briefings.” https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-9343/#:~:text=It%20is%20highly%20dependent%20on,also%20a%20cash%2Dreliant%20society., April 1, 2022.

Sajid, Islam Ud Din. “Pakistan, Afghanistan Trade Soars Following Taliban Takeover .” Anadolu agency, September 15, 2021. https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/pakistan-afghanistan-trade-soars-following-taliban-takeover/2365139.

Threlkeld, Elizabeth, and Grace Easterly. “Afghanistan-Pakistan Ties and Future Stability in Afghanistan.” United States Institute of Peace, November 1, 2021. https://www.usip.org/publications/2021/08/afghanistan-pakistan-ties-and-future-stability-afghanistan.

Mutual Tolerance Approach and Constructive Social Conflict for Pakistan

Constructive Social Conflict is a theory that emerges from sociology and is about embracing multiple frames of reference and standpoints. This theory is being discussed in light of the rise of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a religio-political party whose specification of concrete religious rhetoric has led to instability in the country. Pakistan is a country that has become a victim of its own policies like the inclusion of Section 295-C pertaining to blasphemy in the Pakistan Penal Code in 1984 whose punishment was eventually raised to the death penalty. Since then, on many occasions, this law has been abused because it is hard to challenge it. Extremism may emerge in confined societies where an individual’s identity whether national, ethnic, or sectarian is determined by the state. In such situations, a social conflict between groups may develop, which is usually catastrophic. Louis Kriesberg and Bruce W. Dayton, coined the concept of constructive social conflict for societies (Kriesberg & Dayton, 2012) arguing that social conflicts are natural and universal, and can be beneficial. They can be beneficial because otherwise, exploitative hierarchies and adverse public conceptions remain uncontested slowing down societal change in the long term. To remain beneficial though, they need to be constructive. Constructive social conflict preserves relationships and maximizes mutually acceptable outcomes while at the same time minimizing violence or anarchy. However, constructive social conflicts need mutual tolerance among different sets of individuals, who apart from their differences focus on mutually beneficial outcomes. The 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis is a great example of a high-end international conflict that emerged in the wake of the Cold War and was managed diplomatically which otherwise could have ended in a full-blown nuclear war. For the past few years, Pakistan has witnessed a continuous increase in conflicts be it social, political or religious. These conflicts arose due to the underlying societal differences which are manipulated through various means, causing destruction. This puts the integrity of the country at stake, emphasizing the dire need to develop mutual tolerance based upon various methods of constructive social conflict.

Conflicts are inevitable in any society, and somewhat essential for it as well due to horizontal inequalities persisting in a society. For Pakistan, apart from national identity, sectarian and ethnic identities play a huge role in shaping the social narrative. Since its independence, Pakistan, plunged into various types of socio-political conflicts, and these continue to manifest in society today. There is a rise in violent social conflict that has paralysed the state, along with impacting Pakistan’s international relations and image..

In Punjab the rise of religious intolerance is also evident. The majority religious community in Punjab are the Sunni with Barelvis as the largest sub-sect, who have many religious and in effect sectarian organizations. In 1974, the state gave them space in mainstream politics, hoping to break the extreme reactions that materialized in the form of anti-Ahmadiyya movements in 1953 and 1974 respectively. But instead of dispersing their extreme ideas, narratives, and violent rhetoric, they became part of the mainstream politics with direct access to state institutions. Further, weak governance and socio-economic neglect led once peaceful Southern Punjab into chaos. This indirect means of inclusion and support to different religious groups escalated extremism which mainly targeted minorities like Ahmedis, Christians and Hindus while some groups like the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) primarily targeted members of the Shia sect.

TLP is one of the many religious groups operating in the country. It rose to prominence after a shift in policy where mainly Deobandi and Wahabi groups were restricted owing to their involvement in extremist and violent activities while the top leadership of Jamait ud Dawah (JuD), faced trials on terror-financing charges. This shift created a void that was filled by many Barelvi parties. TLP was led by Khadim Hussain Rizvi who gained quick influence due to his charisma and religious narrative. In 2009, Aasiyah Bibi, a Christian woman, was convicted of blasphemy and sentenced to death by hanging. This was widely celebrated, but the then Governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, criticized the law and lent open support to Aasiyah Bibi. This led to his murder by his own security guard, Mumtaz Qadri, in 2011. Qadri became an immediate hero and was widely hailed, demonstrating the majority’s world-view. However, state machinery boldly put the murder of the Governor on trial. Khadim Hussain grasped the popular view of society that emanated with the verdict of execution of Mumtaz Qadri, and spoke in a way that appealed to the masses. His simple abusive language reflected the anger and aggression present in society and gained him support of the aggressive majority. His constant provocation and extensive media coverage brought him prominence and his party into the mainstream. In 2017, TLP under the leadership of Khadim Rizvi used the notions of blasphemy, and put two major cities Islamabad and Rawalpindi on halt pressurizing the state to accept their terms. The execution of Mumtaz Qadri proved to be critical for the rising popularity of TLP. TLP manipulated religious beliefs, interlinking sectarian and ethnic factors to further gain popularity in Central and North Punjab. A huge demonstration that reflected the ideas of destructive conflict put the whole nation and state structure to its knees.

Its stance on the execution of Mumtaz Qadri paved the way for its presence in the political structure in the 2018 general elections. Although they just won two provincial assembly seats, still they emerged as the fifth-largest party with 2.2 million votes nationwide, whereas in Punjab it emerged as the third most popular party. This indicates the tendency of such parties to use religious indicators to gather a massive number of people who share such extreme discourses in the name of religion. The Government of Pakistan, keeping its soft image, refrains from going against such groups. But, a conflictual approach to acquiring a short-term peace agreement works against the government and makes it more vulnerable in face of such extreme violence. State’s approaches of acquiescence and pressure, instead of instigating mutual tolerance, further facilitates destructive social conflict. Lately, a huge protest was staged by TLP to remove the French Ambassador in Pakistan tarnishing the country’s worldwide image, while putting a question mark on the integrity of the state. The protests caused casualties with some police officers losing their lives but no serious action was taken against the perpetrators. The negotiations included senior clerics from the Barelvi sect, and a lack of punitive action gave a message of acceptance of violence and a validation of extremism in society. The government’s approval of giving a green light to TLP to participate in the general election, removing the group from the status of banned outfits by legalizing them, and freeing the leader of TLP indicates the terms of negotiation that were held in secret by the Government.

Pakistan is a diverse society that cannot be taken hostage by a single group again and again, and further provided validation by the government. According to the general perception, several factors help with acquiring lower-level recruits and building popular support, like crass inequality and poverty. Most of such organizations emerged from Central and Northern Punjab which are economically better off than the rest of the country, but still where the amalgamation of poverty and sectarian indicators gave rise to destructive conflict. Under such a scenario, there is a need for devising constructive social conflict which highlights the stance of mutual tolerance. Constructive social conflict relies on preserving relationships, and in minimizing reliance on violence in achieving satisfactory outcomes. Tolerance is one aspect that is diminishing quickly because of the  continuous use of destructive methods to achieve personal goals while challenging the state.

Religion can be easily manipulated, especially in societies where it is an important part of culture and where various divisions exist in society whether class, ethnicity or sect. Instead, constructive social conflict demands a constructive education system, and inclusive policies and structures to cope  with such extremism on a neutral ground. Maintaining the sanctity of the state and its institutions is important. Thus, negotiating rather than holding such groups accountable, only encourages other extremist organizations to challenge the government. Inclusion and developing a broad outlook is a prerequisite to tackle extremism, and mutual tolerance is directly related to inclusive policies.

Social conflicts are natural and important to shed exploitative hierarchies within the system. But, this can also be done when individuals gain a sense of mutual tolerance regarding each other’s identity. Together they can pinpoint the manipulative or exploitative factors that are dividing them instead of grappling with themselves, putting the state on the stage for international embarrassment and sanctions.

“A social conflict arises when two or more persons or groups manifest the belief that they have incompatible objectives”. (Louis Kriesberg and Bruce W. Dayton, 2012). Conflicts between groups do not exist independently of the way members of both groups view their relationship. Thus, for both state and extremist groups’ in Pakistan, conflicts are manifest in the fact that they have incompatible objectives. However, it is the state that has sponsored extremist groups in different points of time for its own political purposes and thus their relationship is based upon gaining mutual interests. Further, the state is in constant struggle to gain legitimacy from international forums but at the same time finds itself in an internal clash that threatens anarchy or a larger civil crisis. For example, the TLP relies upon threats to modernization or Westernization to maintain solidarity among its supporters, while labeling those running the state as in league with the West.

Under such circumstances, mutual tolerance is a need that can be induced with the help of civil society. Civil society is a crucial player with an unbiased and neutral stance that has the ability to push for a balance between two opposing groups in a multicultural, multiethnic and multi-religious framework. For this, a sense of unity is required apart from what differentiates the two parties such as the rule of law, the integrity of state or peace in society. Mutual tolerance works only when people can shed the affirmations that they relate themselves with and can conceive a bigger cause. When problems lie deep in society, a solution is needed that can penetrate the grass-roots, and inclusive education can do that. Change can be achieved only when the state provides a ground where freedom of expression is encouraged along with critical thinking. An education that is not based on mere schooling is the demand of our time, so people can break out of their illusioned world and learn and embrace different dimensions. Mutual tolerance and development can be achieved when the population feels safe to question the manipulative elements of society and in turn, people can explore and understand these arguments instead of being limited to their preconceived world view.


About the Author:

Sunmbal Javed, is an MPhil student at CPPG. She completed her bachelors in Public Administration from School of Governance and Society, UMT. Her research interests lie in governance, social disorder and conflicts with focus on interstate dynamics.         


AlJazeera. 2016. “Pakistan hangs Mumtaz Qadri for murder of Salman Taseer.” ALJAZEERA, February 29, 2016. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2016/2/29/pakistan-hangs-mumtaz-qadri-for-murder-of-salman-taseer.

BBC. 2016. “Salman Taseer murder: Pakistan hangs Mumtaz Qadri.” February 29, 2016. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-35684452.

History.com. 2010. “Cuban Missile Crisis.” History. https://www.history.com/topics/cold-war/cuban-missile-crisis.

Kriesberg, Louis, and Bruce W. Dayton. 2012. Constructive

The Phenomenon of Globalization

Globalization is a process that encompasses the causes, course, and consequences of transnational and transcultural integration of human and non-human activities.” (Al Rodhan, 2006, p. 5)

It is vital to have a broad perspective while developing a definition of globalization in order for it to be as concise yet thorough as possible. Globalization is not something that should be debated and then disregarded. It is, rather, a process, a current that has had a long-term impact on communities, cultures, and economies. It is the result of global, transnational, and transcultural exchanges that have occurred throughout human history.

This intermingling has transpired through activities that are both human and non-human in nature. Human activities encompass the linguistic, cultural, economic, and political aspects of human life (along with many others) that are a part of the human and social sphere. It is also important to include non-human activities, which incorporate, but are not limited to, the spread of bacteria and non-human diseases such as bird flu, as well as natural disasters such as tornadoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes. As all of these issues impact human and global security, experts suggest a truly comprehensive definition must address them (Al Rodhan, 2006, pp. 5–6).

Furthermore, it is critical to acknowledge that globalization is not a force that must be stopped; rather, it is a process that impacts each of us in a variety of ways, both to our advantage and to our harm.

Nevertheless, globalization brings with it certain merits and demerits; some countries benefit greatly from the fruits of globalization while others have severe repercussions on their economies and communities.

One can highlight several advantages and disadvantages brought about by globalization. The advent of the Internet can be seen as one of the major contributors to bringing people closer, therefore spurring a network of communication across nations, territorial and geographic borders. Furthermore, globalization has made access to markets more viable and efficient. In economic terms, globalization gives firms a competitive edge by allowing them to have access to raw resources in low-cost regions. Organizations may also take advantage of cheaper labor costs in developing nations while using the technological skills and experience of more developed economies around the world. In the course of this, consumers gain as well. Globalization, in general, lowers the cost of production. This means that businesses may provide commodities to customers at a lower price. The average cost of an item is an important factor that leads to rising living standards. In this way, consumers have the option of gaining access to a broader range of goods. The productivity of workers has increased, resulting in massive output being produced every year.

On the contrary, there are some demerits that globalization has brought with it. Capitalism, a facet of globalization, has made some of the nation’s people richer and others poorer. This has exacerbated widespread inequality, as most of the resources are now in the hands of the wealthier class. Eventually, poor communities are hurt at the expense of rich people accumulating most of the world’s wealth. Targeting cheap labor in countries like Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan helps a capitalist to generate extra amounts of surplus while exploiting labor across developing regions. Given the imperfect nature of global markets, the scales tip economic and even political influence in favor of the rich.

Beyond the sets of government policies that generate inequalities, there is something going on in the capitalist system itself, as Karl Marx (1867) analyzed in Das Kapital. Simply put, capitalists own the means of producing wealth and therefore appropriate profits from as much of the wealth as possible that society collectively produces. Capitalism produces social inequalities as a consequence of its own internal workings”(Robinson, 2017, 241).

Henceforth, this trait of accumulating massive amounts of capital needs to be checked and regulated by policymakers. Robinson does argue for a policy of a “global tax on capital”, where individuals are taxed according to their income. Financial institutions play a much greater role in distributing income equally by following a stable tax regime. The likelihood of the rich gaining massive amounts of capital is reduced, if the wealth is regulated properly through a fair taxation regime.

Although Robinson mentions taxing foundations and financial institutions, “a global tax on capital” (Robinson 2017, 256)

The notion that global capitalism is a leveling force that homogenizes and Westernizes the entire world is connected to the argument that capitalism destroys cultural identity. Finally, while capitalism does transform, and even destroy, aspects of traditional cultural life, I would argue that the most destructive global forces of cultural transformation, particularly in the developing world, come from Western secular organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, the NGO industry, and the governments of the United States and Europe. These strong institutions use “soft” and “hard” power to impose a reductionist worldview on millions of the world’s poor people.

There is a complicated connection between capitalism and culture. Competitive free-market economies have contributed to the preservation of liberty and lifted more people out of poverty than any other alternative. With that advancement has come unmistakable turbulence and hastened societal transformation. However, blaming capitalism is far simpler than addressing the underlying, but more difficult-to-identify, causes of cultural disintegration.

Capitalism has enormous cultural impacts, and it is a fallacy to believe that the market economy is neutral or that markets left to their own devices will always work out for the best. It is equally incorrect to blame capitalism for cultural degradation.

To highlight this further, globalization has made some cultures more dominant than others. For example, the supremacy of white culture over black and Asian culture. This could also be due to the fact that the whites have been colonizers for centuries and have exploited poorer nations in terms of their natural resources and labor. In the context of labor, there has been a phenomenon known as a “brain drain,” where the developed world has attracted the brightest minds from the developing world, which has resulted in the emigration of talented young individuals and robbed the poorer nations of their working class. In the case of Pakistan, an example would be international exchange programs after which students do not return back home.

The factors explaining the process of globalization can range from being economic, social, political, technological, or financial. With respect to the economic aspect, globalization is related to free markets and how they can lead to unfair distributions of wealth.

The economic side stresses the functioning of free markets, while the political side of globalization focuses on promoting democracy. In addition to this, the social side suggests ethnic violence and hatred.

The interconnectedness between conflict and globalization can be expressed in a multiple of ways. “Many view globalization as a source of, or contributing factor to, conflict and there are numerous case studies of the destabilizing impact of economic and cultural forces, radiating from the West, on local politics and culture in such places as Iran, Sierra Leone, or Indonesia (among others)”(Tidwell and Lerche 2004,47).

Globalization can influence conflict expression in a variety of ways, including disrupting local events, offering new resources to compete with, and threatening firmly held values or symbols, to mention a few.

The tale of “conflict diamonds,” in which diamonds are used to finance military activities, provides one particularly troubling example of how globalization and violence combine. Diamonds have long been regarded as precious metals. About $7.25 billion worth of rough, unpolished diamonds were traded in 1999. The market has truly become globalized.

“Polished diamonds are then exported for sale largely in Japan or the U.S. (Goreux, 2001). It is estimated that the trade in ‘conflict diamonds’ amounts to some $250 million. While only 3.5% of the total trade in diamonds, it represents a significant source of income for warring parties.In Angola and Sierra Leone, the failure of the central government, insurgency campaigns, and the lack of external funding sources have combined with the access to diamond mining regions to create a disaster. In Angola, UNITA (the rebel force led by the late Jonas Savimbi, seeking to oust the current government in Luanda) lost financial support from the U.S. government, after the end of the Cold War. To replace this funding UNITA first stockpiled diamonds and then used diamond sales to fund weapons purchases, in order to continue its war”, (Tidwell and Lerche 2004,50)

“A second example of the interplay between globalization and conflict is found in Ambon in Maluku province, Indonesia, which has been the site of sectarian violence since 1999”.(Tidwell and Lerche 2004,51).

In contrast to Sierra Leone and Angola, there is no substantial separatist movement in the country. Separatist movements are active in other parts of Indonesia, such as Aceh and Irian Jaya. Instead, the Maluku conflict reflects communal tensions between Muslims and Christians. Maluku, formerly known as the Moluccas or Spice Islands, has a sizable Christian and Muslim population. Internal migration has increased the Muslim population in recent years. In the past, colonial masters treated Christians favorably, putting them in command of the local bureaucracy and economy.

“Conflict erupted in 1999, tapping into undercurrents and led to riots, leaving hundreds dead. Since then some 5000 have died in the ensuing violence”.(Tidwell and Lerche 2004,51)

The interplay of globalization and conflict is visible to the viewer, albeit it is less spectacular than in the case of “conflict diamonds.

Human massacres have occurred in a number of African war zones, including Rwanda, Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to mention a few. Friendships are shattered overnight; neighbors kill each other with machetes; and families are separated along ethnic lines. In Rwanda alone, about a million people were slaughtered – a volume of killings that is nearly unprecedented in global history.

Social media is a significant facet of globalization. The present focus of technological globalization is the connections formed by social media networks. Social media is a fantastic tool that everyone with access to it can readily use. Social networking is becoming increasingly prevalent as this technology spreads throughout the world. The capacity to use social media facilitates the formation of worldwide connections. Because of these global links, countries now have the ability to voice their new and old concerns to everybody.

A person in Mumbai may communicate in real time with a person in Arizona using forums such as Skype, Google Hangouts, or even FaceTime, and view their faces and environment. They may even open other windows at the same time, watch a film together, send papers, and so on. One hundred years ago, no one would have believed this was feasible.

As mentioned earlier, globalization has brought immense benefits to the world. On the contrary, it has created gaps in the form of religious and ethnic conflicts that one cannot ignore and which require a comprehensive strategy in order to fill out some discrepancies occurring due to globalization. Religion is an important force in this globalized world. For some, religion has been used as a tool for decades, leading to massive violence and sectarian conflicts. It has also provided social capital for those who have developed their networks worldwide. It can be clearly seen that religion has been growing in the US and in Middle Eastern countries. Likewise, it has become a force of redistribution. However, globalization will affect religion in multiple ways.

“The major world religions are all taking advantage of the opportunities provided by globalization to transform their messages and reach a new global audience.” (Thomas, 2010)

“Globalization and its impact on religious trends will undoubtedly affect domestic conditions as well. From Indonesia to Nigeria, religiously divided populations have clashed in recent years, and fresh Muslim-Christian conflicts are erupting in Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya ” (Thomas 2010, 11).

By accommodating religious and cultural factors, the definition of globalization can be broadened to a much greater extent. It is important to note that both religion and globalization have developed coherent identities in the process. There might be some actors benefiting from the mutually established bond, while others are marginalized in some way or another. Globalization, in general, refers to the greater interdependence of the world’s economies, as evidenced by the cross-border movement of information, money, people, and things. It has recently resulted in the dominance of the global market by a small number of transnational businesses. However, different countries have been linked to one another since time immemorial through the geographical spread of ideas, social standards, and trading commodities. This pre-modern period of globalization is referred to as archaic globalization. Silk Road is one example. To further highlight this, the Silk Road was an epitome of trade in goods and services. Various faiths and religions took advantage of the globalizing effects of the Silk Road to spread their fundamental beliefs. As a result, the Silk Road presented religious communities from all over the world in the most efficient and credible way possible. In terms of economic interdependence, nations are now dependent on each other with respect to trade, labor, 2and the movement of capital.

Therefore, Globalization has the ability to aid development by increasing prospects for greater wages and improved living standards through increased cross-border economic engagement. However, globalization will not automatically distribute the benefits of this interaction equitably. As a result, developed countries, over time, have been benefiting more from such interaction, and this has caused a gap in development between developed and developing countries. The continued inequity in this relationship has caused this gap to widen. To overcome this situation, cross border economic interaction, spurred on by globalization, requires regulation to overcome the inequity and narrow the development gap.In order to give fair possibilities in international trade, particularly for emerging nations, multilateral cooperation is necessary to eliminate inequality across nations. The World Trade Organization’s open, transparent, and predictable multilateral trade system should be protected, and any reform process should be kept inclusive and egalitarian.


About the Author

Fareeha Adnan is currently a student in the MPhil Program of Public Policy at CPPG. Her research interests include Education, Human Development, Agriculture and Environment Policy, Governance and Globalization.



  1. Amy Chua, World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breed s

Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability (New York: Doubleday, 2003)

  1. William I. Robinson, “Capitalism in the 21st Century: Global Inequality,

Piketty and the Transnational Capitalist Class”. pp 240-257

  1. Scott M. Thomas, “A Globalized God: Religion’s Growing Influence in

International Politics” Foreign Affairs, Vol, 89, No 6, November/December

2010.pp 93-101.

  1. Dr. Naye R. F Al-Rodhan, “Definitions of Globalization: A Comprehensive Overview and a Proposed Definition” Program on the Geopolitical Implications of Globalization and Transnational Security, June 2006.pp 1-21.

7.Tidwell.A. and Lerche.C, “Globalization and Conflict Resolution”International Journal of Peace Studies, Volume 9,No.1, Spring/Summer 2004.pp 47-49.

Siachen Glacier Conflict: A Battle Worth Fighting?

The Siachen[1] glacier, located at the Indian subcontinent’s northwestern edge, has been a disputed region between the India-Pakistan border since the 1980s. The Siachen dispute finds its roots in the armed conflict over the state of Jammu and Kashmir since India and Pakistan became independent in 1947. As a result of the conflict, both the countries occupied parts of the disputed territory without reaching a consensus or solution until July 1949 when a cease fire line (CFL) was formed as part of an agreement under the United Nations signed in January 1949. The CFL was expected to put an end to the hostility between the two armies. The CFL agreement was however vague. It only provided details and coordinates till a certain point on the border completely ignoring the northwestern edge since it had always been considered inaccessible and uninhabitable due to its difficult terrain and harsh weather conditions. Later in 1972, the CFL was scrapped and a new Line of Control (LoC) was established however the issue of the boundary line dividing the Siachen Glacier region remained unaddressed. The newly formed LoC agreement stated: “the LoC[2] runs north-eastwards to Thang (inclusive to India) then eastwards joining the glaciers.” China’s Xinjiang province’s southern border meeting the Indo-Pak border in the region created further confusion as the province itself is considered to be disputed territory.[3] The article aims to provide potential solutions to the ongoing conflict while predicting major shock events that could result in extreme consequences.

Before 1970, no attempts were made by the Pakistan government to politically integrate the northern areas of Pakistan particularly Gilgit-Baltistan along with Jammu and Kashmir. In 1972 as President Zia ul Haq hosted a dinner in Gilgit and also showed interest in including Gilgit Baltistan into mainstream politics, India’s concerns grew. India felt increasingly threatened as it found out that Pakistan is supporting international expeditions to the Siachen Glacier and planning to establish military outposts to stop Indian interference. Not only did India follow suit and decided to lead expeditions in the region, it also carried out a military operation in the region by the name of Meghdoot in 1984. Military forces of the two countries fought against each other in the world’s highest battleground, approximately 5000 meters above sea level.[4] India[5] justified launching Operation Meghdoot by claiming that it was in retaliation to Pakistan’s plans of launching a military operation to occupy the Siachen Glacier. India gained tactical advantage by occupying two key northern passes. Pakistan’s military response came 12 days later and remained unable to depose the Indian armed forces from their positions.[6] The armed[7] conflict in 1984 led to both the countries stationing their troops at areas that were occupied by them to date. Several attempts have been made to resolve the Siachen Glacier conflict since January 1986 however officials of the two countries have failed to reach a consensus. India refuses to withdraw its troops from key positions that it occupied in the region in 1984 and Pakistan remains unwilling to accept India’s claims of being the rightful owner of the majority of the territory occupied by it ever since.[8]

While India and Pakistan consider the region to be of strategic and political importance, it is important to understand that the deployment of forces in the world’s highest battleground has an adverse impact not only financially but also on the soldiers and the environment. Due to the harsh weather conditions[9] and rough terrain of the Siachen Glacier, the area remains inaccessible even by the most durable vehicles. Avalanches make it extremely difficult for the troops to hold ground and when the region is hit by a snowstorm, delivery of essential supplies via air to the soldiers becomes close to impossible. While the high elevation levels of the glacier exceed the flight capacity of India’s heavier helicopters, the lighter helicopters also remain largely unreliable in the region considering that the harsh and unpredictable weather can result in potential emergency landings at any point. Additionally, troops have to tie themselves to each other in order to be able to walk around without risking falling through crevasses. The deployment of troops in extreme weather conditions is also high in cost for both India and Pakistan. In order to survive against the wrath of the cold weather, Indian and Pakistani forces rely on specialized training including ice climbing techniques and avalanche safety. Soldiers require specific equipment such as gun-emplacements and anchor building supplies at the outposts. It has been estimated that Pakistani military operations in Siachen cost between $200 2to $300 million annually.[10] Since the Siachen Glacier has been an inactive warzone for several decades, it is observed that the majority of the soldiers who lost their lives has been a result of the extreme weather. In April 2012, 140[11] People, mostly soldiers and a few civilians, lost their lives as an avalanche hit the region. The fact that more lives have been claimed by the weather than actual gun-fight in the region is alarming to say the least. Soldiers have suffered from pulmonary and cerebral edema along with headaches and hypertension. Military operations and the use of artillery in the region have led to the glaciers absorbing toxins and chemicals, polluting the Indus River headwaters and raising health concerns for both India and Pakistan.[12] The Siachen conflict has often been referred to as unnecessary[13] or nonsensical considering the harsh weather and difficult terrain making it extremely challenging to survive there in the first place. Snowstorms and blizzards can lead to field artillery being buried under snow within minutes, fainting and frostbites are common. Is there really any strategic value attached to the barren land as claimed by the two countries?[14]

Both India and Pakistan are losing more than they are gaining by the continuous deployment of troops in the Siachen region. While it is important to consider the political and national security risk, it is also important to consider the number of lives that have been lost, the harmful impact on the environment and the high cost of training and deploying troops in the region. The Kargil conflict in 1999 makes it more difficult for India to trust that the region would remain peaceful. Additionally, all previous attempts to reach a consensus regarding the demilitarization of the region by either side have failed. However, one question remains: are there other ways to address the national security risk especially since there has been no active conflict in the region from either side for decades? Alternatives to the deployment of troops in the region would lead to a more efficient use of economic and human resources. In addition to that, peaceful collaborative efforts by the two countries would also work towards bringing stability in the region resulting in economic and sociopolitical prosperity. There are however several factors to consider. Some of these are listed below:

Shock Events:

  1. Climate change has recently been a grave global concern. The use of heavy artillery and military operations in the Siachen Glacier region has led to toxins and chemicals being absorbed in the glaciers as the region is often hit by an avalanche. If the risk of such hazards heightens in the region, killing several more people, it might lead to India and Pakistan questioning further deployment of troops.
  2. A few years ago, the Indian government decided to revoke Kashmir’s special status. If Pakistan decides to follow suit, it might result in political turmoil not only domestically but also in terms of its relationship with India. The heightened risk of national security and political instability  might result in Siachen becoming an active warzone again.
  3. Viewing the unstable and vulnerable relationship between India and Pakistan, China could get access through its disputed border territory region of Xinjiang that touches the Siachen Glacier and take over. Since China shares a friendly relationship with Pakistan, it might potentially try to take over the region that is largely controlled by India.


  1. Demilitarized Zone
    1. As the glacier is already open to tourists, it can be turned into a demilitarized zone with activities that are ceremonial and symbolic in nature. The Indo-Pak border already has an example to seek inspiration from locally i.e. the Wagah Border[15] with Lahore on the Pakistan side and Amritsar on the Indian side. Another similar example is that of the Korean Demilitarized zone. It is a border between North and South Korea that has ceremonial activities exactly like the Wagah border.[16]
    2. Under the Demilitarized zone, the peace-keeping process can be taken one step further by the two countries through taking an initiative such as Siachen Peace Park[17]. The park shall be open to tourists and locals alike. In order to ensure that neither side’s national security is at risk, technical means of surveillance, both air and ground based,  can be explored in order to minimize the presence of on-ground deployed troops.[18] It can be a display of collaborative efforts and projects such as international expeditions led by representatives of both the countries.
    3. While demilitarizing the region, another initiative that would prove to be extremely beneficial for both India and Pakistan is establishing a center for scientific research. One such existing example is of the Antarctic[19] Treaty System. Under the treaty, all signatory countries are supposed to utilize the region for peaceful activities whereas military activities such as forming a military base or testing weapons is not allowed. The treaty furthermore grants freedom to all the signatories to carry out scientific research.[20] If India and Pakistan utilize the region for scientific research, it will prove to be extremely beneficial for both as that would result in economic growth and scientific advancement for the region.
  2. Trilateral peace efforts with China
    1. As mentioned earlier, the Siachen Glacier shares a common border with the southern border of China’s Xinjiang province. It is important for both India and Pakistan to take steps for joint peaceful efforts with China as its involvement in the region is inevitable. China shares a friendly relationship with Pakistan and has over several instances not only backed Pakistan financially but also provided it with military equipment[21]. If a center for scientific research is to be built, China could be pursued as a potential investor. This would ensure China’s peaceful involvement in the region without India having to fear losing Siachen to China as has been the case of a constant conflict and disputed territory with Aksai Chin[22] in the past.
  3. Considering the previously failed efforts to reach a consensus by both India and Pakistan, perhaps a revision of the LoC, extending till the extreme northwestern edge, would be a step in the right direction. This can be achieved through table talks and negotiations. A new agreement needs to be formed that does not require the authentication of the military points or outposts as found unfavorable by Pakistan and does not require India to conform to pre-1984 occupation either. One such example is that of Spain[23] and France. Since 1659, through a joint agreement, a condominium has been established between the two countries as a result of which the Conference Island situated between them is governed by Spain from February 1 to July 31 and by France from August 1 to January 31 every year.[24]


About the Author

Aleena Afzaal is an MA Politics student at NYU. Her research interests include politics of the Indian subcontinent, women’s studies and governance. She is also an MPhil student at CPPG.



Wirsing, Robert G. “THE SIACHEN GLACIER DISPUTE – I: THE TERRITORIAL DIMENSION.” Strategic Studies 10, no. 1 (1986): 49–68. http://www.jstor.org/stable/45182355.

Zain, Omer Farooq. “Siachen Glacier Conflict: Discordant in Pakistan-India Reconciliation.” Pakistan Horizon 59, no. 2 (2006): 73–82. http://www.jstor.org/stable/41394127.

Ahmed, Ishtiaq. 2006. “Siachen: A By-Product Of The Kashmir Dispute And A Catalyst For Its Resolution”. Pakistan Journal Of History And Culture XXVII (2): 87-114. http://www.nihcr.edu.pk/Latest_English_Journal/Siachen_A_Bi-Product_of_Kashmir_Dr_Ishtiaq.pdf.

Ko, Leesa. 2021. “In India-Pakistan Standoff, Siachen Glacier Is No Passive Bystander”. State Of The Planet. https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2021/03/05/siachen-conflict-warfare/.

Saleem, A., School of Communication. Siachen Conflict between India and Pakistan: How Politics and National Security Trumps Environmental Concerns. Paper for presentation at the 2015 Conference on Communication and Environment. University of Boulder, Colorado. June 11-14, 2015. https://theieca.org/sites/default/files/conference-presentations/coce_2015_boulder/saleem_awais-1035463731.pdf.

Wirsing, Robert G. “THE SIACHEN GLACIER DISPUTE – III: The Strategic Dimension.” Strategic Studies 12, no. 1 (1988): 38–54. http://www.jstor.org/stable/45182761.

Gill, Anam. 2014. “The Korean Borders: Another Version Of Wagah Border? | The Express Tribune”. The Express Tribune. https://tribune.com.pk/article/20954/the-korean-borders-another-version-of-wagah-border.

“The Antarctic Treaty Explained – British Antarctic Survey”. 2022. British Antarctic Survey. Accessed May 1. https://www.bas.ac.uk/about/antarctica/the-antarctic-treaty/the-antarctic-treaty-explained/.

Ali, Aamir. 2002. “A Siachen Peace Park: The Solution To A Half-Century Of International Conflict?”. Mountain Research And Development 22 (4): 316-319. https://bioone.org/journals/mountain-research-and-development/volume-22/issue-4/0276-4741_2002_022_0316_ASPPTS_2.0.CO_2/A-Siachen-Peace-Park–The-Solution-to-a-Half/10.1659/0276-4741(2002)022[0316:ASPPTS]2.0.CO;2.full.

Jennings, Ken. 2017. “Why Pheasant Island Is Sometimes In France, Sometimes In Spain”. Condé Nast Traveler. https://www.cntraveler.com/story/why-pheasant-island-is-sometimes-in-france-sometimes-in-spain#:~:text=The%20world’s%20oldest%20condominium%20is,the%20Pyrenees%20was%20signed%20there.

Mittal, Vikram. 2022. “The Lesser-Known Border Dispute: China And India”. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/vikrammittal/2022/02/21/the–lesser-known-border-disputechina-and-india/?sh=789cffdf192d.

Comparative Study of EVM Performance

On November 17, 2021, the Pakistani parliament passed the Elections (Second Amendment) Bill, 2021, allowing the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the 2023 elections. It passed with a narrow margin of just 18 votes (Mehboob, 2021). 221 members supported the Bill in the joint parliamentary session while 203 opposed it, indicating a sharp divide and lack of consensus building across the bench. 

EVMs primarily record votes in computer memory and employ a digital interface to cast votes. A voter typically chooses their option from a touch screen, and the data is stored in 1s and 0s to be automatically tallied later. EVMs sharply divide public opinion worldwide, with its proponents arguing for their relative security, reliability, accessibility, and efficiency. Critics of EVMs point out their cost, unsustainable maintenance requirements, and vulnerability to hacking and other forms of tampering. 

In a report presented on September 7, 2021, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) raised thirty-seven   objections to  EVMs, which ranged from lack of ballot secrecy, security, transparency, adequate pilot testing to their limited ability to prevent rigging,  and election fraud (Butt, 2021). The ECP decided to carry out a pilot project of using EVMs in Punjab during the March 2022 local elections, (“ECP to use”, 2021), and simultaneously formed three committees on November 23 to recommend technologies in the electoral process, changes to existing electoral laws, and storage practices (Virk, 2021). However, as of April 2022, the local government elections were delayed in Punjab due to legislative technicalities (Sheikh, 2022). The logistic and governance challenges, accompanied by a lack of consensus over the EVM bill, cultivate inefficient, if any, implementation of the Bill. 

EVMs are currently used by 28 countries in politically binding national elections, while 17 countries utilize them for politically-binding sub-national elections (International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance). As also evidenced by the ECP report, some countries stopped using EVMs e.g., Ireland, Paraguay, and Germany while others tested them out and decided against using them due to security concerns e.g., Indonesia and Norway. However, there is little third-party research drawing parallels between these countries and Pakistan, and therefore, lacking a much-needed holistic projection of  EVM performance in Pakistan.

Thus, this article analyses the experience and performance of EVMs in a few of these countries to gauge the practices that discouraged or encouraged voter trust in this technology. A democracy is only as good as the amount of trust in the validity of the cast vote. 

Which machine is used? 

Like most countries using EVMs, Pakistan, too, will employ Direct-Recording Electronic (DRE) voting machines- a machine on which the voter makes the ballot choice directly by choosing an option on a touch screen without first marking a paper ballot, which is then stored in a memory card. Additionally, a Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) is used which is another security measure, printing a mirror paper ballot that is stored in a box. The electronic record of the vote is the primary source for the count. The paper trail functions as an alternative record of the cast votes and can be used to detect possible election fraud or machine malfunction, and provides a means to audit the stored electronic results. Political parties, or the election commission, can demand a simultaneous recount of the paper ballots to verify the EVM results. However, it is pertinent to note that the manual recount of the paper ballots is labor-intensive and expensive.

DRE-specific challenges should be contextualized within the economic, social and political structures of developing countries. Many rural areas already experience electricity shortages: transporting, housing the EVMs in ideal temperature, providing external power sources for the EVMs are large additional costs. Keeping all these challenges in mind, the ECP has predicted the 2023 elections to be the most expensive in Pakistani history: with an estimated cost of Rs. 424 billion, they will cost the federal government roughly a 1000 times more than the last three elections (Gishkori, 2021). 

The need and implications of simple design 

India has been using EVMs since 1982: due to many shared demographic, cultural, economic, and social contexts, analyzing the use of EVMs in India provides meaningful insights. Similar to India, a significant portion of Pakistan’s population is illiterate- 40 percent (Abbasi, 2021)- while as many as 58 percent of children cannot read a sentence in Urdu or their regional language (Junaidi, 2012); despite increasing digital natives, access to internet remains limited (Kemp, 2022). This demographic insight is reflected in the design of the machine: both manufacture a simplified design to avoid voter intimidation (Wolchock et al., 2010). There are recorded instances (Wolchock et al., 2010) of the largely illiterate voter base avoiding polling stations due to the perceived inconvenience of navigating the technology- albeit non-generalisable, this external variable further endangers the low voter turnout, and therefore, weakens an integral pillar of democracy. 

Another reason for prioritizing simpler designs framed citizens’ knowledge of the voting process as a question of security. The more informed the voter is the lesser likelihood of the process being hijacked, or them being misled. This technological intervention further mystifies the voting process, and so, to circumvent that, both Pakistani and Indian EVMs employ a simple button and ample reliance on symbols rather than letters within the design.

Figure 1: An Indian EVM, with symbols of political parties and pictures of political candidates. Source: One India

Traditional scholarship on EVMs suggests that simpler designs are more secure (Hao and Ryan, 2020; Krimmer et al., 2019; Sastry, 1970) since it’s easier for non-specialized teams to detect tampering, and harder to disguise any abnormality. Since the government staff also lacks widespread knowledge, and expertise in EVMs, the simpler design enhances their capacity to detect tampering. The scholarship recommends that the Trusted Computing Base (TCB) i.e. the hardware and software responsible for enforcing system-wide information security protocol, should be smaller and simpler. 

However, Wolchock 2et al. (2010) independent analysis of a procured Indian DRE machine revealed otherwise. They proved that the relatively simpler interface made it easier for an attacker to read and write over the memory chip, or to substitute an electrically-compatible dishonest main board within the original one. The simpler design makes it possible to manufacture such a keyboard and to replace it efficiently. India has recurrently reported election irregularities involving the machines. In the 2009 parliamentary elections, EVMs malfunctioned in more than 15 parliamentary constituencies across the country, including but not limited to attacks on the cable connecting the ballot and control unit which openly tampered with the candidate the vote would go to (Rao, 2010). 

 Despite such obvious signs of vote tampering, there has never been a prosecution related to EVM fraud or a post-election audit to attempt to understand the causes. This, perhaps, signifies the primary importance of external accountability infrastructure in evaluating the security of EVMs. Therefore, the importance of transparency is underscored in machine design-the lack of transparency doesn’t necessarily have to be borne out of malicious intentions but also derives from the nature of the technology. 

External accountability mechanisms: Local vs multinational producers of EVMs

The choice to opt for locally produced EVMs, in comparison with independent multinational companies with greater experience and expertise, is important for several reasons. The multinational producers serve as an external accountability mechanism, since they are incentivized  to point out electoral fraud to maintain credibility. Their reputation as providers of secure and transparent EVMs is essential in curating and maintaining trust with all clients and expanding their business. They have a strong incentive to avoid the design of their EVMs being questioned. 

Venezuela, which shares Pakistan’s history of voter distrust in election results, experienced a different outcome concerning electoral fraud due to the EVMs being provided by the multinational company, Smartmatic. Venezuela has employed VVPAT-equipped DRE EVM machines since 1998 and since 2004, Smartmatic has been providing technology and support services for EVMs. The company, which otherwise provides voting technology to at least 12 other countries, alleged that a million votes were manipulated in the 2017 Constituent Assembly elections. Smartmatic made this knowledge public, taking care to highlight that even though such large-scale fraud would’ve existed in manual elections too, it might’ve gone unnoticed in the absence of electronic security and auditing safeguards. Even though the election results weren’t overturned, Venezuela’s example underscores the key role played by multinational providers of EVMs in actualizing the comparatively more efficient safeguards offered by the technology. Without third-party multinational EVM providers, verifiable and statistical data on vote manipulation would not have been made publicly available. 

Successful case-study of EVM deployment 

In order to evaluate favorable  political, social, demographic, and economic contexts for EVM’s potential to increase voter trust, it is also essential to explore countries that were able to effectively harness its many argued benefits and safeguards. Brazil is one such country. Comparatively, it has higher voter satisfaction with EVMs (Martin and Brasil, 2007). After being partially used in national elections in 1998, DRE EVMs have been the only voting method since 2000. The auditing process has cultivated trust within the voters, especially the parallel voting test.

 On the eve of the election, authorities randomly select a few EVMs and publicize the entire process of political parties carrying out a mock election via them. When juxtaposed with the inaccessibility of the voting data, publicizing any audit was key to creating acceptance as it built trust in the technology. With access to data, citizens don’t have to rely on the institution or political candidates’ testimonies- they can personally verify all claims. Therefore, rather than only relying on technological safeguards, the relevant parties and government departments employ additional steps to cultivate that trust. They don’t view security as a static prerequisite  in-built within the machine, but rather as a process dependent on the behavior  of external actors. Trust cannot be built via machine design, but is rather dependent on the credibility of external institutions, and their willingness to adopt other transparency measures. When compared with Pakistan’s lack of consensus building within the parties over the EVM amendment, this insight becomes relevant in its scope and importance.


EVMs, like other technologies, do not inherently carry benefits. They need to be evaluated within specific contexts. Per contextual comparisons with India, Venezuela and Brazil, it is evident that effective deployment of EVMs hinges on confronting the security risks of simpler designs. Simpler designs are essential to build voter trust within the largely illiterate voter-base, but simultaneously poses security risks. Effective and long-term trust within EVMs is also dependent on institutionalizing third-party accountability mechanisms and centring additional consensus-building efforts by political parties. Therefore,  this article not only roots EVM experience within the social, political and demographic context of its invention, design and deployment but also underscores its dynamic nature. 

In light of Imran Khan being ousted from government by a vote of no confidence in April 2022, the use of EVMs seems unlikely in the near future. The EVM bill was decisively passed and overwhelmingly opposed by the opposition parties, and therefore, was Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s pet project. However, they currently remain a legislative part of the elections in 2023. Regardless of the bill being potentially scrapped, exploring EVM’s multifaceted impacts remains important since the technology can be adopted anytime in the future.

If employed in Pakistan, EVMs need majoritarian support in the national assembly, country-wide digital literacy drives and transparent, external auditing mechanisms to build voter-trust. Digital literacy is of key importance: the Network Readiness Index Coordination between relevant government departments is key to efficiently institutionalizing public support for EVMs. 

About the Author:

Ajwah Nadeem is a MPhil student at the Centre for Public Policy and Governance, and is a research intern at FACES Pakistan. Her research interests include feminism, local and digital governance. 


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ECP to use EVMs in LG polls under pilot project. (2021, December 4). Pakistan Today. https://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2021/12/04/ecp-to-use-evms-in-lg-polls-under-pilot-project/

Gishkori, Z. (2021, December 16). 2023 elections to be most expensive in Pakistan’s history with use of EVMs: report. Geo News. https://www.geo.tv/latest/387941-2023-elections-to-be-most-expensive-in-pakistans-history-with-use-of-electronic-voting

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International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. (n.d.). Is E-Voting currently used in any elections with EMB participation?. Retrieved March 22, 2022, from https://www.idea.int/data-tools/question-view/742

Junaidi, I. (2012, January 27). 75pc children unable to read English sentence: report. Dawn. https://www.dawn.com/news/691129/75pc-children-unable-to-read-english-sentence-report

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Krimmer, R., Volkamer, M., Cortier, V., Beckert, B., Küsters, R., Serdült, U., & Duenas-Cid, D. (Eds). (2019). Electronic Voting: 4th International Joint Conference, E-Vote-ID 2019, Bregenz, Austria, October 1-4, 2019: Proceedings (1st ed.). Springer.

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Rao, G. N. (2010, June 10). Democracy at Risk!: Can We Trust Our Electronic Voting Machines?. Veta India.

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Sheikh, W.A. (2022, April 26). LHC stays LG poll in Punjab, seeks ECP reply. Dawn. https://www.dawn.com/news/1686867/lhc-s2tays-lg-poll-in-punjab-seeks-ecp-reply

Smartmatic. (2017, August 2). Smartmatic Statement on the Recent Constituent Assembly Election in Venezuela. https://www.smartmatic.com/us/media/article/smartmatic-statement-on-the-recent-constituent-assembly-election-in-venezuela/

Virk, S. (2021, December 1). ECP rejects govt’s ‘intimidation to rush EVMs purchase’. The Express Tribune. https://tribune.com.pk/story/2331886/ecp-rejects-govts-intimidation-to-rush-evms-purchase

Wolchok, S., Wustrow, E. Halderman, J. A., Prasad, H. K., Kankipati, A. Sakhamuri, S. K., Yagati, V. & Gonggrijp, R. (2010). Security Analysis of India’s Electronic Voting Machines. Proceedings of the 17th ACM conference on Computer and communications security – CCS ’10, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1145/1866307.1866309

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Masuma Hasan organized an International conference on its 75th Anniversary Conference (14 & 15th December 2022)

The Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Masuma Hasan organized an International conference on its 75th Anniversary Conference (14 & 15th December 2022) , the theme of the conference was: Pakistan and the Changing Global Order. Scholars and policy analysts from the UK, Russia, US, Nepal, and Sri Lanka,besides Pakistan participated in the conference. The conference was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Sindh, Syed Murad Ali Shah.
Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Professor and Founding Director, Centre for Public Policy and Governance FCCU, Lahore, participated in the conference . He chaired the session on “ Pakistan’s Security Challenges” and presented his analysis and concluding comments on issues pertaining to security threats , highlighting the need to devise a counter terrorism strategy for Pakistan.

Dr. Frédérick Douzet visited CPPG

On 31st October 2022, Dr. Frédérick Douzet visited CPPG to talk about her work and to continue to participate in the French-Pakistani scholarly exchange that CPPG has been promoting.

Dr. Douzet is the Director of the project ‘Geode’ at the French Institute of Geopolitics, University Paris 8. Her work focuses on the geopolitics of the ‘data sphere’, information pathways and the propagation of information online. Her work has applications in the defence sector, electoral politics, to name a few.

Dr. Douzet is a member of the Defense Ethics Committee since January 2020. She was part of the Commission “Enlightenment in the Digital Age” (Bronner Commission) set up by President Macron in 2021. She also participated in the Editorial Board of the Strategic Review of Defense and National Security in 2017 and is part of the Global Commission on the Stability of Cyberspace (2017-2020). She directed the Castex Chair of Cyber Strategy at the Institut des Hautes Etudes de Défense Nationale (IHEDN) from 2013 to 2018.

Dr. Douzet was accompanied by Mr. Mounir Slimani, Counsellor for Cooperation and Cultural Affairs, Embassy of France in Pakistan.

CPPG’s Training Module for the 34th Specialized MCMC at PAS, CSA

The Centre for Public Policy and Governance was invited by the Pakistan Administrative Service, Civil Services Academy to conduct a research module for their 4th Specialized Mid Career Management Course (MCMC).
This is the second round of training the CPPG has provided to PAS officers at the CSA, the first being a module for the 3rd Specialized MCMC.
The short training module by CPPG focused on developing an ‘intervention proposal concept note’. The purpose of this exercise was to familiarize the PAS officers with the elements and factors that should be considered while planning a policy intervention in the field. A frequent criticism the bureaucracy in Pakistan faces is that the projects implemented are not sustainable, are not contextualized and are unable to address local needs. The aim of this module was to encourage the officers to reassess project development methods and to develop skills for effective project proposal design and its implementation.
Building on international best practices on policy design, the training module aimed to equip the officers with a toolbox of analytical skills and research methodologies that can be used as a framework during the course of their careers.
With the approval of the Director, three groups were formed as part of the module with CPPG faculty acting as supervisors.
As part of the government’s commitment to support the Living Indus Initiative, the three groups focused on the following thematic topics:
Group 1: Supervised by Dr. Rovidad Khan and Ms. Sahar Haq: ‘Zero Plastic Waste Cities along the Indus River: Inducing Segregation of Plastic Waste Through Behavioral Change Interventions in Students at Primary and Elementary School Level in Faisalabad City’
Group 2: Supervised by Mr. Raheem ul Haque and Dr. Abdullah Khoso: ‘Lahore’s Industrial and Urban Effluents Discharge into Ravi River: Gaps, Issues, and Way Forward’
Group 3: Supervised by Ms. Saba Shahid: ‘Developing an Integrated Nature Trail in Attock Khurd, A Project Intervention Proposal under the Living Indus Initiative’

Good Health and Well Being: Achieving Sustainable Development Through Adaptive Public Healthcare Policies

Sustainable Development Goal 3 has been designed to achieve good health and well-
being at a global level. Central to that objective is the need to ensure populations around the
world have access to quality healthcare services, both geographically and financially. Universal
healthcare delivery is therefore essential to the world’s progress; disease any- where in the world
can threaten public health everywhere. This phenomenon was clearly seen during the recent COVID-19
pandemic. While in Pakistan, the pandemic’s impact has been relatively less disastrous in terms of
human lives lost than in countries such as the UK, Italy and the US, it has revealed serious
loopholes in the health sector and the domino impact poor health can have on other developmental
sectors such as education, the labor market and the overall economy of a country. Moreover, the
pandemic has revealed the inevitability of investing in a health system that is cross sectoral
and is based on rigorous data collection and analysis tools.

Given the above scenario, a major question ensues: what are the major challenges Pakistan’s public
health sector faces and what can be done to ensure we meet the sustainable development goals on
health (Goal 3)? This policy brief argues that Pakistan’s health sector is marred by reactive
policy making, whereby the public health sector is invested in after health crises have erupted.
Instead we need a trans formative shift in the way the public health sector is managed with a focus
on preparedness. To this effect, an adaptive and integrated policy framework that focuses on
prevention is the answer.

CPPG hosted and organized a Roundtable Discussion on ‘Climate Change and its Relation to Social and Gender Equity’ with Andrew Shofer, Deputy Chief of Mission, the U.S Department of State, Mission Pakistan

On 18 October 2022, the Centre for Public Policy & Governance (CPPG) organised a talk with the U.S State Department to explore inter-sectoral cooperation possibilities between Pakistan and the United States.
Paricipants for the discussion included Mr. Andrew Schofer, Deputy Chief of Mission, Mr. Paul Garr, Cultural Affairs Officer, Ms. Sumayya Tariq, Education Adviser, Mr. Karl Rogers, Deputy Public Affairs Officer, & Mehreen Shahid, Founder Safe Delivery, Safe Mother. From FCC, participants included Dr. Kausar Abdullah Malik, Professor and Dean of Postgraduate Studies, Dr. Sikandar Hayat, Professor and Dean of Social Sciences, & Dr. Altaf Khan, Professor and Dean Humanities and Mass Communications. The talk was hosted and moderated by Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Founder & Director, CPPG.
The panellists shared their insights on the impact of climate change on women in Pakistan, and the possibilities for cooperation with the U.S in assisting victims of climate disasters. The role of NGOs, INGOs, diplomatic bodies, donors, think tanks, and researchers during climate emergencies was discussed. A comparative analysis was also undertaken between the national response to floods in 2010 and in 2022. An interactive and vigorous Q&A session complimented the discussion and allowed open debate on Pakistan-U.S relations.

CPPG hosted and organised a talk with Professor Christophe Jaffrelot on his book ‘Modi’s India: The Rise of Hindu Nationalism and Ethnic Democracy’.

On 17 October 2022, the Centre for Public Policy & Governance (CPPG) organised a book discussion on the historical and current transitions of democracy in South Asia.

Professor Christophe Jaffrelot is a Senior Research Fellow at CERI-Sciences Po/CNRS, Paris, Author, political scientist, and Indologist, specializing in South Asia. The discussion was hosted and moderated by Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Founder & Director, CPPG.

In his talk, Professor Jaffelot highlighted the recent findings from his book ‘Modi’s India: The Rise of Hindu Nationalism and Ethnic Democracy’. He articulated how various strands of Hindu nationalism were transforming Indian democracy. The talk featured insight on the rise of electoral authoritarianism & national populism in the sub-continent.  Advising the Doctoral and M Phil students, Jaffrelot also laid out the importance of choosing a methodological approach that provides unbiased responses to sensitive subject matter. Jaffrelot provided key tips on interviewing followers of controversial ideologies.

An interactive discussion was also held with CPPG students and faculty to explore the impact of weakened oversight institutions during ethnic democratic rule in India. Jaffrelot stated, “It is interesting to observe the merging of Indo-nationalism and populism in one man”. A vigorous Q&A Session complemented the discussion and allowed open debate on the current state of democracy in South Asia.

Sustainability of Lahore: How can the city meet its SDG 11 targets?


As a signatory to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Pakistan is under an obligation
to meet the prescribed targets. It therefore needs to create a policy framework
that allows envisioning, adopting, and implementing concrete measures in pursuit of
the commitments. This policy brief concentrates on the capacity of the city of Lahore to
meet the targets proposed by SDG 11 on making the city “inclusive, safe, resilient and
sustainable” (SDG Tracker 2022). It highlights how disproportionate population growth
in Lahore, which is principally driven by migration, is hindering the city’s ability to meet
and deliver on its obligations. Using SDG 11 as the corner stone, it will propose ways to
manage unwarranted population migration growth to the city.


issue 1


You are cordially invited to




Pakistan Floods: Managing a Climate Crisis through People-Centered Policy Design


Thursday 6th October 2022, 4:00 PM, Room E-002, Elahi Building,

Centre for Public Policy and Governance at Forman Christian College, Lahore

In light of World Habitat Day and the right for human settlements to have a safe and secure environment in which to access their livelihoods, CPPG is organizing a Policy Dialogue on the state of Pakistani habitats, with particular focus on the flood-affected areas. This policy dialogue will focus on evaluating the extent to which Pakistan’s response to climate-induced flooding integrates four principles of Adaptation, Preparedness, Resilience and Rehabilitation. Through this dialogue, we hope to develop a solution-oriented framework that works within the Pakistani context, given the existing bottlenecks and hindrances to good governance in the country. A concept note detailing the context behind this event can be found at the end of this document.

Please see below a tentative schedule for the policy dialogue. The panelists participating at the event represent diversity in stakeholders that should be part of the conversation around flood-management.


Tentative Schedule
Welcome, Introductory Remarks, and Moderator

Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Founding Director & Professor, CPPG

4:00-4:15 PM
Green infrastructure and nature-based solutions for building climate resilience in communities in the Indus Basin

Dr. Fazilda Nabeel, Provincial Coordinator, Living Indus, United Nations


4:15-4:30 PM
Strategizing green solutions for development projects: How can environmental law help?

Mr. Rafay Alam, Founding Partner Saleem, Alam & Co., Environmental Lawyer


4:30-4:45 PM
Civil society organizations and disaster management: How can community-based solutions be scaled up?

Ms. Mehreen Shahid, Development Consultant, Founder and Executive Director, Safe Delivery Safe Mother


4:45-5:00 PM
Overcoming institutional dissonance to develop a shared perspective on climate action

Dr. Omar Masud, CEO, The Urban Unit


5:00-5:15 PM
Questions and Answers/Audience Discussion 5:15-6:00 PM

Panelist Profiles

Mr. Ahmad Rafay Alam 

Rafay Alam is a Pakistani environmental lawyer and activist. He is a founding partner of Saleem, Alam & Co., a firm that specializes in the energy, water, natural resources, and urban infrastructure sectors. As one of Pakistan’s leading environment lawyers, Rafay regularly advises the federal and provincial governments, INGOs and NOGs on issues of policy and strategy in these sectors, and he provides corporate clients strategic sustainability insights. He has served as Chairman of the Board of the Lahore Electric Supply Company and the Lahore Waste Management Company; and as founding Vice-President of the Urban Unit he oversaw the growth of the Punjab’s only public sector urban think-tank. Rafay has also served as a Member of the Pakistan Climate Change Council and the Punjab Environment Protection Council and currently serves a Member of the Hisaar Foundation’s Tank on the Rational Use of Water, and as Advisor to Air Quality Asia. He is a passionate advocate for climate action, air quality improvement, and food sovereignty. In September 2019, he and his family helped organize #ClimateStrike marches in over 45 cities throughout Pakistan.

 Dr. Omar Masud

With 15 years of diverse management experience in Pakistan’s civil service, Mohammad Omar Masud is serving as the CEO Urban Unit since June 2020. Before joining the Urban Unit, he completed his PhD from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Urban and Regional planning. His thesis focused on the use of mobile information technology in local bureaucracies. Omar also has an MPP degree from Princeton University. Unlike his earlier experience in the civil service, the Urban Unit is a policy and design think tank within the government where a small team of dedicated professionals work with the other stakeholders to support all levels of governments in making and implementing policy including policies regarding burgeoning environmental problems in a rapidly urbanizing country like Pakistan. The Urban Unit is trying to focus on use of technology and spatial data to build local implementation strategies to address urban problems, design practical policy and monitor implementation.

Dr. Fazilda Nabeel

Fazilda Nabeel is Provincial Coordinator Living Indus United Nations. She completed her PhD in Development Studies at the University of Sussex (UK). Her doctoral research, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (UK), analyses the nature and underlying causes of problem of groundwater (non) governance in the Indus Basin of Pakistan. Her research takes a historical approach to study the mutually constitutive relation between groundwater and society, with a key focus on the role of the state and technology. Fazilda has served on the Committee for Water Resource Management Law and Justice Commission, Supreme Court of Pakistan in 2018. She was also selected as a Lead Pakistan Fellow on Transboundary Water Resources South Asia (2014) and underwent training at the Water Diplomacy Workshop Harvard Law School (2015). Fazilda has consulted for the STEPS Centre at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) UK, UNDP Pakistan, Punjab Government and Lead Pakistan on a breadth of policy areas including groundwater governance, hydro-diplomacy on the Indus and on the Kabul River Basin.

 Ms. Mehreen Shahid

 Mehreen Shahid is the founder of Safe Delivery Safe Mother (SDSM), an NGO combatting the leading causes of maternal mortality in Pakistan through cost-effective and innovative solutions in challenging environments. She is a development consultant, who advises Pakistan’s public sector on key national priorities, such as poverty alleviation, health, housing and education. She also advises governments and clients in Pakistan and abroad on health systems strengthening, public education and public-private partnerships to enhance social impact. Following the flooding disaster, SDSM has been working tirelessly to bring pregnant women, mothers and children basic health kits, given these group of women are some of the most marginalized and most affected by the climate-induced destruction. Mehreen has worked on a number of exciting projects in the field of public health: at the Clinton Foundation in New York, addressing pressing national health issues such as the opioid crisis in US college communities, and at the World Bank, implementing a routine immunization programme for children in Pakistan by supporting federal and provincial governments. She has also worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company, acquiring extensive private and public sector experience in Pakistan and across the Middle East. Mehreen is a recipient of the Annemarie Schimmel Scholarship, which was awarded to her for a Masters in Public Policy at the University of Oxford.

Pakistan Floods: Managing a Climate Crisis through People-Centered Policy Design

World Habitat Day is an international day commemorated on the 4th of October by the United Nations to evaluate progress on world cities and human settlements, the level of inequality cities face and programs that work towards alleviating challenges to urban development. This year World Habitat Day will focus on the role of the three C’s in transforming urban development patterns including conflict, climate and Covid-19.

Pakistan’s urban development is strongly related to its rural development, where migratory trends, the growth and dynamism of its large agriculture sector and quality of public service delivery in rural areas strongly impact the character of Pakistani settlements. More importantly, the ongoing climate crisis, manifested devastatingly in the form of torrential flooding adds another layer of urgency with which Pakistani decision-makers need to plan and achieve their urban development objectives. This year alone, around 1400 people have lost their lives, over a third of Pakistani settlements including in villages and towns have drowned, or been washed away and resultantly more than 33 million people have been affected, being displaced or losing their sources of livelihood.

Alarming statistics indicate how urgent the situation is, but visuals of the devastation caused by the floods leave no question about the severity of the crisis. Pakistan is facing a serious threat to the development potential of its peoples, their ability to live in safe and secure cities and the relationship with which they interact with their natural environment. From migration patterns and urban infrastructure, to food security and the integrity of its agricultural economy, the country’s entire development trajectory is closely related to the ongoing climate change-induced floods. Patterns of industrial growth, infrastructure development and heritage preservation too are closely linked to our ability to mitigate and adapt to the consequences of climate change and its impact on our habitats.

It is not unknown to the development sector that Pakistan is ‘one of the top ten most vulnerable countries to climate change’— but the socio-political order fails to raise the right questions and develop a functional mechanism through which Pakistan’s climate response is depoliticized and made people-centric. Reactive decision-making continues to dominate our response to environmental disasters like the recent floods, resulting in a passivity that allows the status quo to remain. Relief efforts, significantly managed and lead by non-governmental entities are amped up as a natural disaster hits, followed by a gradual decline in attention and prioritization towards building climate resilience.

This in turn demands a complete review and overhaul in the manner in which decisions are made in the Pakistani political and administrative domain. Natural disasters such as torrential rains, floods and ensuing humanitarian disasters are aggravated by misgovernance and require a nation-wide, collective rethinking of what it really means to be one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change, to be at the epicenter of a ticking bomb.

Foremost, the decision-making approach must transform from ad hoc reactions and post-event management to an approach that prioritizes the fundamental principles of climate action and disaster management:

  • Adaptation
  • Preparedness
  • Resilience
  • Rehabilitation

The aim of the Policy Dialogue is to have deliberations on practical, actionable responses to making Pakistan’s habitats more climate resilient. It will seek to have meaningful conversations on the following questions:


  • What are the key bottlenecks to Pakistan’s climate-resilient urban development, particularly with respect to managing floods?
  • How can we overcome institutional dissonance to develop a shared perspective on climate action with respect to our rural and urban habitats?
  • How can we make sure environmental and ecosystem sustainability are ensured in the design-process of any development project?
  • What mechanisms can be followed to create greater awareness on flood-resilient habitats and what role do various ministries have in this regard?
  • What are the different ways with which we can enforce better monitoring, evaluation and accountability to build a culture of climate-responsive growth and development in Pakistan?
  • What design features can be included in development projects that prioritize the safety and welfare of the most vulnerable and at risk communities to torrential flooding?
  • Have the Climate Policy and Provincial Climate policies taken into account how urban habitats may be impacted by climate change in Pakistan, particularly with respect to managing floods?

We hope that you can participate and look forward to your ‘RSVP’ email confirmation.

Kind regards,

Saba Shahid

Senior Research Fellow,

Centre for Public Policy and Governance

Forman Christian College (A Chartered University)


CPPG Book Launch Event: “China-Pakistan Relations in the Twenty-First Century”

On 22nd September 2022, the Centre for Public Policy and Governance at Forman
Christian College, Lahore launched its recent publication “China-Pakistan Relations
in the Twenty-First Century” authored by Ayesha Siddique. Mr. Zhao Shiren, Consul
General, Chinese Consulate in Lahore, was invited as the Chief Guest and
Distinguished Speaker for the event. At the book launch event, Mr. Zhao Shiren,
announced an Academic Scholarship Award of Rs. 100,000 for Ayesha Siddique,
and a Grant worth Rs. 400,000 for the Centre for Public Policy and Governance
The event started with Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Professor and Founding Director CPPG
making the opening remarks, followed by a welcome address by Dr. Jonathan
Addleton, Rector, Forman Christian College. This was followed by a brief
presentation by Ayesha Siddique. The launch event was attended by Ms. Erfa Iqbal,
doctoral student at ISSCAD, Peking University, Beijing, China and currently
Commissioner Inland Revenue, and previously, Commercial Counsellor at the
Embassy of Pakistan, Beijing, who shared her insightful views and explained how
the CPEC can be a development opportunity for Pakistan if worked on effectively
and designed keeping in mind Pakistan’s growth and development priorities. The
event was also attended by faculty members from FCCU, private professionals
working with Chinese businesses, and students of CPPG. The event concluded with
an address by the Chief Guest, Mr. Zhao Shiren who spoke about the long-term
relationship Pakistan and China share. He emphasized that China seeks to achieve
peace through development with its partner nations and works through models of
win-win outcomes. He expressed his delight and appreciation for the book that
provides useful analysis on the ways in which Pakistan and China are engaging with
each other for technological, educational, cultural and economic benefits.

About the author:
Ayesha Siddique’s research focuses on contemporary China. She graduated from
the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in 2016, majoring in
Accounting and Finance and minoring in Political Science. She completed her MPhil
in Public Policy in 2019 from CPPG, where she was a recipient of the Forman Merit
Scholarship and, upon graduation, awarded the Postgraduate Medal. Alongside her
academic and research work, she likes to volunteer her time to help and support
those in need.

Transformations in Pakistan’s Political Economy and CPEC

The Centre for Public Policy and Governance

Forman Christian College (A Chartered University)

Cordially invites you to join us for

 a webinar on:

‘Transformations in Pakistan’s Political Economy and CPEC’

Thursday, 23rd June  2022, 5 PM (PKT) on 

Venue: Rt. Rev. Alexander John Malik Public Policy seminar room E-002


Distinguished Guest Speaker Professor Matthew McCartney


Professor Matthew McCartney spent twenty years as an academic at the School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), University of London (2000- 2011), and at the University of Oxford (2011-21). He has been a visiting Professor at Universities in China, Pakistan, India, Japan, South Korea, Poland, and Belgium. He is a development economist by background with a teaching and research specialization in the economic development of India and Pakistan after 1947. He has published, supervised, and taught on

economic issues relating to industrialization, technology, trade, the role of the state, investment and economic growth, and human development issues relating to nutrition, employment, education, poverty, and inequality. He has also worked for the World Bank, USAID, EU, and UNDP. He holds a BA in Economics from the University of Cambridge, an MPhil in Economics from the University of Oxford, and a Ph.D. in Economics from SOAS, University of London. He has published eight books and his latest book is the outcome of two years of research-based in China and Pakistan ‘The Dragon from the Mountains: The CPEC from Kashgar to Gwadar’ and was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021. He is currently a senior researcher at the Charter Cities Institute, Washington, D.C


Presentation Abstract

After years of failing short-term IMF programmes, Pakistan has been promised a well-financed, long-term developmental partnership; the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Between 1970 and 2001, a desultory $7billion of foreign investment dribbled into Pakistan. China has promised to invest more than $60billion in roads, railways, energy, industrial parks and other projects between 2015 and 2030. Supporters dream that CPEC will help Pakistan emulate the rapid growth of the 1960s era Asian Dragon economies.


CPEC detractors argue that CPEC is about Chinese access to oil or the deep-water port at Gwadar and that CPEC debt will increase Chinese leverage over Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policy. This research, for the first time, utilises the large and rigorous global economic literature on the economic impact of big infrastructure projects and combines it with a deep understanding of Pakistan’s political economy to think about the likely impact of the CPEC. The case studies include among many others Indian railways (1860s), the US highway system (1950s), and the Japanese bullet train (1960s), the Suez Canal (1860s). Big infrastructure can transform the economy, generate economic enclaves to serve foreign investors, or create white elephant projects with little economic rationale.


Pakistan has experienced 70 years’ worth of moderate economic success. In 1947 75% of Pakistan’s GDP and 99% of its exports were dependent on agriculture and raw materials. By the mid-1990s, the share of industry had overtaken that of agriculture in GDP and 80% of Pakistan’s exports were by then manufactured goods. In 1947 the vast bulk of Pakistan’s exports went to India. By 2019 Pakistan exported to almost 200 countries. In 2019 Pakistan was a middle-income country with a GDP of $320 billion. $60 billion CPEC investment over 15 years will not transform Pakistan. The presentation argues that telling this more positive story about Pakistan should not distract policymakers. There are significant constraints on economic growth, such as education and skills, lack of long-term credit, enforcing contracts and political instability, which will not be tackled by CPEC. CPEC optimists could unwittingly prove a distraction by convincing policymakers that CPEC will provide a solution to all of Pakistan’s woes.


Meeting with Reed J. Aeschliman, USAID Mission Director

CPPG hosted a meeting with Reed J. Aeschliman, USAID Mission Director at the Saeed Shafqat Resource Centre for Public Policy & Governance (FCC) on 16 September 2022. Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Founder CPPG led the meeting discussion on the upcoming strategy of the USAID Mission to Pakistan and the research areas of focus, for both USAID and CPPG. Dr. Douglas Trimble, Vice Rector and Dr. Kausar Abdullah Malik, Post Graduate Dean also attended the meeting.
Research interests of USAID & CPPG were discussed. The successes and challenges of the 18th Amendment, along with the function of the bureaucracy during the current flooding emergency in Pakistan were central to the discourse. CPPG faculty and the research team members participated in the meeting and provided the USAID team members with policy briefs and research reports undertaken by the Centre. CPPG looks forward to future collaboration with USAID.

Ambassador of Germany to Pakistan, Mr. Alfred Grannas’ visit to CPPG

On the 19th of September, 2022, His Excellency Mr. Alfred Grannas, Ambassador of Germany to Pakistan visited CPPG with Ms. Dorota Magdalena Berezicki, Head of the Communications and Cultural Affairs.

The meeting was attended by Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Director and Professor CPPG, Dr. Jonathan Addleton, Rector FFCU, Dr. Nayyer Firdous, Registrar FCCU,  Ms. Badia Raza, Chief Marketing and Outreach Officer, Dr. Altaf Ullah Khan, Dean of Humanities, Dr. Samina Mehnaz Chairperson Kauser Abdullah Malik School of Life Sciences, Mr. Rehmat W. Khan, Deputy Director Pakistan Administrative Service and CPPG faculty, Dr. Rabia Chaudhry, Dr. Rovidad Khan, Saba Shahid and Sahar Haq.
The event was part of Mr. Grannas’ introductory tour of Punjab where he hopes to develop and build relations between academia and the Embassy of Germany. Ms. Berezicki too hopes that the Pakistani academic community can build ties with German institutions; an objective of theirs is to promote higher education learning at German institutes for Pakistani students.
Dr. Addleton spoke about FCCU’s strong international connections, and its rich history of academic excellence, research and historic campus. FCCU has been a leading institute in terms of training Pakistani youth, its alumni have been leaders in their own fields while many from the larger FCCU community have contributed extensively in the social, political and economic growth of the country. Several faculty members of the FCCU are graduates from German universities who have come back with a very rigorous yet gratifying education experience.
Dr. Saeed Shafqat spoke about CPPG’s research and project portfolio, particularly done in collaboration with international partners. The Centre has worked extensively with German institutes such as GIZ that has funded several of its research projects. CPPG also looks forward to engaging with international partners such as the Embassy of Germany to explore further opportunities for joint research or collaborative projects.
The discussion revolved around the need for greater academic interaction for purposeful research that is able to cater to the global issues of development. The Embassy of Germany hopes to act as a facilitator between German institutes and academics and Pakistani academic centres so that greater conversation on mutually beneficial areas can be generated.

China-Pakistan Relations in the Twenty-First Century

The Centre for Public Policy and Governance

at Forman Christian College (A Chartered University)

Cordially invites you

to join us for the book launch of


 ‘China-Pakistan Relations in the Twenty-First Century’

Moderated by Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Professor & Director CPPG


Thursday 01th June, on Zoom 5PM (PKT)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 812 8136 8633    

Passcode: 708820


About the Author

Ayesha Siddique is currently working as a Research Associate at the

Centre for Public Policy and Governance at Forman Christian College.

Her research focuses on contemporary China. She graduated from the

Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in 2016, majoring

in Accounting and Finance and minoring in Political Science. She

completed her MPhil in Public Policy in 2019 from the Forman

Christian College, where she was a recipient of the Forman Merit

Scholarship and, upon graduation, awarded the Postgraduate Medal.

Alongside her academic and research work, she likes to volunteer her

time to help and support those in need.


Distinguished Commentators

Professor Katharine Adeney is a Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Nottingham. She has worked on politics in Pakistan and India for over 25 years and in 2007 published the book Federalism and Ethnic Conflict Regulation in India and Pakistan. She works on issues of democracy, federalism, CPEC and ethnic conflict in South Asia. She has recently

published on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and has co-authored an article in Asian Survey on ‘The Impact of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on Pakistan’s Federal System: The Politics of the CPEC’ and a report for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, co-authored with Filippo Boni on ‘How China and Pakistan Negotiate’.


Ambassador Masood Khalid is a career diplomat with experience of more than four decades representing Pakistan internationally. His most recent engagement was as Ambassador of Pakistan to China (January 2013 – July 2019). Previously he has been High Commissioner for Pakistan to Malaysia (2010-2013) and Ambassador of Pakistan to Republic of Korea (2005-2007).


He has also been part of the foreign mission of Pakistan in Uzbekistan, the UK and has been Deputy Permanent Representative, Pakistan Permanent Mission to UN in New York (2001-2005). Ambassador Khalid has attended State-level summits of Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Developing Eight (D 8), Belt and Road Forum (BRF) and has also participated in CPEC related interaction and negotiations.

A Map for Engaging Academic Scholarship

The Centre for Public Policy and Governance at
Forman Christian College (A Chartered University)
Cordially invites you to

join us for a workshop on:
‘Fields of Knowledge and Dialogical Research: A Map for Engaging Academic Scholarship’
By Dr. Chad Haines
On Monday 28th May, 5 PM

Venue: Rt. Rev. Alexander John Malik Public Policy seminar room E-002


Dr. Chad Haines is a cultural anthropologist whose interests are broadly concerned with urbanism, modernity, and the contemporary Muslim world. He is Associate Professor at the Arizona State University in various capacities, including at the Religious Studies School of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies, Senior Global Futures Scholar (Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory) and Honors Faculty (Barrett, The Honors College). He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Religious Studies and in Global Studies on Islam, modernity, post coloniality, and globalization. 


Haines has authored the monograph Nation, Territory, and Globalization in Pakistan: Traversing the Margins (Routledge, 2012and is co-editor of Women and Peace in the Islamic World: Gender, Agency, and Influence (I.B. Taurus 2015) and the forthcoming People’s Peace: Prospects for a Human Future.

faculty testing 1


Institutional Development in Peace Building and Conflict Resolution Program

Research Topic : Peace & Conflict Resolution


CPPG will assist a total of twelve M. Phil level students, six each year for two consecutive years, whose thesis topic falls within the domains of broad Peace and Conflict Studies including conflict analysis, conflict management and mitigation, drivers of conflict, radicalization and violent extremism. These students will be provided both a research grant for field work as well as technical supervision in addition to their designation university supervisor. After short listing and selecting the candidates taking into account both geographic and gender diversity, they will be supported through a three day workshop comprising of Research Methods, and one-on-one meeting with an assigned supervisor, to be concluded with presentations where invited faculty would provide further feedback. Over the course of the year, the selected scholars will be expected to correspond with their assigned supervisor at least once a month and asked to submit a short field research report at the end of six months. Scholars will be expected to present their thesis at the end of nine months for feedback and final thesis after 11 months. Scholars are expected to submit their final thesis as well as a short thesis paper.

Grant Partner : United States Institute for Peace (USIP)

Publications of that project : Politics of Governance: Reforms in South Waziristan Agency

Project Start Date : 1-Jul-16
Project End Date : 30-Jul-18

Project Team: 

Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Project Director
Raheem ul Haque, Project Coordinator



Kanwar Anwaar Ali

Executive MA Class of 2020

“I am currently working in the Planning and Development Board, Government of Punjab as Deputy Secretary, which is an apex body for development planning in the Punjab where challenges about evidence-based Public Policy formulation, analysis, implementation, and appraisal of policies and programs for development in the Punjab Province are a daily task list. Doing Executive Masters in Public Policy at CPPG, FC College was instrumental in aiding my professional career and honed my policy analysis skills. I was allowed to contribute to human development and social protection policy reforms in the Punjab province.”

Dr. Ayra Indrias Patras

Executive MA Class of 2011

“My time at CPPG in pursuit of a degree in Public Policy and Governance has broadened my prospects. I have been immensely motivated and encouraged by my Professors at CPPG to pursue Ph.D. in Gender Studies. Although my academic year ended in 2011 at CPPG, the constant support of academic advice from my Professors was extremely helpful in my doctoral studies too. CPPG has equipped me with the quest for intellectual inquiry. My interaction with diverse public and private organizations through various seminars at CPPG has allowed me to build my networking and social capital skills. Returning to FCCU with a Ph.D. degree in hand and being positioned as Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science is a rewarding experience for me.”

Rizwan Dawood

MPhil Class of 2019

“Being an alumnus of MPhil CPPG Batch’19, I am currently serving as a full time lecturer in the department of History & Pakistan Studies, FCCU. CPPG has enabled me to analyze the issues critically. The course that I am teaching in FCC mainly focuses on the history, present and the future aspects of Pakistan. CPPG equipped me with the knowledge that aids me to conduct discussions in the classroom and maintain a healthy environment that enables learning at both ends. From political leadership to governance and economy to international relations, along with globalization and institution building, this post-graduate program revolves around various areas that are relevant to the subject that I teach. Moreover, the workshops/seminars that CPPG conducted further helped me gain a broader perspective. I am utilizing my research skills and polishing them further by working under the supervision of Director CPPG, Dr. Saeed Shafqat on a monograph that will soon be published.”

Ali Murad Khokhar

MPhil Class of 2017

“I am an Educationist now. I started my own school with the name of The Cédre School, after graduating from CPPG back in 2018, Alhumdulilah now is running at its full capacity. It’s because of CPPG that I was able to identify the main problem in our country and that is the lack of good education at primary level. Also it’s because of CPPG that I am imparting the skills of research and critical evaluation to our young generation. It is for the first time that in a small city like Kasur, people are getting education based on modern techniques at a very low fee. Just three years in this profession and we are already competing with big names such as City School, LGS and American Lyceum”.

Zainab Altaf

MPhil Class of 2016

Zainab Altaf is currently the Communication, Community, and Gender Specialist for PICIIP II, a Government of the Punjab and Asian Development Bank project for improving municipal service delivery in 7 cities. She also holds a doctoral place at the University of Edinburgh’s prestigious School of Social and Political Sciences.

“As a development practitioner, I owe the ability to synthesise policy frameworks with the situational context to CPPG’s interdisciplinary approach to teaching public policy and governance. The Centre’s focus on research methodologies gave me not just the skill set, but also the confidence, to undertake empirical research in Gilgit-Baltistan, a project that informed my subsequent work in the education sector in Punjab. CPPG does not simply teach the theoretics of public policy. It also presents its students with the opportunity to interact with leading development practitioners and academics through policy dialogues and seminars. Participating in those consultations empowered me to engage with not just policy makers, but also the diverse socio-economic communities impacted by policy decisions. The hands-on learning experience at CPPG has enabled me to conduct multiple FGDs, write policy briefs, and provide evidence-based recommendations to policy makers on topics as diverse as innovation in education, local governance, and sustainable livelihoods”

Ashab Lodhi

Executive MA Class of 2021

Ashab was part of the delegation of Future Team Pakistan (FTP). He attended different workshops on youth competence and empowerment at EurAsia Global Youth Forum 2021. He was the only delegate from Pakistan and presented on The Role of Human Potential (Career-SkillsInstitutes And Job Market) at the forum’s closing.

Experience at CPPG

“Looking back at the time, I see that there was a lot of help from my institution and mentors in grooming me for this time. Of course, if it were not for CPPG, I would not have been able to get here, and for that, I would be forever indebted to them. The informative courses enabled me to perform on a higher level at the EurAsia Global Youth Forum, 2021, Russia, on various discussions and were the reason I was one of the standouts in a forum that had no less than seventy-seven other country’s delegates. In my personal experience, Russia and Pakistan have much in common, with similar levels of hospitality, struggles in life, a traditional and cultural approach in the society and similar expectations of the youth. Their main problems include quality education, quality of life, mental health, lack of interest in climate change, sexism, unemployment, the gap between genders due to World War II, and environmental protection in Russia and Europe. When it comes to quality of life, young people are eager for financial independence, but they acquire it much later due to problems with finding a job. Many are hired through connections and even if they find a job they are not registered according to the requirements. They do not have enough free time, and a great deal of work is handed to them because they are “new and youthful”. Also, there are no job opportunities for youth in rural areas or small cities. That’s why nearly everyone moves to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, or other big cities. The issues were discussed openly at the forum by the delegates from Russia and 77 other countries that come under EurAsia (Europe-Asia). The solutions discussed included the importance to have unity among the youth from around the world in raising their voices and giving a wake-up call to their governments, the ones in authority, and the ones who can bring about change. It also was discussed that awareness is the key to every problem as awareness brings understanding, and understanding brings change. The Russian youth’s openness with delegates, as well as their desire to interact with and learn from them, was particularly inspiring, as it demonstrated Russia’s gradual evolution toward inclusivity. One thing is for sure the youth is eager for change, they are ready to fight for their rights, they look to the future with a lot of energy and enthusiasm, although it is not easy at all.”

Aleena Afzal

MPhil Class of 2022

Aleena from the MPhil program got a Fulbright scholarship at New York University for MA in Political Science. She was also an intern at CPPG.

Experience at CPPG

“ I started out as an intern at CPPG in 2019 after graduating with a degree in history. Almost a year later, I went on to pursue an MPhil in Public Policy here. My time at CPPG has played a significant role in helping me get where I am today. During my time here, I have had the opportunity to learn from the best of the best and I couldn’t be more grateful! Studying Comparative Politics at NYU as a Pakistani student so far has made me realise that there is an immense gap in accessible research from Pakistan and that we have a long road ahead of us. However, that gap has also allowed me to bring the Pakistani perspective to the table in my classes. NYU is known for its diverse student body and inclusivity, more often than not, this has made me feel at home. I hope to make an impactful contribution to the research community while representing Pakistan for the two years that I am here.”

World on Fire

World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability by Amy Chua (2002).

By Neha Malik

Amy Chua is a well-known American lawyer, legal writer, and scholar. She is John M. Duff Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her areas of expertise include international business, ethnic conflict, and globalisation. Her book World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global Instability was a New York Times bestseller, and both The Economist and the UK’s Guardian have named it one of the Best Books of the Year 2002. In the book, Chua highlights the dark side of globalisation. She makes an argument of how there are winners and losers of globalisation. Some countries have benefitted from this phenomenon, but developing countries had to deal with its consequences. As a result, a market-dominated minority emerged, contributing to socio-economic injustice, ethnic hatred, and regional instability. To support her arguments, she provides examples from Africa, Russia, and Southeast Asia. It is a must-read book as it highlights the adverse effects of globalisation and how different regions in the world are affected by it. Although the book was published almost twenty years ago, I believe it is still relevant, particularly since countries’ dependency on one another in terms of international trade and investments has grown, influencing mainstream society on multiple levels: socially, politically, and economically. I would recommend this book as a must-read especially to have a better understanding of the rise of right-wing parties around the world, protectionist policies, and ethnic conflicts.


Information about Amy Chua https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/authors/4934/amy-chua/

Image Source

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/27643/ world-on-fire-by-amy-chua/

Circular History of Pakistan

Book Review by Dr. Saeed Shafqat

Asim Imdad Ali, who joined the Civil Services of Pakistan in the early 1990s as a DMG officer (now labeled as the Pakistan Administrative Service (PAS)), having served for about a decade and half. He opted out to enter the corporate world and excelled there as well. He has crafted a spectacular, wide ranging, and satirically innovative narrative that circles around Pakistan while also exposing awkward truths about British rule of undivided India and its lingering effects that continue to haunt and chaperon the region. The book is based on his observations, reflections and interpretations of Pakistan. Lamenting the fact that from inception to contemporary times, in each decade the actors may change but the play and setting continues to stay and reappears. Stylistic expression of the prose is absorbing and for some may evoke images of V.S Naipaul –the parables, metaphors and fictionalization of events and personalities are provocative and tantalizing. For example, which Pakistani leaders come to your mind if a reference is made to Cromwell and Napoleon or if you are a fruit lover, from the ‘Guava Orchards of Larkana’ to ‘Java Plum’ from Gowalmandi Lahore? The author leaves it to your imagination and I will also encourage you to read the book and discover… The title of the book is deceptive as it ventures to reveal and untangle more than the ‘circular history’ of Pakistan. The book provides insights on the rivalries and complexities of our relations with the neighboring states, and the intricacies of interactions with the great powers. Asim has divided the book in three parts, the first part is titled, ‘Our Circular History’, which has eleven chapters, the second part is titled, ‘ Chronicles of Our Times’, which has thirteen chapters and the third part is titled, ‘Future Panoramic Realities’, which comprises of eight chapters. Although each part is distinct and there is an underlying theme which evokes ‘challenge and response thesis’ of the legendary British historian Arnold J. Toynbee—societies and civilizations, which are unable to meet and respond to the challenges of the times, decline, wither away and vanish. In that continuum Asim reminds the readers that the ‘guardian angels’ and their ‘plantlets’ continue to repeat the same mistakes, do not learn and mend their ways. Hence in the case of Pakistan, an erosion of values and institutions is visible and this emerging trend is perpetuating the vicious cycle of corruption, misgovernance, and people are losing faith in the very structure and functioning of our governments. Asim cautions this erosion and decline must be arrested if we care about our future generations. He asserts, we must learn from the past and avoid repeating the same mistakes and ‘re-enactments’ of tragedies of our ‘circular history’ but how? There is no clear answer. As noted above the book is an engaging read, however, I want to draw the attention of the readers to chapters 7 & 8 and chapters 23 and 24 in particular. In chapter 7, while analyzing the, ‘ever changing tunes of politicians’, Asim brings to light the role of “guardian angels” in making the selection of political elites, modeling their political and financial fortunes and in the process, how military, bureaucracy and politicians create an illusion of democracy and demonize the ‘respect for vote’ and ridicule, ‘we the people’. He digs into policy making in colonial times and astutely recalls for us that Guardian Angels are not a post independence creation but the British spawned this monster of ‘doctrine of necessity’ and military supremacy, when in 1943, Lord Linlithgow, a civilian was replaced by, Lord Archibald Wavell, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army, as Viceroy of India: warily, Asim remarks, ‘the Raj itself gave the top military man the top civilian role!’ In the post-independence period the Americans replaced the British as new patrons. The Guardian Angels were quick to acquire training and expanded and institutionalized their supremacy through, what Asim calls ‘external geo-rentals’, —latching on to America in its mission to ‘contain Communism’. Thus rulers of Pakistan have developed a habit of ‘rent-seeking’ through its geo-strategic location. This helped the ‘Napoleons and Cromwells’ to implant the ‘Yes Minister’ politicians. The Guardian Angels, and the implantations in their own ways worked overtime to tame and politicize and corrupt the bureaucracy (presumably, ‘naive and innocent’). Continuing on the theme, Asim provides an insightful and critical appraisal of the bureaucracy’s evolution, development and in his assessment ‘decay’ (Chapter 8). It is reflective and experiential, therefore, he divides it into seven ages, from ‘the age of Steel-Frame’ to the‘ age of Mandarins to Napoleon’ and fast forward to ‘the age of Business’ and according to him each age shows signs of decadence, thus he ends it on the promise of a better future for the bureaucracy by seeking refuge in a philosopher’s quote; ‘While I breathe, I hope’. In that spirit, he highlights the competitive and merit driven origins of Indian Civil Service in the 1860’s, acknowledging that it was meant to rule, collect revenue, maintain order and in the process craft semblance and substance of ‘just rule’ for the British Raj. The narrative on the decline, decay and corruption of ‘men of integrity’ that Philip Woodruf so assiduously built in Men Who Ruled India resonates in his chapter as well. Yet, like many of the ICS/CSP and eventually DMG/PAS ‘breeds’ he finds it hard to fathom and own the 1973 Civil Services Reforms and the Common Training Program (CTP) that it created, thus for the DMG/PAS wallas the vicious ‘circular history’ endures. Conceptually, it is fallacious to assume that civil services could be ‘apolitical’. Late Aminullah Chaudhry-a CSP and author of Political Administrators: The Story of the Civil Service of Pakistan, has judiciously remarked; “Given the powers that they were equipped with, members of the ICS/CSP could not but act to perpetuate the status quo”, he continues to add, “The civil service is as politicized as the armed forces, big business, lawyers, doctors, and educationists, the feudal and trading classes’’. Ironically, such is the ‘circular history of Pakistan’, how can we deliberate on creating an alternative to this ‘path dependency? In the third part, ‘Future Panoramic Realities’, Asim departs from the domestic to global and that obviates the ‘circular history’ and widens the range of his interpretation. Analyzing the superpower rivalry, he supports the emerging scholarly consensus that the balance of power is drifting away from the West and towards the East. While comparing India and China, he is torn between his liberal thinking and pragmatic realism. He is sympathetic and favorably inclined towards Indian democracy and its growing fault lines do alarm him to raise the critical question; is India destined to falter like Pakistan’s ‘circular history’? Grudgingly this leads him to acknowledge the rise of China. While recognizing the merits of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Asim digs into the history of Silk Road and draws our attention to two game-changing invasions—the Mongol Invasion (1258 AD) and the Ottoman’s conquest of Constantinople (1453 AD) that disrupted the flow of trade through the Muslim lands, from Europe to Asia. Asim incisively remarks; “The European businesses could not use the old land routes to Asia ‘’. That paved the way for the Europeans to turn towards the seas and led to the emergence of the ‘age of discovery’ and rise of colonialism. By reviving the Silk Road—BRI, China is restoring that ‘disruption’ the Mongols and Ottomans created! For future generations- Pakistani youth, Asim recommends investment in quality education, skills development, change in attitude orientation and technology. Are there any takers? Imdad Asim Ali’s, Circular History of Pakistan, is a commendable effort, highly engaging, and an insightful book that makes the history of contemporary Pakistan and its relations with the outside world both entertaining and thought provoking; academia, policy makers, media persons, business groups, university students and most importantly, civil and military bureaucrats would find it informative and useful.

About the Author

Dr. Saeed Shafqat is Professor and Founding Director of CPPG

Contestations of Pakistani National Identity: Are we moving towards a less religious, more inclusive identity?

CPPG, FC College at Madison, Wisconsin (virtually)

In 2019, I decided to form an FCCU panel for the prestigious Annual Conference on South Asia at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in the United States. I invited former and current FCCU colleagues to join in. The panel included Chairman Political Science Department Ryan Brasher, Associate Professor Department of History Dr. Umber bin Ibad, and a former FCCU colleague who has now settled in the US, Dr. Charles Ramsey. The conference was supposed to be held in October 2020. The panel proposal was accepted and all four of us planned to meet at the beautiful campus in Madison, Wisconsin. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic intervened. Initially, the conference organizers thought there was no need to change plans as the conference was several months away but, as time passed, it was clear the pandemic was going to stay. So, the conference was canceled. The news was disappointing for all of us but what could any of us, or the conference organizers, do. We were told that the conference would be held in 2021. In 2021, the success of the vaccination drive in the US raised our hopes and we again started dreaming of meeting. However, out of an abundance of caution, the conference organizers decided that the conference would be held online. In summer 2021, Ryan also departed for the US. So, our panel was evenly split between Pakistan and the US. Finally, the time arrived and the 49th Annual Conference on South Asia was held on October 20-24. Our panel was given the time slot of 3.45 pm to 4.30 pm CST on 23 October which was a very awkward time for Umber and me (1.45 am Sunday morning) but we were glad to, at last, be part of it. At the start of our panel, I introduced the participants and their papers, and then each one of us gave a paper presentation. The first paper, by Dr. Ryan Brasher, explored the dynamics of the uncritical acceptance of patriotism and Pakistani national identity by Christian and Muslim students in Lahore. Dr. Ryan’s research, counterintuitively, found that Christian students were likely to exhibit high levels of both uncritical patriotism and adherence to national identity. More surprisingly, his surveys showed that ethnic cleavages were more salient than religious ones as an ethnic minority (Pashtuns) students professed considerably less attachment to uncritical patriotism as compared to their Punjabi (Muslim and Christian) compatriots. The second paper, by Dr. Umber bin Ibad, examined the increasing controversies of national memory because of globalization. He questioned the singularity of the stateheld political imagination. He argued that the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor showed that the diasporic influences, tied with local voices, have created the potential for a non-antagonistic reimagination. Framing the study within the politics of memory literature, Dr. Umber’s study unpacked the multiple threads of remembering the nationalistic heritage of contemporary Pakistan. The third paper by me studied the contestation of national identity by comparing two Pakistan Army Museums, opened half a century apart in Rawalpindi and Lahore. I, based on academic literature, argued that Army museums can provide useful insights to understand how the Pakistani military wanted to construct or shape the identity of the country it controls. Many authors have argued that the military’s narrative was not evolving and it continued to show a strong proclivity for Islam and a hatred for India. My comparative analysis, however, demonstrated that the narratives weaved in the two museums using exhibits, galleries, and selection of heroes are not the same. The army museum in Lahore, opened in 2017, was less Islamic and anti-India and promotes a more inclusive, territorially-based national identity. The last paper, by Dr. Charles Ramsey, unpacked the ideological underpinnings of the movement away from Islamism in Pakistan. The author explores the concept of post-Islamism and expounds on how the religious thought of Ahmad Ghamidi, an Islamic scholar, could serve as both a harbinger and a catalyst for a new national narrative. The author also contrasted and rejected Islamism as an accurate descriptor of the aims of the traditional Hanafi schools of thought prevalent in South Asia. After the presentations, there was a lively question-answer session. In the end, I thanked all the participants.

Event covered by Dr. Raja M. Ali Saleem

About the Author

Dr. Saleem is an Associate Professor at CPPG. His research interests include religious nationalism, politics of Pakistan and Turkey, Islamist politics, and financial management

Evidence Based Policymaking during Covid: The Media and Government’s Public Messaging

Mr. Bilal Lakhani is a recipient of the James A Wechsler Award for International Reporting and a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. He has a decade long global corporate career in communications and is a senior columnist for the Express Tribune. CPPG invited Mr. Lakhani for a conversation with Ms. Saba Shahid on August 18, 2020.

Mr. Lakhani began by explaining that managing the Covid-19 pandemic has been a challenge for all governments globally. Public messaging globally made institutions and the public uncertain, not only in Pakistan. However, Pakistan has fared better than most countries and this is due to evidence-based policymaking and reliance on data. Strict lockdowns were against the social structure of the state: as widespread poverty, inequality and a large informal sector characterised by daily wagers made it impossible to shut down economic activity. The speaker highlighted that strategies of communicating effectively with the public were necessary as these helped complement the government’s decisions with respect to the economy. Otherwise, a certain class could afford to change human behavior willingly, not those who have to leave the house for livelihood. Mr. Lakhani emphasized the success of Pakistan handling the Covid-19 situation, which in an interview was appreciated by Bill Gates as well. The availability of demographic data was accessed through polio registrations data district by district, which proved reliable and relevant. On the other hand, opposition and private media responded to this behavior of the government as the confusion that caused distrust among the public. Despite all the pressures, the government followed the plan of evidence-based policymaking that proved healthy to the circumstances. Event covered by Mansoor Ahmad

The CPEC’s impact on Pakistan’s Cultural Hybridization through Media

Dr. Kiran Hassan, Research Associate Fellow at School of Advance Study, (London) and Coordinator Media Freedom Initiative at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies UK, was invited to deliver a talk on December 17, 2020.

Hassan began her talk by presenting her article on the new narrative of CPEC’s media and cultural influence. She highlighted the prominence of China in the region and how the Chinese state is formulating policies to integrate people with their culture through media, academic fellowships, and language institutions. Furthermore, she added , China is investing millions of dollars in technical support to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries including Pakistan. Surveillance systems as part of ‘smart cities’ in Pakistan are being built by companies such as Huawei and ZTE. The joint media collaborations between China and Pakistan held through different TV shows, advertisements, and publications have created an environment of cultural exchange among the public. The Chinese newspaper “Huashang” in Pakistan hit 26,000 readers in the first edition, representing a sign of media effectiveness and popularity. China has heavily invested in the technical field of Pakistan. Pakistan’s step towards digitization has strong Chinese support. Zong, the second-largest data providing company, is owned by China. Chinese-owned Social Media Networks (SNS) (such as TikTok and WeChat) are widely used in Pakistan. The session noted that the 2019 CPEC media forum focused on combating fake news and tales affecting the CPEC. In 2018, Pakistan and China agreed to collaborate in areas like culture, art, research, press, and publication. She pointed out; Chinese are opening five Confucius Institutes in Pakistan. People are studying the Chinese language to improve their living conditions and job chances, while social media sites are supporting CPEC. People are learning the Chinese language to improve their living conditions and job chances, while social media sites constantly appraise CPEC. China is presenting itself positively through electronic and print media. Even China and Islam are very comfortable in the cultural exchange, contrary to the western discourse. This is evidenced through the number of marriages taking place between Chinese and Pakistani couples. Dr. Kiran’s research highlighted the significant ways in which cultural exchanges are taking place between China and Pakistan, indicating avenues for further exchange between the two countries. Event covered by Mansoor Ahmad 

Why Think Tanks Matter: A Virtual Forum

CPPG in collaboration with CBS, LUMS, held a discussion on the importance of think tanks in policy discourse of Pakistan on January 29, 2021.

This event was a collaborative discussion among various representatives from Pakistani think tanks. The panelists in the event highlighted the importance of think tanks in policy discourse, scope, challenges, and solutions to development problems. For example, the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) has brought sufficient research material in the context of climate change and food security in light of public and policy discourse. The Alif Ailaan campaign was also successful in creating awareness and bringing to the public’s attention the flaws in the education system. The data in the public domain is the outcome of think tanks’ efforts and research. Policymakers, academics, corporate sector, political parties, and society, according to panelists, should all be participating in policy making discourse. The formulation of the Environmental Policy Act 1997, and the debate around the construction of Orange Line trains damaging the heritage sites were all efforts of different think tanks, thus highlighting its importance in Pakistan’s policy discourse. The session also noted how think tanks create a forum for dialogue amongst the individuals and highlight the issues and concerns that have been distant from the media’s limelight. Researchers aim to bring a more nuanced understanding to various issues in an objective manner. The panelists also highlighted some of the main problems these organisations face. For instance, being associated with an academic institute could takes away the independence of researchers as the administration continues to change the agendas that may not accord with the ideology of the think tank. The second was to find the appropriate skill set and achieve the funding and sponsors. Another significant challenge identified was the absence of long-term research orientation.

The discussion ended on a high note, with panelists emphasising the need of such organisations and agreeing on a single strategy. The role of think tanks must be strengthened as they are major contributors to evidencebased analysis, data collection and data-driven policy recommendations. Event covered by Neha Malik

Managing the Durand Line: Stakeholder Perspectives

By Hanzala Khan

MPhil Quaid-e-Azam University 2018


The current Pakistan-Afghanistan border – also known as the Durand Line – was drawn during the British Raj as a buffer zone in a geopolitical contest between the British and the Russian empires.73 When Pakistan gained independence in 1947, it inherited the Durand Line, which now forms the international border between Pakistan and Afghanistan. However, Pak-Afghan relations have not always been friendly, and at times have been marked by pronounced hostility due to the contested nature of the Durand Line.74 The Durand Line and its adjacent areas were a hotspot during the Cold War due to their geo-strategic importance. After the US led War on Terror, these areas became a safe haven for reclusive Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.75 A particular reason for continuous militancy in the border region is the porous nature of the border.76 Further, due to illegal movement and cross border attacks, the Pak-Afghan border came to be viewed as a vital security problem for Pakistan. This prompted a debate in the country about the appropriate border management of the Durand Line,77 and with increased cross border attacks, border management emerged a core issue between Pakistan and Afghanistan as both countries blamed each other for terrorism in their respective countries. The decision of fencing the border was taken after the attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar on December 16, 2014. The chalking out of the National Action Plan in 2015 and the admission of TTP’s former spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan of support from Afghan and Indian intelligence agencies, further advocated for effective measures for border control. This compelled Pakistan to unilaterally install vigorous border management including fences, trenches, security forts and a surveillance system. However, different voices including that of the Afghanistan government as well as civil society in Pakistan have raised reservations regarding this unilateral action.

Research Objective, Questions, Methodology and Framework:

This study is an attempt to understand the Pakistani initiatives of managing the Durand Line. It asks, what are the initiatives taken by Pakistan to secure its border effectively in the post 9/11 era and whether the official stance of Pakistan and Afghanistan, coincide or differ with the perceptions of local communities and civil society on border management? The study uses the theoretical framework of Integrated Border Management (IBM), a concept developed by the European Union in 2001 to ensure more secure borders as a part of its internal security strategy.78 IBM is a pro-active solution which reduces loopholes at an institutional, infrastructural and human resource level by establishing robust coordination to achieve the objective of open, but well protected borders.79 Through intra-service cooperation of IBM, integration of operational capacities, and definition of management practices and information sharing within agencies, all forms of cross-border infiltrations can be combatted. Similarly, cooperation between officials on both sides of the border is vital for proper border security which can be achieved through joint agreements, regional and international initiatives and by conducting joint actions.80 The research is qualitative in nature. Primary data was collected by interviewing experts on Pak-Afghan affairs both from Pakistan and Afghanistan, by interviewing journalists especially from the tribal belt, and by interviewing the local people of the area. Further, secondary data was taken from journals, newspapers, articles, books, content analysis and internet sources etc.

Pakistan’s Border Management Initiatives:

The phased fencing of the Pak-Afghan border started in mid-2017 with 432 km of fence set up in high [militant] infiltration areas like Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies, whereas areas like Khyber and Kurram agencies comprising 400km length, will be fenced later.81 About 150-kilometers of fencing in Bajaur, Mohmand and Khyber agencies is complete.82 A total of 338 border posts and small military fortifications are to be constructed by the end of 2019.83 Advanced surveillance technologies like drones, radars and control systems have also been deployed along the border.84 Gates in different agencies to facilitate legal entries are going to be constructed.85 Moreover, it is now necessary to present valid travel documents in order to cross the border. Pakistani passport is now mandatory for cross-border movement by Pakistani nationals with the exception of Shinwari tribesmen who have been granted special ‘rahdari’ (permit) status.86 Initiatives for regulating trade with Afghanistan like National Tax Number, import permission, payment receipts, grading certificate, certificate from the chamber of commerce to check drugs and smuggling have also been made a part of the management process.87 Afghanistan’s Stance on Border Management: Afghanistan has always rejected any unilateral initiatives to fence the border88 and argues that unilateral actions along the Durand Line will be ineffective without Afghanistan’s agreement. The Afghan embassy’s political advisor argues that fencing will only deepen the mistrust on both sides of the border with serious implications for both countries.89 Others consider fencing a harsh reality of dividing local peoples on both sides of the border. According to Mehdi Ahmad Munadi, Head of the Research Institute, Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS), Kabul, “The problem is deep rooted and fencing will simply divide the people which can have serious implications. People to people management is needed which will help in combating the issue properly”.90 In addition, Senior Policy and Program Advisor, Ministry of Education, Afghanistan, Dr Attaullah Wahidyar made the same assertion on fencing the border. He said, “Border management is not an issue but fencing the border is. Efforts are needed to get rid of the terrorists’ safe havens on both sides of the border. Greater economic integration is necessary which will help in improving bilateral ties. This fencing will dim the prospects of any cooperation between the two states”.91

Pakistan’s Official Stance on Fencing: Pakistan insists that fencing is instrumental in both monitoring cross-border movement of militants as well as in tackling smuggling. According to Pakistani officials, the presence of militants in Afghanistan makes the fencing necessary.92 The then Foreign Minister Khwaja Asif insisted that the only aim of the fence is elimination of terrorism. Objections on the fence are meaningless when there are already examples of such measures in other parts of the world.93 The security officials are very much cognizant about the significance of border fencing. According to Major General Nauman Zakaria, Commanding Officer in South Waziristan, the fence is an epoch shift which will bring the whole border area under observation once the process is completed.94 Similarly, Maj. Gen (R) Ijaz Hussain Awan was of the view that the “ungoverned zone” in Afghanistan makes Pakistan vulnerable to terrorist attacks compelling Pakistan to secure its border. The only way left for Pakistan was to fence the border to check cross border attacks from Afghanistan.95 However, the management initiatives have received mixed reviews from the local people and intellectuals.

Views of Civil Society on Border Management: The Pakistani civil society of academics, intellectuals, journalists, and members of Parliament are divided on the issue – though most have reservations about fencing the border. Those who agree with fencing see no other option in resolving cross border terrorism. Musa Khan Jalalzai, a UK based Afghan affairs expert, states in his analysis that “..fencing can help in intercepting terrorist’s infiltration from across the Durand Line. It may possibly be effective in weakening insurgent forces. This can stop the blame game between the two countries”.96 Dr. Noreen Naseerargues that “fencing becomes critical due to the emergence of Daesh in the Nangarhar province bordering Pakistan. They regularly infiltrate into the Fata region and carry out deadly attacks. The illegal trade and smuggling in the border region is the main source of terror financing which needs to be managed effectively in the whole management framework”.97 Some accept fencing as a valid step from Pakistan’s side, but also consider addressing the militant issue as more than fencing the border. Peshawar based BBC Correspondent Rehmanullah argues that fencing will not be easy considering the border terrain but after the tragic events of Peshawar Army Public School, the government was forced to take this step as infiltration was a serious threat to Pakistan’s security.98 Others disagree that fencing will make much of a difference while emphasizing that its cost on the human element and on the relationship with Afghanistan will be too high. Pushtoon Intellectual and former Awami National Party (ANP) Parliamentarian, Latif Afridi does not consider fencing as a viable solution to stop cross border infiltration. He argues that fences never solve issues between states and unilateral measures will further de-escalate bilateral ties with Afghanistan with serious implications for the region. Instead, tackling terrorism needs a commonly devised approach encompassing all elements. This requires a radical change in Pakistan’s foreign policy, respect for Afghan sovereignty and non-interference in Afghan internal affairs.99 Similarly, the ANP leader and former Senator Afrasaib Khattak is of the view that fencing the border is primarily military driven and needs to be debated in the parliament as local people have not been consulted which is causing alienation among them. Additionally, it is not earning Pakistan any goodwill in Afghanistan.100 Some interviewees emphasized on keeping the human element at the forefront. They argue that fencing will not stop militant infiltration but rather, it will divide the tribes living along the border. In an interview with Voice of America Pushto Service, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to Afghanistan, Rustam Shah Mohmand said that fencing will have no major counterterrorism impact. However, it will violate “easement rights,” which recognize the right to free movement of tribes along the border. It will thus harm millions for a few terrorists who can easily find new ways to move across the border”.101 Instead, ending no-go areas and giving comprehensive constitutional and economic uplift to the border region of Fata can help in improving the security situation. In this context, Dr. Fazal Saeed argues that, “The recent measures taken by Pakistan pose no good gesture. It is obviously going to add to the misery of local people. The no-go areas with no direct constitutional control in the areas of FATA provide edifice to militant organizations. Elimination of non-state actors, promotion of better ties between the two governments, economic activities and trust building are alternatives to fencing.”102 Ambassador (Retd.) Muhammad Sadiq suggests that it is time to debunk the myths linked with the Durand Line. Fencing the border will not stop criminal infiltration. The legal crossings should be made easier and not problematic, which will otherwise alienate the people. Additionally, the colonial system of Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR) needs structural reforms to make the border region safer.103

Perspective of the Local Population: Based on the above, it becomes critical to assess the perspective of the local population, who are the most important stakeholders. Like members of civil society, there is no consensus about fencing among the local population living in the border regions. The people living very close to the border areas generally support fencing while those living away from the border are skeptical about new management initiatives. During interviews with local people in the area of Charmang and Mahmond in Bajaur Agency near the PakAfghan border, they said that they are in favour of proper management of the border as TTP’s Qari Zia group had bases very near to the Pak-Afghan border in the Kunar province, from where they launched cross border attacks. Moreover once the Pakistan Army started fencing the area, the number of attacks reduced.104 In an interview with Shah G from Kurram Agency, he stated that “the majority of people support proper border management as the emergence of ISIS is a worry for the Shia community of Kurram Agency. The fencing and border management will stop their infiltration into the area”. 105 Similarly, according to Anwarullah Khan, a Dawn News reporter in Bajaur Agency, “fencing is the only option for the Pakistani military to safeguard the border. Establish ment of new posts and other modern surveillance means are necessary to manage the border effectively”.106 A local tribal chief from Bajaur agency, (who wished to remain unnamed due to security issues) goes a step further and says that “the tribal people have suffered a lot from the free movement of all kinds of militants. Pakistan should have fenced the border much earlier.”107 In contrast, Fazal Malik, a resident of the border region is of the opinion that border management is a bilateral issue and both states must build a level of trust with each other. Unilateral measures will further complicate the issue by affecting the social and economic lives of the already marginalized people living here.108 Others consider that a soft border management approach has more benefits for both the neighbors. According to Illam Khan, providing easy access to the markets of Afghanistan and Pakistan can change the violent motives into peaceful ones while fencing will only further create a love for irredentism. Instead, a systematic management approach will solve the problem by improving business opportunities on both sides of the border.109 Rizwan Shinwari goes a step further. He says that “understanding the issues and respecting the sovereignty of each other is vital. Bilateral trade should be increased to mutually benefit each other. The region is now ungoverned, and it is creating a space for other unwanted forces. They can introduce other methodologies for managing it”.110


As a result of increased cross border attacks by TTP militants, Pakistan decided to unilaterally manage the Pak-Afghan border through fences, trenches and other modern surveillance systems. However, this management plan has been rejected by Afghanistan. It argues that fencing the border unilaterally is illegal and will further alienate the local people. Pakistan conversely argues that these objections are meaningless as the security vacuum in the border region makes Pakistan vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and the purpose of the fence is only to stop TTP militants’ infiltration from Afghanistan.Expert opinion varies on fencing based on ethnic ties and trade issues related to the border. A larger number of intellectuals, experts and local people agree to fencing but with additional border management steps like involving local people, considering cross border ethnic linkages, and making legal entries easy on both sides of the border. For example, the local people at Torkham crossing point have the view that border management is essential, but the process is very complicated and lengthy and due to these restrictions, trade has dropped significantly leading to serious impact on the local people.111 Experts argue that the management process needs proper legislation as conceived in the IBM, which must be debated in the parliament. Some experts argue that Pakistan, as advocated in IBM, should seek the cooperation of Afghanistan and utilize other platforms like Tri-Partite Commission between the NATO-led ISAF, Afghanistan and Pakistan for better management of the border. According to some experts and local people, cross border movement – perceived as a real security issue – requires enhancing inter-agency and intra-agency cooperation among agencies deployed on both sides of the border as advocated in IBM. Local people also contend that other alternatives like involving the local people, greater people to people contact, and Fata mainstreaming through a massive economic integration program are more viable options which can stabilize the border region.

Policy Recommendations:

Use the Integrated Border Management (IBM) model to improve border security and minimize illegal movement across the border through proper legislation regarding border management; institutional linkages and coordination among the various border agencies on both sides of the border as well as the involvement of communities living along the border; and by facilitating entries and bilateral trade through legal crossings. Utilize diplomatic initiative to pressurize Afghanistan for establishing an effective joint border mechanism. Pakistan can use different regional and international platforms such as the Tripartite Commission between the NATO-led ISAF, Afghanistan and Pakistan to convince Afghanistan to establish joint border mechanisms. Stabilize and mainstream the border region through a comprehensive political and economic program as these areas are key to peace and stability of the country. Comprehensive social and economic aid is needed to help eliminate decades-long sense of alienation and deprivation among FATA residents, to be able to restore their trust.


Interview with Dr Attaullah Wahedyar, a senior Policy and Program advisor, Ministry of education, Afghanistan on the sidelines of two days international conference on “Achieving peace in Afghanistan: Challenges and Prospects” 10th May 2017. Interview with Hidayatullah Sherzad, Afghan embassy political advisor, Islamabad, 10th December 2018. Interview with Sayed. Mehdi Munadi, Head of Research, Centre for Strategic Studies (CSS) Kabul, Afghanistan, on the sidelines of two days international conference on “Achieving peace in Afghanistan: Challenges and Prospects” 10th May 2017. Interview with Rehmanullah, BBC Corresponding in Peshawar, 10th November 2017. Interview with Rizwan Shinwari, from Khyber Agency, is a Ph.D. at the Centre for Peace and Conflict studies at National University of Science and Technology (NUST), 09th November 2017. Interview with Advocate Latif Afridi, Pushtoon Intellectual and Ex Parliamentarian, 22nd December 2017.Interview with Ambassador ® Muhammad Sadiq, former ambassador of Pakistan to Afghanistan and former National Security Secretary on the side lines of 6th International conference “Dynamics of Change in Pak-Afghan region: Politics on Borderland” 20th August 2017. Interview with Maj. Gen® Ijaz Hussain Awan (HI) on the sidelines of two days international conference on “Achieving peace in Afghanistan: Challenges and Prospects” 10th May 2017. Interview with Musa Khan Jalalzai, Jalalzai is an US based Afghan national who has numerous books on the borderland between Pakistan and Afghanistan and regularly contributes in daily newspapers, 23rd November 2017. Interview with Dr Noreen Naseer, Assistant professor Department of Political Science University of Peshawar, 23rd December 2017. Interview with Anwerullah Khan, Dawn news reporter in Bajour Agency, 10th December 2017. Interview with Fazal Malik, a PhD student at University of Peshawar and a resident of border village, charming in Bajaur Agency, 11th December 2018. Interview with Illam Khan, a resident of Bajour Agency and a Ph.D. student at the Centre for Peace and Conflict studies at National University of Science and Technology (NUST) , 09th November 2017. Interviews with local people in Tarkham 18th November 2017. Interview with local people in Bajour Agency 12th November 2017

Books and Articles

Akram, Zamir. “Pak-Afghan International Border and Regional Security” Hilal (2017). Alburo, F. A. “Policy Coherence and Coordination for Trade Facilitation: Integrated Border Management, Single-Windows and other Options for Developing Countries” The Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade working Paper Series No 57 (2008): 16. Alper, D. K. and Bryant Hammond. “Stakeholder Views on Improving Border Management,” Research Report, No. 8, Border Policy Research Institute, Western Washington University, Bellingham, United States (December 2009)1-60. http://thetbwg.org/downloads/ stakeholderviews.pdf

Asif, K.A. Twitter (2018) https://twitter.com/KhawajaMAsif?ref_src=t wsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5Eauthor “Border fence slowly pacing its way through treacherous Durand line” The Express Tribune (2017) https://tribune.com.pk/story/1535299/border-fence-slowly-pacing-way-treacherous-durandline/ Dastager, Ghulam. “The thin red line: Problems with controlling movement across the Pak-Afghan border” Herald Dawn News (2017). https://herald.dawn.com/news/1153857 Ghazi, Zabihullah. “Closed Pakistan-Afghan Border Causes Pain, Trade Losses” VOA News February 28th, 2017. https://www.voanews. com/a/closed-pakistan-afghan-border-causes-pain-trade-losses/3744162.html “Guidelines for Integrated Border Management in Western Balkans,” OSCE Secretariat (2007):6. https://europa.eu/capacity4dev/ file/21153/download?token=3lOSGDjf Gul, Ayaz. “Planned Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Fence Moves Ahead Despite Objections” VOA (2017). Haroon, Sana. “Frontier of Faith” C. Hurst & Co, United Kingdom (2011): 5. Hilali, A. Z. “Fata: The Strategic Depth of Pakistan,” Margalla Papers (2010): 10. www.ndu.edu.pk/issra/issra_pub/…/02-FATA-The-StratDepth-of-Pakistan.pdf “Integrated Border Management, Global Facilitation Partnership for Transportation and Trade,” The UN Trade Facilitation Network (June 2005):7. https://europa.eu/capacity4dev/file/21153/ download?token=3lOSGDjf “Karzai opposed to border landmines” Aljazeera (2007). http://www. aljazeera.com/news/asia/2007/01/2008525123159104264.html Khan, Amina. “Pak-Afghan Relations after devastating Terror Attacks in Pakistan” Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad ( 2017). Khan, Ismail. “Military pushing ahead with Afghanistan border fencing” Dawn (2017). https://www.dawn.com/news/1379690 Nusrat, Rabia and Zulfiqar Ali Shah. “Afghanistan’s Cross-border Trade with Pakistan and Iran and the Responsibility for Conflict-sensitive Employment,” Boon International Center for Conversion (2017). “Pakistan starts fencing Afghanistan border in high-threat zones,” Reuters, March 27, 2017 Qureshi, S. M. “Pakhtunistan: The Frontier Dispute between Afghanistan and Pakistan” Pacific Affairs, 39, No. 2 (2006):34. http://www. jstor.org/stable/2755184 Rahi. Arwin. “A Counterproductive Afghan-Pakistan Border Closure” The Diplomat (2017). https://thediplomat.com/2017/03/a-counterproductive-afghan-pak-border- closure/ Shah, M. A. The Foreign Policy of Pakistan Ethnic Impacts on Diplomacy 1947-1994 (New York: I.B. Tauris, 1997):181. Siddique, Abubakar. “Can A Fence Help In Fighting Terrorism In Pakistan And Afghanistan?” Ghandaraha (2017):3. https://gandhara.rferl.org/a/afghanistan-pakistan-durand-line-fence/28842512. html Yousafzai, Shahabullah. “New rules hinder trade with Afghanistan at Torkham” The Express Tribune, (2017). https://tribune.com.pk/ story/1549362/2-new-rules-hinder-trade-afghanistan-torkham/ Yousafzai, Shahabullah. “Pakistan Army has Satellite Proof of Afghan Involvement in Cross-Border Terrorism” The Express Tribune, (2017). https://tribune.com.pk/story/1413533/pak-army-satellite-proofafghan-involvement/

Media’s Role in Conflict Resolution: Framing of Government-TTP Dialogue in the Editorials of English and Urdu Newspapers

By Ahsan Raza

MPhil Government College University, Faisalabad 2018


This paper attempts to explore leading Pakistani English and Urdu language newspapers’ editorial treatment of the dialogue process between the Pakistani government and the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), using this as a marker to understand agenda setting and framing by the print media to mold public opinion which could result in influencing government’s policies. In the context of TTP-Government talks, there is little understanding of the role played by the print media as an opinion maker and agenda setter as the government and the state first took a position to negotiate and then to cancel peace talks. Though a newspaper is to present contents in objective ways, it does take liberty in its editorial section to put up the newspaper’s stated policy position on a certain issue. The selection of the issue is done by the board of editorial writers of a newspaper, based on its importance to the readers50. An editorial may represent public sentiments and at the same time aims to convince the government and the public to buy its stated position. In the following pages, this research will analyse how the editorial pages covered the Pakistan Government –TTP dialogues on seeking peace in Pakistan. On January 29, 2014, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif announced in the National Assembly that his government was starting peace talks with the (banned) Tehreek-iTaliban Pakistan (TTP). This initiative of the Government of Pakistan stemmed from the unanimous decision of leaders of the All Parties Conference in Islamabad held on September 9, 2013, recommending that the government should hold talks with the banned TTP to reach a peace deal to stop bloodshed. In the aftermath of 9/11 attacks in America, the US in collaboration with NATO forces invaded Afghanistan to uproot Al Qaeda. This had engulfed Pakistan into a vicious cycle of terrorism and violence. Following this announcement, for almost five years the TTP and Pakistan continued to hold multiple dialogues, while terror attacks and violence in Pakistan persisted and nothing substantive came out; these talks remained empty and inconclusive and the fragile ceasefire broke down. This compelled the government to allow the Pakistan military to launch operation Zarb-i-Azab on June 15, 2014.

Research Questions, Methodology & Theoretical Framework

Occurrence of conflict is sine qua non in relationships between individuals, groups, and nations. Some sort of conflict erupts whenever human beings interact with each other for a long time, and these conflicts can have both positive and negative aspects. Thus most communication experts and sociologists paint not for the eradication of conflict in human relationships but instead to comprehend the nature of conflict they come across, and individuals’ capability to manage and surmount it to escape from the violence that may occur. While the power of media is constrained, as it will never have the capacity to dispose of outfitted clashes out and out or to guarantee enduring peace and wellbeing, Kuusik suggests that media and news coverage can be helpful with refereeing and peace building52. This is because the mass media, through the tools of agenda setting and framing, plays an important role in shaping public opinion, influencing policymakers and analyzing the pressing issues of state and society. . Galtung termed peace journalism as pro-peace, pro-truth, pro-people and pro-solution in contrast with war journalism, which he described as pro-violence, pro-propaganda, pro-elite and pro-differences.53 Galtung and Ruge found that news contents, which glorify some war subjects, can intensify bloodshed54 while events of death and destruction attract more media audience leading to more revenues55, thus creating a cyclical relationship that tends to support war journalism. Howard further adds that even though working media people are determined to conduct unbiased reporting of conflicts, they, however, unknowingly may become a tool for the conflicting parties to spread their objectives, which can result in less peace and more conflict. The research analyzes the extent of editorial coverage of the peace dialogue by leading newspapers; how much stress was given to conflict resolution; what topics were covered while discussing the government-TTP dialogue and lastly what kinds of stances/frames were used in the editorials. For this purpose, the editorials of leading daily English newspapers: Dawn, The Nation, The News, The Express Tribune, The Daily Times, and daily Urdu newspapers: Jang and Nawa-i-Waqt were assessed for the period of January 2014 to July 2014. Both quantitative as well as qualitative analysis was done of the editorials, which were selected through purposive sampling – those containing the key words of ‘peace talks’, ‘peace dialogues’, ‘dialogues’, and ‘talks’ were included in the study. Content analysis of editorials was based on the newspapers’ position on the stances of the Government of Pakistan, the army, the TTP and political parties, regarding the dialogue process. Further, editorials were also analyzed to assess newspapers’ agenda setting role and whether this confirms the theory. For quantitative analysis, the number of related editorials published in each newspaper were calculated, and further, the subject matter of these editorials were categorized as favourable, unfavourable or neutral of the dialogue process. For measurement, the Likert Scale was used, which is often used in social science research to get validity and reliability. In content analysis, reliability is a sort of pact among coders about coders’ categories. In this research, two coders helped the researcher to test inter coder reliability. They, along with the researcher, coded editorials based on select categories. Using Holisti formula, (Reliability = 2M / (N1+N2)), the inter coder reliability was calculated where M is the number of coding rates where two coders agreed, while N1 and N2 represent coding decisions by each of the two coders. After establishing the inter-coder reliability, the total number of all editorials were coded according to the criteria.

Quantitative Analysis

The selected newspapers covered peace talks 543 times in the selected time period from January 2013 to July 2013 with Daily Times, an English daily and Nawa-i-Waqt, an Urdu daily giving the most amount of coverage to peace talks with 118 editorials each and both heavily inclined towards an unfavorable view of the peace talks. The coverage of each newspaper as listed in Figure 1 suggests the following points: one, other than The Nation and Jang, all other newspapers had an overall unfavourable view of the peace talks; two, one can’t suggest a difference in position based on the language of the newspaper because The Nation, an English daily had the most favourable view of peace talks of any newspaper; and lastly one also can’t argue that newspapers of the same media group have similar positions, as The Nation’s sister organization, Nawa-i-Waqt was quite unfavourable towards peace talks as compared to The Nation. However, The News and its sister newspaper, Jang both tilted towards a favourable position with Jang editorials taking a favourable position almost nine times to an unfavourable position.

Comparative Analysis of Editorials

Before dialogue: Most newspapers, regardless of government’ difficult position regarding the dialogue, opposed the dialogue with militants. Dawn in its editorial, “The Wrong Choice” dated January 2, 201457 showed skepticism about the government’s stance on dialogues. It criticized the “so-called strategy” to fight militancy through talks with the militants stating: “On Tuesday, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared to have authorized Samiul Haq, the so-called godfather of the Afghan Taliban because of its leadership’s ties to the maulana’s infamous madressah in Akora Khattak, to reach out to the TTP and set the stage for dialogue. … But how can a known Taliban sympathizer help achieve that?” Given the history of Samiul Haq’s proTaliban stance, the editorial rightly questioned the Prime Minister’s choice of the interlocutor as it could be seen as a sign of weakness on the part of the government. The government’s stated position was to bring the TTP under the writ of the constitution, whereas the TTP had opposite views. The Nation’s editorial, “A Self destructive Agenda” dated January 12, 201458 taunted the government stating that the choice of ‘middleman’ was “worthy of appreciation in itself”. It also narrated Samiul Haq’s past statements to establish that the middleman was not actually in the middle of the two sides, but rather a Taliban supporter which disqualified him for being government’s representative. These editorials questioned the government’s approach in the talks, viewing it as appeasement. The Nation’s sister organization, the Urdu daily Nawa-i-Waqt took a similar position in its editorial “Prime Minister tasks Maulana Samiul Haq with contacting the Taliban and ground realities … peace is our need but the government had better not expose its weaknesses” dated January 2, 201459. It stated that “the militants had continuously challenged the state’s authority while keeping up terrorist and suicide attacks intermittently and slaying both the officials of security forces and innocent citizens. Besides, they had clearly indicated that they would not surrender at any cost and would continue violating the constitution and rules and regulations of the country. In addition to this, the government policy is confused as the dialogue process with all TTP factions cannot be carried out simultaneously.” Lastly, the Daily Times went even further in its editorial, “To be or not to be” dated January 1, 201460, linking terrorism with development of the economy and nation, stating that “terrorism and law and order would not allow the economy to develop unless some action is taken.” However, other dailies did give more space to the government. For example, Tribune’s editorial, “Finding an interlocutor” dated January 2, 201461 stated that “in the grim and debilitating struggle against forces of death and destruction, any action that promises breakthrough must be initiated if it has the unqualified support of all stakeholders’’, thus acquiescing with the government in selecting the cleric on the basis of his influence among the TTP circle. Pakistan’s largest newspaper in terms of circulation, Jang, supported the decision of the government to open talks with the TTP. In its editorial62, “One more chance for peace” dated January 2, 2014, the newspaper said that overall, the public had favoured the government’s decision to hold dialogue with the TTP. Further, it also eulogized the TTP’s Punjabi commander for accepting the government’s offer for dialogue. This optimism however diminished when blasts in Karachi and Hangu claimed the lives of SP Chaudhry Aslam and teenage student Aitezaz Hasan respectively. Tribune editorial, “Recognising our heroes” dated January 12, 2014 now cautioned the government stating, “we know that the government wants to talk to the TTP — and that is fine as long as it has a strategy in mind and given that it has the mandate to pursue peace talks. Yet, the monotone and metronomic manner in which this strategy has been pursued over the last few months seems less like steadfastness and more like a frightened retreat in the face of adversity by authorities that seem to have no strategy but a one-dimensional mindset that this is a war we cannot win or even fight.” Similarly, The News’ editorial, “TTP’s murder spree” dated January 14, 201463 pinpointed that “as for the peace talks, which the government has been touting ever since it came into power, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has now had to admit that they seem to be a distant prospect”. This statement seemed appropriate as within a week of the announcement of the dialogue, the interior minister looked grimed and hopeless about the success of talks because of continued terrorism in the country. Thus, except for Jang, the above editorials show pessimism regarding the initiative even before the dialogue had taken place. This difference of opinion among newspapers was also reflected in the Parliament as the treasury benches were not yet clear about the future of dialogue. Commenting on the first session of Parliament after a recent spike in terror attacks that was skipped by the Prime Minister, the Dawn’s editorial “Indecision yet again” dated Jan 29, 201464 commented that the Interior Minister’s “waffling on the dialogue option was almost cringe-worthy: talking about talks never was a policy and never will be an effective policy”. The Nation’s editorial “Unnerved and undecided” for the same day65 stated: “One faction is calling for a military operation… The other is insistent on holding peace-talks with the terrorists to resolve matters. The PML-N falls in neither of the two categories. The ruling party is unable to take any decision over the course that must be followed to eradicate terrorism from the country”.

During the dialogue: The peace talks began with a controversy over TTP’s choice of representatives as TTP chose its members from mainstream parties including Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Imran Khan, and from the religious right. Dawn’s editorial, “The TTP’s choice” dated February 3, 201466 took these parties as an ally of the TTP stating “The outlawed TTP’s nominees for the team that will negotiate with the government four-member committee on behalf of the Pakistani Taliban is terribly revealing — about the nominees and how they are viewed, and not necessarily by the TTP itself. Here, in short terms, are the five nominees: PTI, JI, JUI-F, Lal Masjid, Father of the Taliban. That the religious right in Pakistan has more in common with extremist ideologies than the democratic and constitutional values that Pakistan is meant to be rooted in is an old open secret. Abdul Aziz of Lal Masjid notoriety and Samiul Haq, long dubbed the ‘father of the Taliban’, do not even attempt to hide with which side their sympathies lie. But Imran Khan?” Similarly, the team also came under fire in Daily Times’ especially it’s title “Imran Khan’s embarrassment” dated February 5, 201467 stating that “as far as the TTP is concerned, they have announced what many believe to be the ideal team from their point of view: all pro-Taliban or at the very least sympathetic to them”. This flurry of criticism influenced a deadlock as Imran Khan and JUI-F’s Mufti Kafayatullah chose to withdraw from the TTP’s committee. On this, The Nation’s editorial “Comedy of terrors’’ dated February 5, 201468 wrote, “It seems the cat was set among the pigeons by the government’s naming of a committee to negotiate with the Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP), because the TTP’s own attempts to name a committee has been marred by withdrawals.Not only the committee, but TTP’s demands also came under criticism. The News’ editorial “Agendas” dated February 11, 201469 deliberated Taliban’s wish list and commented, “The 15-point agenda of the TTP is a mixture of demands that are broadly reasonable and some that are completely out of bounds. Asking for equal rights for both rich and poor is surely something that can be accepted by all and calling for an end to drone strikes is something that is already the position of every political party in the country … But then the TTP also wants Sharia law in the courts and Islamic education in schools, and since we know exactly how narrow and twisted the group’s definition of religion is, this is not something the government will be or should be able to accept. Withdrawing troops from the tribal areas and releasing TTP prisoners cannot be carried out either until we are sure that the TTP has truly stopped carrying out attacks.” Similarly, the government’s committee also came under criticism as Tribune’s editorial “Talking peace” dated January 31, 201470 stated that “The government needs to be more forthcoming about the committee’s mandate and the agenda that the talks will follow. Also, it must be noted that no parliamentarian has been included in the committee.” It was only after the TTP offered ceasefire that there was some appreciation of the peace process as Jang’s editorial, “Positive Development: Peace Talks”71 welcomed it saying: “Notwithstanding the fact that the diligent accomplishment of the dialogue process at the first stage is sine qua non for peace building in the country, the whole nation had waited for it for a long time. Leadership of both sides handled these situations with harmony and mutual understanding. Both parties had compromised and the dialogue process was held in an unknown place in North Waziristan”. Breach of Ceasefire: When the ceasefire was breached by the TTP, the Nawa-i-Waqt’s editorial titled “Dialogue is only possible with unconditional ceasefire by the Taliban”72 explained that “the government dialogue committee presented its stance clearly that the dialogue process could not proceed until TTP stopped the violent proceedings. Whereas, TTP commander described the government’s non-serious behavior in dialogue and threatened the government to face unbearable circumstances in case the dialogue could not be continued.”


Overall, the majority of newspapers kept a hardline view during the dialogue process by showing a harsh response towards talking to the militants, who they considered responsible for a relentless spree of death and destruction, and non-believers in the state or the constitution. Though their tenor differed as The Nation called TTP as terrorists while Dawn’s editorial called them militants. Only the Urdu newspaper Jang tilted towards dialogue. But, this newspaper could not come up with a clear condemnation even when militants openly owned up to terrorist attacks. Most took the government to task for its unclear and vague policy to tackle militancy through dialogue, and portrayed negotiations as a sign of state’s surrender to a group of non-state militants who aimed to dictate their terms to a state with a large standing army. Thus, instead of showing restraint, they favored military action against the militants. Even a ceasefire offer by the militants or the army was viewed as a shaky arrangements and a time-buying tactic of the TTP to regroup for another rein of terrorism. Thus, every move by the state to further dialogue was discouraged by a majority of editorials as the newspapers, especially the English press, rejected the dialogue from the very beginning. Writing 543 editorials on the dialogue process by seven selected newspapers over a seven month period attests to the media’s agenda-setting power through the formation of public opinion. As the majority, five out of seven newspapers evoked a negative slant against the dialogue process, this was bound to influence public opinion and pressurize the government against the dialogue process. Conflicts bring testing times for a nation and call for unity, clarity and pro-peace approaches. While the analysis shows the diversity of newsrooms, still too much pessimism in editorials can hamper the objectivity and neutrality needed for peace journalism.


Openly criticizing the state in times of war should be avoided: Media’s role in wars and conflicts is of immense importance. State’s measures towards conflicts, riots, law and order and security related issues should be editorialised after a lot of discussion as in a war-like situation, criticising the state or army often and openly only gives psychological benefit to anti-state factions. It, however, does not mean that wrong policies as well as atrocities by the army or the state should be overlooked, as when media’s reported excesses by army personnel in East Pakistan were not considered by the authorities, it resulted in the fall of Dhaka. Consultations between the media and policy making elite should be encouraged in times of war: During conflicts and wars, the ruling and policymaking elites aside from defense personnel, should consult the media and exchange critical issues, so that either side understands the other’s point of view as clarity of issues and positions will stem rumor mills and generate a clear and correct flow of information.


“To Be or Not to Be.” Daily Times, January 12, 2019. https://dailytimes.com.pk/343545/to-be-or-not-to-be-2/. The Express Tribune. “Finding an Interlocutor.” The Express Tribune, January 1, 2014. https://tribune.com.pk/story/653519/finding-aninterlocutor. Galtung, Johan, and Mari Holmboe Ruge. “The Structure of Foreign News.” Journal of Peace Research 2, no. 1 (1965): 64–90. https://doi. org/10.1177/002234336500200104. “Indecision Yet Again.” DAWN.COM, January 29, 2014. https://www. dawn.com/news/1083394/indecision-yet-again. Kuusik, Nora. “The Role of the Media in Peace Building, Conflict Management, and Prevention.” E-International Relations, August 28, 2010. https://www.e-ir.info/2010/08/28/the-role-of-media-inpeace-building-conflict-management-and-prevention/. The Nation. “A Self-Destructive Agenda.” The Nation. The Nation, January 1, 2014. https://nation.com.pk/02-Jan-2014/a-self-destructive-agenda. The Nation. “Unnerved and Undecided.” The Nation. The Nation, January 28, 2014. https://nation.com.pk/29-Jan-2014/unnervedand-undecided. Newspaper, From the. “The TTP’s Choice.” DAWN.COM, February 3, 2014. https://www.dawn.com/news/1084597. Newspaper, From the. “The Wrong Choice.” DAWN.COM, January 2, 2014. https://www.dawn.com/news/1077833/the-wrong-choice. Nohrstedt, Stig A. “New War Journalism.” Nordicom Review 30, no. 1 (2009): 95–112. https://doi.org/10.1515/nor-2017-0141. “Talking Peace.” The Express Tribune, January 30, 2014. https://tribune.com.pk/story/665475/talking-peace-2. “Unnerved and Undecided.” The Nation. The Nation, January 28, 2014. https://nation.com.pk/29-Jan-2014/unnerved-andundecided?show=. .” Nawaiwaqt, January 2, 2014. https://www.nawaiwaqt.com.pk/EPaper/Lahore/2014-01-02/page-14/detail-10. “ .” jang, March 28, 2014. https:// jang.com.pk/news/13767-todays-print-news. “ .” Nawaiwaqt. Nawaiwaqt, February 19, 2014. https:// www.nawaiwaqt.com.pk/20-Feb-2014/282910.

The Dilemma of Dealing with Terrorism in Cyberspace and Peoples Digital Rights: A Case Study of Pakistan

By Talal Raza
MPhil National Defense University 2017


The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center transformed the world in many ways – one of them being that states began to opt for a series of legal and executive measures as part of the global “War on Terror”. Some of these measures included collecting a huge amount of personal data and information to ensure that states would be in a better position to preempt any new terrorist attempt. Pakistan was no exception to this changing security environment. It supported the NATO alliance in counter terror operations against Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. Later it also began to crackdown on home-grown terrorist groups through a series of executive and legal measures to fight terrorism. For instance, it launched a number of military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and destroyed terrorist training camps and hideouts; hunted down terrorists in urban areas through intelligence-based operations; seized hate material; and banned firebrand clerics from promoting sectarianism. The legal measures taken in this regard include (but are not limited to) amending the Anti-Terror Act (ATA) 1997, passing a new National Internal Security Policy (NISP) 2014, and giving sweeping powers to the military under the Protection of Pakistan Act (POPA) 2014. The rise of internet penetration also meant changing dynamics of terrorism. Although there have not been any major cyber terror attacks in Pakistan till date, terrorist presence on the internet was too significant to ignore; the cyberspace continues to provide an avenue for disseminating propaganda and to reach out to potential recruits by both the named and unnamed terrorist outfits. Thus the Pakistani government extended counter-terrorism efforts into digital space. It first promulgated the Electronic Transaction Ordinance 2002 and later, the Prevention of Electronic Crime Ordinance 2007 which criminalized damage to information systems and cyber terrorism.26 Further, the Pakistan People’s Party government enacted the Fair Trial Act 2013 the purpose of which was to be able to acquire warrants for digital surveillance of terrorism suspects.27 However, it was only after the Army Public School (APS) Peshawar attack which shook the nation, that a robust counter-terror strategy under the National Action Plan (NAP) was devised. Some of the measures included removal of moratorium on the death penalty, establishment of military courts and revival of the National Counter Terrorism Authority (NACTA).28 With respect to cyberspace, a subcommittee on internet/social media chaired by the Interior Minister was established29; articles specifically dealing with hate speech in online spaces and cyber terrorism were introduced within the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA); and, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) blocked 5078 anti-state and 1894 hate speech-related web pages/links to date.30 Further, the government has either acquired or are in the process of acquiring software that will allow increased digital surveillance.31 However, according to an investigation conducted by The Dawn newspaper in 2017, 43 out of 64 proscribed organizations still had a presence on Facebook.32 There have also been reports that banned organizations had taken to social media to make appeals for animal hides’ collection during Eid-ul-Azha.33 This was in the midst of a government ban on proscribed organizations from collecting hides since their sale was an important source of funding for them. Although the government has tried to take down websites and Facebook pages of banned organizations, these re-emerge and continue to operate with impunity, thereby disseminating “hate material” and propaganda. In 2013, the government took down Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) social media page “Umar Media’’. However, it re-emerged within a few days. As of today, this page still exists. In fact, TTP also continues to post its press release over a WordPress blog. Similarly, many social media accounts and web pages attributed to groups such as Baloch Republican Army, Hizb ut Tahrir et al., continue to be present. The Pakistani cyber security regime is quite weak when it comes to dealing with such emerging threats. According to the United Nations Agency on Information and Communication Technologies called International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Pakistan ranks even below Afghanistan when it comes to having robust cyber security readiness.34 Furthermore, officials have acknowledged that there is no clearpolicy to battle terrorism in cyberspace.35 That said, lumping together of cybercrimes with terrorism in PECA, coupled with lack of transparency in digital surveillance of terror suspects, gives the state a carte blanch to obfuscate political and progressive voices in cyberspace.36 Such measures have drawn criticism from rights activists on the grounds that they infringe upon digital rights (civil liberties in cyberspace) and violate constitutional as well as international rights of Pakistani citizens. Unfortunately, the successive governments’ reluctance to take on board rights groups begs the question whether rights activists and government can ever reach a consensus. This paper tries to understand the gap between the government and rights groups by exploring: what constitutes terrorism in cyberspace according to Pakistani legal regimes; what legal and executive measures have been taken to curb it and do these measures infringe upon the digital rights of Pakistani citizens? In light of the findings, it tries to answer how digital rights of Pakistani citizens can be preserved while curbing the menace of terrorism in cyberspace. To explore the above questions, multiple sources have been used including newspaper articles, books, research papers, and Government and NGO reports. Sixteen in depth interviews were conducted including six government officials from the Ministry of IT, Ministry of Interior, Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, Federal Investigative Agency and Punjab Information Technology Board; six rights activists from renowned NGOs including Bytes for All Pakistan and Digital Rights Foundation. Further two lawyers with ICT expertise, a security expert and a journalist were also interviewed.

Conceptual Framework:

Discussions at a global level with respect to the citizen’s digital rights have broadly drawn a consensus on universal right to: have access to the internet; exercise the freedoms of association, assembly and expression in cyberspace; and privacy. These rights have been recognized by multiple resolutions passed in the United Nations Human Rights Council.37 Further, efforts are also being made to re-interpret the traditional human rights frameworks, covenants et al. that have long been universally recognized.38 All discussions pertaining to digital and human rights should be linked with the human security framework as it gives room to go beyond the silos of the physical and digital realm and form a more holistic outlook. In short, the question of digital rights should be understood within the context of physical wellbeing of citizens.The concept of human security as proposed by the United Nations in 1992 emphasizes measures to enhance the overall wellbeing of the inhabitants of a state in addition to safeguarding its borders. It comprises seven elements including economic, food, health, and environmental, personal, community and political security. Even though the Human Security model was proposed at a time when threats emanating out of cyberspace had not been envisioned by the proponents, these elements of the human security framework can be extended to cyberspace as well. For instance, the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association and assembly, which are a part of political security, apply as much to cyberspace as to physical space. Similarly, theft of USB containing sensitive information not only poses a threat to one’s privacy and personal security but can potentially affect health security. Hate speech perpetuated by sectarian groups on social media can pose a threat to a person or community’s security. It can therefore be argued that a state’s counter cyber terror and cybercrime methodology should be assessed in light of digital rights and human security frameworks as some of these interventions may have adverse implications for the human security of the population.

Pakistan’s Terrorism Framework in Cyberspace

Definition: This study has analyzed the 1997 AntiTerrorism Act, and the 2016 Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act to identify the contours of terrorism in cyberspace. Although these laws do not explicitly define terrorism in cyberspace, they have incorporated punishments to deal with acts of terror online. Accordingly, the actions that could fall within the ambit of terror in cyberspace include all actions that: instill fear in government, public or any community or group; damage critical infrastructure (e.g. NADRA database);glorify any terrorist or proscribed organization or their activities using an information system or electronic device; spread hatred against a sect, ethnicity or religion using any software, system or electronic device;and motivate other people through any software, system or electronic device to fund, join or plan terrorist activities.

Legal Framework: There are a number of existing laws that can potentially deal with the issue of terrorism over the internet. For instance, the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC), 1860. Although the PPC does not explicitly spell out provisions against terrorism over the internet, it’s hate speech clauses have been invoked to register cases against people for propagating hate speech online.39 The language of Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 (ATA) is broad enough to be used in instances of hate speech over the internet and has been evoked on multiple occasions.40 The Fair Trial Act, 2013 (FTA) allows the government to carry out electronic surveillance (including email, Internet) of people suspected of terrorism related activity. According to FTA, if an officer of a law enforcement agency is suspicious that anyone might be committing acts of terror, he/she can file an application with his departmental head along with all relevant documents and proofs. The departmental head will review the application and send it to the Minister of Interior. The Minister of Interior will approve the application after reviewing it. There is hardly any chance of rejection if the application is coming from the powerful intelligence agencies. After its approval, the officer will submit the application to the High Court judge in secret chambers, who may issue the warrant after ascertaining the case on its merit. Even though the warrant is issued for a duration of sixty days, there is no bar as to the number of times a warrant can be issued against the same application.41 There is no existing record of how many warrants have been issued under the FTA thus far. Further, it has been established from different sources that government institutions have the capacity to carry out widespread surveillance which can allow them to track emails, Whatsapp, Viber call data et al.42 The Pakistan Electronic Crimes Act (PECA) 2016 is the only law that explicitly recognizes the threat of terrorism over the internet and provides for the following punishments.

Since PECA has been enacted only recently, only one case [of cyber terror] has been registered under this law thus far. This case pertains to the suicide of a Sindh University student in which her friend was alleged to have misused her personal information, making her take her own life.

44 Institutional Framework: A number of executive measures have been undertaken by the Government of Pakistan against terrorism in cyberspace. Under PECA, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would primarily be looking at terrorism over the internet. However, other agencies such as Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) may also be involved. A report pointed out that the ISI had requested the Ministry of Interior to give it a stake in battling cybercrimes detrimental to national security.45 The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has been given the content management role under PECA, and though information is not available, PTA claims to have taken down terrorist content. Similarly, Punjab Information Technology Board (PITB) has made some technology interventions. They recently handed over Hotel Eye software to hotels and asked them to enter the details of their clients. This software is linked to a central command system of the police and flags any name with criminal history. Further, the PITB’s initiative “Peaceful Pakistan’’ is an attempt to promote a peaceful and positive image of Pakistan online while also receiving complaints against hate speech which are forwarded to the PTA.46 Lastly, NACTA has also been taking part in building counter narratives in cyberspace through informal measures despite being under-resourced.47

Digital Rights Concerns:

Multiple interviewees raised the issue that laws dealing with terrorism were overbroad. For instance, according to the framework’s prescribed definition of terrorism, the lowest threshold for anyone to be declared a terrorist is that their actions infuse fear among the public or government or a section of society, irrespective of whether the act has religious or political undertones. By this yard stick, if one walks in and starts shooting, even if it is not politically motivated, it would still fall under terrorism as it infuses fear among the public. This results in overburdening the anti-terrorism court with cases that are essentially without a political motive. Moreover, there are different types of punishments for the same crime, that is, for hate speech under ATA, PECA and PPC. This leaves room for the authorities to pick and choose when to use the law that awards less punishment or one that awards maximum punishment, thus providing room for both misuse as well as disproportionate use of power. For instance under ATA, a man was sentenced to thirteen years imprisonment for posting religiously offensive material on Facebook when according to his defence lawyer, he had only “liked” the post.48 Selective accountability has been another growing concern. For instance, the government is very reactive towards political dissent as is evident from the recent crackdown against social media activists. However, it has failed to take down pages of proscribed organizations that use the internet to recruit, receive funds and plan terror activities. Whatever measures have been laid down, there seems a general lack of interest on the part of state institutions to share how they are using certain powers to battle terror in cyberspace. For instance, PTA claims to have taken down many terror websites but has never shared the list of these blocked websites. Also under FTA, the government can acquire warrants, the life of each warrant being 60 days. While FTA puts a bar on the life of a warrant, it doesn’t put a limit on the number of warrants that an officer can receive for the same case. From a digital rights perspective, some suggest that the government should also specify what sort of surveillance equipment they are using, as one surveillance technology may be more intrusive than another, and may impinge upon the privacy of citizens. Further, a disproportionate use of surveillance technology may end up revealing more information about people than is required. A concerning research finding was that in spite of an extensive framework for tackling terrorism in cyberspace, extra judicial measures have been used to silence political dissent. For example, in January 2017, four bloggers were picked up mysteriously. While they were missing, an organized campaign commenced against them, declaring them blasphemers over social media.49 After three weeks, they reappeared but quickly left the country as asylum seekers. No case was registered against them and the FIA stated in the Islamabad High Court in December 2017 that they had not committed any blasphemy. Interviewees who have closely followed the case shared that these bloggers did not have a favorable opinion of security policies being pursued inside Pakistan and that is the reason why they were picked up.

Conclusion & Recommendations

Based upon the above discussion, it is clear that the contours of terrorism in cyberspace as defined by law in Pakistan are broad. Application of such laws can actually harm rather than help the fight against terrorism because of: a loss of focus; data aggregation of various types of cases leaves the data useless for analysis; overburdening the anti-terrorism courts; and increasing the possibility for the misuse of power, thus discrediting the anti-terror regime. Further, the application of laws related to cyberterrorism will become even more critical as internet access increases in the country. It is also quite evident from the examples discussed above that counter terror measures not only have the potential to violate the digital rights of citizens but in some cases, these measures have been used disproportionately to try persons who were not affiliated with any proscribed organization. Ironically, some proscribed organizations have enjoyed unbridled freedom to operate in cyberspace while others have been clamped down upon. The legal lacunae because of overbroad laws, selective accountability, lack of transparency, withholding of information, and extra-judicial measures taken by the state go against the digital rights of citizens and can only be addressed through a sustained dialogue among state institutions, government, parliamentarians and civil society. In light of this, following recommendations are proposed to balance digital rights against counter terror measures:

Remove Duplication & Make Laws More Specific: There is a need to review and revise laws related to terrorism to ensure a coherent definition, while removing any duplication by assessing to what extent punishment under various laws corresponds with a similar nature of crime. Efforts should be made to strike down outdated laws and replace them with revised anti-terror laws that are specific and provide uniformity. Further, overbroad clauses need to be made more specific. Otherwise, it would be difficult to prevent abuse of such laws.

Strengthen Oversight and Increase Transparency: An institutionalized mechanism should be put in place for both public representatives and civil society to conduct accountability of government’s measures against terrorism. For instance, the government should be open towards sharing with the public, the number and nature of terror related websites/social media accounts that have been taken down, and the number of warrants issued in a certain time period. They should also share the nature of surveillance being carried out so as to put to rest talks about the infringement of citizens’ digital rights.

Build Capacity of Law Enforcement Agencies & Judiciary on Digital Rights: To make cybercrime prevention more effective without impinging upon citizens’ digital rights, it is imperative to prevent disproportionate exercise of powers conferred upon different state agencies through legal measures. Thus, both law enforcement personnel as well as members of the judiciary need to be trained on counter terror legislation for cyberspace and digital rights framework. Currently, only Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Judicial Academy trains judges on cybercrimes.


Herald, “Surf safely: Evolution of Cyberspace Laws in Pakistan,” Herald.dawn.com, May 10, 2016, accessed January 10, 2017, http:// herald.dawn.com/news/1153380. Waqas Mir, Digital Surveillance Laws in Pakistan: A White Paper by Digital Rights Foundation (Lahore: Digital Rights Foundation, 2014). Irfan Haider, “Terrorists operating 3000 Websites to propagate Agenda in Pakistan,” Dawn.com, August 14, 2015, accessed August 14, 2016, http://www.dawn.com/news/1200276. Azam Khan and Aamir Saeed, “Fighting Terror: Institutional Structur in the Context of NAP,” Conflict and Peace Studies 7, no.2 (Spring 2015): 29-38. Ramsha Jahangir, “Pakistan’s online clampdown,” Dawn.com, October 28, 2018, accessed January 27, 2019, https://www.dawn.com/ news/1441927/pakistans-online-clampdown.Jahanzaib Haque & Omer Bashir, “Banned outfits in Pakistan operate openly on Facebook”, Dawn.com, May 30, 2017, https://www.dawn. com/news/1335561/banned-outfits-in-pakistan-operate-openly-onfacebook. Jawad Awan, “Banned Organizations to go Online to Collect Hides,” The Nation, September 21, 2015, http://nation.com.pk/editorspicks/21-Sep-2015/banned-organisations-go-online-to-collecthides. Talal Raza, “Use of Facebook by Ethnonationalist Groups from Pakistan,” The May 18 Memorial Foundation. Accessed July 15, 2016, http://www.518.org Jahanzaib Haque, Pakistan’s Internet Landscape 2016: A Report by Bytes for All, Pakistan (Islamabad: Bytes for All, Pakistan, 2016). Shahid, Kunwar. “Cybersecurity Work in Progress…: An Analysis of Pakistan’s Cybersecurity Dilemma.” MIT Technology Review Pakistan 2, no.2 (April 2016): 26-31 ; Verda Munir. “The Debate on Cybercrimes Law: A Study of the Proposed Law and the Way Forward.” MIT Technology Review Pakistan 2, no.2 (2016): 32-37. James Vincent, “UN condemns internet access disruption as a human rights violation,” The Verge, July 04, 2016,accessed January 27,2019,https://www.theverge.com/2016/7/4/12092740/un-resolution-condemns-disrupting-internet-access; Article 19, “UN HRC maintains consensus on Internet resolution,” July 09, 2018, accessed January 27, 2019, https://www.article19.org/resources/un-hrc-maintains-consensus-on-internet-resolution. Global Network Initiative, “Principles,” accessed December 25, 2016, https://globalnetworkinitiative.org/principles/index.php ; Kimberly Carlson, “Necessary and Proportionate: International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance,” accessed January 19, 2017:1-15,https://necessaryandproportionate.org/july-2013-version-international-principles-applicationhuman-rights-communications-surveillance. Ministry of Interior Government of Pakistan, Annex Z: Historical Overview: Counter Terrorism Laws in Pakistan (Islamabad: Ministry of Interior Government of Pakistan, 2014).



Political Stability in Afghanistan & Emerging Regional Alliances – Saad Malik

After the USA’s unceremonious exit from Afghanistan following a long, tiring and fruitless war, a political and diplomatic vacuum may add to an already volatile situation. This concerns the immediate neighbors and regional powers in particular, and world powers in general. To fill this void and to guard their interests, regional players and international powers have stepped in. This all may lead to the emergence of new blocs and regional alliances with the USA and India on one side and Pakistan, China, Iran and Russia on the other side with Turkey playing the role of a mediator and facilitator in order to safeguard its economic, political, and security interests (Sakhi & Pforzheimer, 2021). There is a political vacuum in Afghanistan leading to regional players and international powers thinking about the region’s future to safeguard their interests. There is also uncertainty concerning the impact on Pakistan’s security and stability (economic as well as political), along with some optimism that a stable Afghanistan under the Taliban will contribute to a peaceful western border. It is also hoped that the Taliban will fulfill its promises of forming an inclusive government, giving the Afghan population due rights like freedom of expression and civil liberties to women and minorities to an extent that becomes acceptable to the international community, and they will eventually be recognized as a legitimate government (Ashraf 2021). Right now, it is in the interest of Pakistan, China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, and the USA (to be debated) to have a politically stable Afghanistan because of various reasons like threats from Al-Qaeda, ISIS, TTP, East Turkmenistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), Jundullah, and other extremist and terrorist groups. The spillover effects on neighboring countries may include the disruption of CPEC, sectarianism, extremism, and terrorism. That’s why all the above mentioned states have sought assurances from the Taliban to not allow Afghan soil for terrorism against other countries (Noorani 2021).

Experts believe that when the US realized that it cannot win this war, instead of negotiating a political settlement involving all stakeholders, it decided to leave Afghanistan in chaos to keep the region unstable and turbulent to counter China’s influence (Khalek 2021). This is evident in the verbiage of the Doha deal which repeatedly mentioned the Taliban as someone the US did not recognize while at the same time stated and that the Taliban would not let Afghan soil to be used against the US and her allies (State 2020) The way the US directly initiated peace talks with the Taliban under President Trump, also created a sense of betrayal in the minds of the ruling Afghan government. Few even term it as Zalmay Khalilzad’s coup against Ashraf Ghani’s government since they both have a rivalrous background since their university days (Khalek 2021). At the time of US withdrawal, almost all neighbors and regional powers had concerns in terms of terrorism, drugs, weapons, and a refugee crisis. These concerns continue to persist and can only be mitigated if a stable government is formed in Kabul. Given the current situation in Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, the crisis situation can also be transformed into an opportunity if the US and regional players can devise a common strategy to root out terrorism and extremism. It is said that the enemy of the enemy is a friend. Right now, Al-Qaeda, TTP, ISKP (Islamic State of Khorasan Province), IMU, ETIM, Jandullah are common threats to the USA, Pakistan, Iran, Central Asian Republics (CARS), Russia, and China. The Taliban has time and again committed in the Doha Accord and after taking over the reins of Afghanistan that it will not allow Afghan soil to be used against other states. So instead of repeating the mistakes of the 1990s and 2000s of not engaging with the Taliban diplomatically and not recognizing them as a stakeholder, it is time to correct past mistakes and fight against the common enemies which do not include the Taliban government (Dar 2021). However, evolution of a common strategy may be wishful thinking given regional and international rivalries. Thus, we also need to take into account divergent interests and state rivalries which may give rise to competing regional blocs. During the last twenty years Pakistan has suffered from terrorism by entities like Al-Qaida, Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP), Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) etc. which resulted in the loss of innocent lives and an economic meltdown. The environment was ripe for extremism and gave space to sectarian outfits that targeted minorities. Pakistan’s fear of India using Afghan soil to spread terrorism in former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and Baluchistan through TTP, and additionally, former Afghan government’s backing of nationalist Pashtuns against the state has been neutralized. On the other hand, there is a lot to be negotiated like the mechanism to deal with the TTP, the presence of Afghan refugees in Pakistan and, the issue of Durrand line (Khan 2021). Iran can cooperate with the Taliban to protect the minority Hazaras in Afghanistan (Ali, Afghanistan: Proxy Conflicts 2021). Chabahar port can also be connected to China through Afghanistan. China wants greater connectivity towards CARs through Afghanistan. Central Asian states want to have greater access in the region to exploit their untapped resources. Projects like Turkmenistan Afghanistan Pakistan India (TAPI) gas pipeline and CASA1000 will benefit a number of countries (Parwani 2021). USA’s exit from Afghanistan is the event Russia was looking forward to since a long time. The events which took place during the Cold War like the first Afghan war furthered the disintegration of USSR leading to a unipolar world. Russia lost its superpower status and remained merely a spectator afterwards. After decades Russia has found an opportunity to assume a dominant role in the region. So, it wants to contribute towards a stable Afghanistan under the Taliban Government because of multiple factors. Firstly, it sees USA’s exit as an end to its regional hegemony and wants to assume the role of a security guarantor for CARs. Secondly, it fears ISIS might collaborate with other terrorist groups and use Afghan soil to spread terrorism in CARs which might pose a threat to Russia in the near future. In case of civil war, the flow of drugs and refugees is another concern. Therefore, Russia has sought assurances from the Taliban which include distancing itself from the terrorist groups and secure the borders (Fisher & Stanzel, 2021). China also sees USA’s exit as an end to the latter’s dominance in the region. Keeping in view the diplomatic engagement with the Taliban in recent years and particularly after its takeover of Kabul, it wants to use this opportunity for taking forward its economic ambitions by extending the Belt and Road Initiative towards CARs. It wants to explore the mineral resources in Afghanistan. Most importantly, it wants to stop the terrorists from inciting any violence by using Uyghurs Muslims in Xinjiang province. For that China has asked for assurances from the Taliban to keep the Wakhan border secure and to achieve the above mentioned objectives. Like Russia, China is also concerned with the flow of refugees and drugs in case of unrest in Afghanistan (Fisher & Stanzel, 2021). Here, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) led by China intends to play a constructive role too. Recently, Iran was given full membership in SCO after 15 years, and it was stressed upon that member states should guide Afghanistan to stability by encouraging smooth political transition and ensuring an inclusive government to pave the way for moderate internal and external policies (Fathi 2021). Turkey also has stakes in war torn Afghanistan owing to the investments it has made, ongoing projects and the presence of its citizens. It has an interest in protecting the Afghan Uzbeks because of their historical cultural ties with Turkey. Hosting of Afghan warlord Dostum of Uzbek origin was something the Taliban was not comfortable with. Turkey was seen as a supporter of the Afghan government in the past two decades and also maintained a non-combat NATO presence. This has created a trust deficit (Saifullah 2017). But, Turkey along with Qatar is close to making a deal with the Taliban to secure Kabul’s airport which is in their mutual interest. An operational and secure air corridor is really important for Turkey to secure its interests and connect Afghanistan with the world. The reason being a secure Kabul airport will ensure smooth diplomatic missions of which NATO may be a part of in the future. This will in turn mend Turkey’s ties with NATO which were strained because of the S-400 missile system it bought from Russia. Thus, if a deal is brokered, it will be a win-win situation for both Turkey and the Taliban. Turkey will be able to present a softer and moderate image of the Taliban which will pave the way for the latter’s international recognition and legitimacy. Turkey will be able to improve its relations with NATO and other western allies by acting as a bridge between Afghanistan and the West (Basit & Ahmed, 2021). Logically, the role Turkey wants to play is supposed to be played by Pakistan. Instead Pakistan, a key US ally during the Cold War, in the Afghan Jihad in the decade of 80s and in the War on Terror stands as the most discredited state by her perceived support to the extremists and terrorists who harmed Western interests in Afghanistan. The USA takes Pakistan as a country responsible for her defeat in Afghanistan. Pakistan through diplomacy should improve its international image and emerge as a bridge between Afghanistan and the West just like it did in 1971 between China and USA when President Yahya Khan facilitated a meeting between the then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and the Chinese government. Pakistan needs to be aggressive in her diplomacy (Desk 2021). As far as Indian interests in the region are concerned, we have to look into the role its consulates are playing. They are aggressively using economic diplomacy, development and community engagement at the sub-national level to fulfill their foreign policy objectives which include becoming a hegemon or policeman of South Asia. So the way they invested in Afghanistan by engaging in cultural diplomacy, maintaining liaison with the Afghan government and minority Afghan groups and by undertaking infrastructure development projects (Xavier & Nayar, 2021), the Taliban takeover has been a huge blow to its investments (Ali 2021). This is because in all these years India maintained a hard anti-Taliban posture projecting them as the proxy of Pakistan. That’s why they had to immediately close their missions after 15th August 2021. To assess USA’s role and how it will act after being defeated badly in Afghanistan, we can take a cue from President Biden’s speech at the climate conference in Paris where he countered China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) terming it hazardous to the environment and hinted at funding environment-friendly initiatives instead. This can be one way of countering China’s influence instead of going for armed conflicts to achieve hegemony (Lee 2021). Further, his recent statement of ending the USA’s role of nation building across the world through military might indicates a change in US foreign policy (Rashid 2021). It is therefore in the interest of all the regional players to prevent Afghanistan from plunging into another civil war because if it does, this will have serious repercussions for the neighbors who have suffered since long. There still exists a fear till a stable inclusive government is formed there. In this context, the visit by Pakistan’s spy master, Lt Gen Faiz holds importance (Ashraf 2021). In the wider interest of the region in general and Afghanistan in particular, the Taliban must be assisted in achieving political stability and economic prosperity. The Taliban will have to cooperate with the world and fulfill its promises in order to be recognized as a legitimate government because this will pave the way for cooperation with the West which will be instrumental in providing economic aid (Baluch 2021). After the US withdrawal, there are a lot of challenges ahead for the Afghan Taliban which includes counter terrorism. To gain international support Taliban will have to project a softer image and come out as a changed entity as compared to its previous stint in power. In doing so it might face backlash from terrorist groups like Al-Qaida, ISKP and, other hardliners and the group might even face defections from within. If the Taliban do not act against the terrorists, it will again face international isolation which also became the reason for post 9/11 US invasion of Afghanistan (Ullman 2021). In this tricky situation, prospects of engagement between the US and Taliban increase since there is a short history of cooperation between the two on combating ISKP in the provinces of Kunar and Nangarhar. So, this common threat can bring these two together at least in fighting terrorism which can in turn add stability to the unpredictable and volatile situation. Moreover, there is another issue of countering narcotics that both can work on (Threlkeld 2021). On the other hand, the way the USA, NATO, and India backed Afghan government and Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF) collapsed, there is a question whether they will opt for constructive engagement through non-military means or again initiate a proxy by arming and funding various ethnic groups and factions of the former Northern Alliance to counter Pakistan and China’s influence in the region? It is yet to be seen but keeping in view the ground realities and the role of Russia in restricting Central Asian Republics (CARS) from being used for this purpose, it is highly unlikely (Sehgal 2021). Either India can accept the reality of Pakistan and China in the region and can continue with its development projects as proposed by the Taliban or continue to support and fund ethnic minority warlords against the Taliban. Here the joint statement in the last QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) meeting holds importance. QUAD is a strategic alliance between the USA, India, Japan and Australia. It has reiterated its concerns regarding Afghanistan being used for cross border terrorism and has denounced support for proxies and any kind of military, logistic, and financial support to them (Lakshman 2021). Whether Afghanistan will again become a proxy for regional and superpowers is yet to be seen. Will this situation lead to another civil war or towards greater cooperation and stability? In both cases the emergence of another bloc consisting of the USA and India seems to be on the cards. There are few policies and interests where international and regional players converge and diverge. Both SCO and QUAD called for the formation of an inclusive government in Afghanistan in their respective meetings. This is a policy where both the alliances converge in spite of all the rivalries. Economic dominance in the region is a point of divergence between China and the US. As far as regional players are concerned and if we particularly talk of an anticipated alliance consisting of Pakistan, Russian, Iran, and China, it was thought they will recognize the Taliban government right away paving the way for their international recognition but keeping in view the concerns they have with the Taliban, this did not happen. Pakistan along with China has the greatest stakes as far as stability in Afghanistan is concerned since CPEC/BRI is dependent on it. Then there are issues which are becoming a reason for divergence amongst the member states of this emerging alliance. Russia is critical of China’s influence over CARs, similarly China is uncomfortable with a possible Russia-India strategic alliance (WISHNICK 2021). Iran had been apprehensive of the alleged Pakistan backing of the Taliban against former Northern Alliance and also absence of her proxies from the newly formed Taliban government. It is evident from the above discussion that there are two emerging alliances after the USA’s exit from Afghanistan. One consists of China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran and the other constitutes Quad countries. The former countries are eyeing regional dominance in anticipation of an emerging multipolar world. For that they are consolidating their strategic and diplomatic ties through different bilateral and multilateral forums. Regional integration through CPEC like projects is another common interest. There is a strong realization that an unstable Afghanistan will make their borders insecure, will spread terrorism and make it extremely difficult to manage the turbulent region. Keeping in view the interests of the first alliance, it is evident that they all want a stable Afghanistan under Taliban government while influencing them to fulfill their commitments to the international community. So to ensure the dominance of this alliance, the Taliban will have to honor their commitments to gain international legitimacy. On the other hand, the way the USA abruptly exited from Afghanistan ending its two decade occupation, it has a strong need to regain its dominance in the region to counter this new emerging alliance which can prove to be a threat to the hegemony of India in South Asia and USA’s status of a sole super power ruling a unipolar world. Both the USA and India are dependent on each other to achieve their objectives. QUAD can play a role in the realization of these ambitions.

About the Author

Saad is a CPPG Mphil alumnus from the 2014-16 cohort. He is currently a lecturer at the University of Management Technology’s (UMT) Department of Political Science & International Relations (DPSIR). His research interests are in Afghanistan: shifting geopolitical situations and regional impacts.


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Theatre Art Ventures in Lahore Amidst the Pandemic – Ibra Ammad

A case of Ajoka Theatre and Olomopolo Media

The Coronavirus pandemic has triggered a worldwide economic downturn, forcing many entertainment ventures to shut down or suffer significant losses. This includes the theatre community, which faced financial constraints as well. This article pictures the tangible losses and intangible gains of the art-theatre community of Lahore amidst the pandemic. The article also calls attention to the government for financial support, acceptability, and representation of art to the masses in Pakistan, which the art theatre community in Pakistan has long been denied. Theatre opens the door to the idea of spiritual, creative, and emotional nourishment. The perception of spirituality is often confused in Pakistan. The power of self-expression that the theatre community endorses, may sometimes be seen as being at odds with the more traditional aspects of our culture. Yet, the acceptance of the theatre community is a step further for opening doors for innovation, creativity, and critical thinking in Pakistan. These ventures can become a significant asset for the prosperity of Pakistan.

The organisations consulted for the study include; Olomopolo Media and The Ajoka Theatre. Both ventures have created a safe space in Lahore to celebrate theatre and have pledged to foster performing arts in several ways. Olomopolo Media is a cultural and social innovation media and art management society founded in 2013 that gives space for individuals, performing art groups and other media related organisations to present their work at their premises. The Ajoka Theatre, is one of the oldest founded theatre institutes of Lahore, and it centers itself as a non-profit organisation that welcomes artists with open arms. Theatre-related art ventures in Lahore have faced several challenges for the past two years. The pandemic’s critical impact on these stakeholders resulted in a significant transformation in the workplace environment, such that nearly two years after the pandemic, the institutes are still adjusting to the new ways of work. Everything at their premises was shut, which meant the events that had to take place in March 2020 also had to be postponed. Events such as open theatre nights, film screenings, documentary workshops, regular drum circles, and folk diaries hosted at the Olomopolo Media, had to be indefinitely delayed, which meant high financial losses. From consistently hosting events above the count of hundred and fifty, Olomopolo could only manage two to three, including the globally celebrated event, ‘White Rabbit Red Rabbit’ signifying the commemoration of art institutes due to the pandemic. The Banned Book Week’ was conducted in the last week of September after one whole year of consistent lockdowns. Similarly, the Ajoka Theater intended to introduce new courses and plays. A play based on the life of human rights campaigner Asma Jehangir, “Saira and Maira,” and with the collaboration of a Swedish Theatre Group, another event on the education activist Malala Yousafzai was to be held, but the COVID outbreak became a serious impediment. Notably, art institutes in Pakistan have been challenged enough already in terms of consumer outreach and finances. Moreover, teaching and practising arts, especially the performing arts, through virtual platforms has become a serious challenge, ‘There was no guidance or precedence’-23 said Nirvaan Nadeem, founder of Ajoka Theatre. Exploring digital mediums gradually and thoroughly, the institutes started expanding their activities in the digital realm. The response from the digital platforms was immensely unexpected. The communications among the stakeholders improved as people engaged from all over the world. The diversity was such that ‘An actress in Texas was performing live with an actor in Gujranwala’- Nirvaan Nadeem24. As a result, virtual theatres were established. Olomopolo Media too had strong engagement with audiences online, providing them a safe venue to showcase their art virtually. Due to the nature of organisations, financial prospects for non-profit organisations such as the Ajoka Theatre were limited. In addition to the financial challenges amidst the pandemic, theatre art organisations had faced obstacles from the government multiple times before the Covid-19 pandemic, where their performances and events were frequently banned or censored. Vicky Zhunag Yi-Yin, founder-director of Olomopolo media, discussed how the thought of being an artist contains zero value and perhaps is a ‘non-essential’ profession in Pakistan.25 She further shared the experience of hosting an event on ‘sex education’ at a school. The event left many parents satisfied with the idea of endorsing sex education as a subject rather than exposing children to unacceptable sources. As a result, raising awareness about specific topics has the potential to change narratives and increase acceptance of subjects that may be culturally triggering to the masses. People will more likely develop the nerve and tolerance for the performing arts if its importance is stressed. In the case of Pakistan, it is essential to emphasise the possible societal transformations that theatre arts might offer. Potentially effective ways of highlighting the importance of theatre arts in Pakistan include: raising awareness about the importance of theatre arts, providing a safe space for institutions to practice openly and fearlessly, providing a financial hand to institutions, particularly during the Covid-19 outbreak, and introducing literary courses about theatre arts in schools, colleges, and other significant institutions. Theatre art needs to be secured and revived in a country like Pakistan as this will also help us challenge the prejudices surrounding our culture, which is in fact diverse and boasts an ocean of talent and creativity. A significant proportion of our population has no means of expanding their creative and innovative potential. Theatre and art groups have a role to play in helping people, particularly the youth, gain insight into how the performing arts and other artistic expressions can help them develop skills such as public speaking, self-expression, creativity and problem-solving abilities–all of which are assets to any economy and society.

About the Author

Ibra is an MPhil student at CPPG. Her curiosity regarding confined practices of arts in Pakistan inspires her to investigate the power of performance arts; and how it can help solve the problematic patriarchal structure and counter violence against women in Pakistan.

Pakistan’s Period Poverty – Neesa Abbas

Female health and hygiene issues surrounding menstruation are a serious public health concern in Pakistan. Owing to the prevalent patriarchal culture and conservative mindset, female menstruation is often thought of as something unclean and dirty. Myths and taboos surrounding the issue make it impossible for it to be openly discussed and as a result, Pakistani women remain deprived of proper hygiene and menstrual education. In South Asia, 66%13 of girls reported being unaware of menstruation before they experienced their first period. Period poverty in Pakistan is not only limited to financial accessibility to sanitary products but also extends to social poverty where women are deprived of opportunities to discuss their health problems and get educated about their bodies. Period poverty can thus be defined as the lack of access to sanitary products and the lack of awareness of menstrual hygiene education. In urban and poverty-stricken rural areas alike, lack of awareness about Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) is a challenging issue. Women and young girls are not only misinformed about many issues regarding their periods but are also made to feel ashamed and embarrassed of discussing their issues openly. Successive governments have also failed to make any significant changes in this regard since the issue has never been part of the mainstream public discourse and has been overlooked. Women make up half of Pakistan’s current population; for them to contribute towards a better society, their health needs should be properly addressed. The following article aims to highlight how period poverty affects the lives of Pakistani women, especially young teenage girls and what potential measures the Pakistani government can pursue to alleviate period poverty in Pakistan.

Factors affecting female livelihoods


Due to lack of proper menstrual hygiene products, the majority of women confine themselves to their homes or their rooms. Not having access to sanitary products like pads, tampons or menstrual cups, affects their mobility to a great extent. Often they become dependent on others for tasks they could otherwise carry out themselves. In a study carried out in urban Karachi, 60%14 of the participants admitted to have avoided social interactions and limiting their movement during menstruation.


Countless young girls suffer academically because they are unable to afford sanitary pads or lack adequate knowledge about how to deal with symptoms that occur during the premenstrual and menstrual stage of their cycle, for instance, they would be unaware of what medication should be taken to alleviate menstrual cramps, in some cases, they might even be discouraged to do so as it would somehow make them less of a woman if they wouldn’t withstand the pain. Thus for several days of the month, they are willing or unwilling compelled to stay away from their school, which has terrible implications on their academic learning and success.


Due to unhygienic practices of reusing dirty rags as alternatives to disposable products like pads or tampons leads to many vaginal infections in many girls and women. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can also be considered one of the common causes of infertility in many young women. If left untreated it can also lead to acute renal failure due to the body experiencing septic shock and resulting in death. As a result of common misconceptions regarding menstruation, many girls also avoid taking bath during their days due to the fear of infertility, worsening their hygiene. Many girls also suffer from iron deficiencies and undiagnosed anemia15, which can cause weakness and lethargy during their periods when they experience excessive flow. These issues can easily be cured with proper diagnosis and supplements.

Measures to be undertaken

Awareness campaigns

Awareness campaigns can play a very important role in ensuring that stigmas and misinformation around menstruation are eliminated and menstrual issues rather than being snubbed and dismissed become a part of public discourse. UNICEF WASH, a program that ensures universal and affordable access to water, sanitation and hygiene and Ureport, a social messaging tool and data collection system designed by UNICEF are actively working towards spreading awareness and knowledge through online live chat sessions where both men and women are encouraged to ask questions and share their experiences regarding menstruation.16 According to a study carried out by U-report in Pakistan, 49%17 young girls had no knowledge about menstruation prior to their first period. The inclusion of menstrual issues and hygiene should be made a compulsory part of the curriculum for young girls and boys in schools and colleges. Instead of stigmatizing issues related to reproduction, sexual health and fertility, governments should encourage that these issues should be taught and talked about for the betterment of the society. And for this matter community leaders, especially religious leaders, can also be sought so that they can effectively engage with the people in their communities to promote healthy conversations regarding the issue.

Sustainable products

Products like pads and tampons remain beyond the reach of many women due to financial constraints. These women mostly rely on using and reusing rags, towels or cheap cotton sheets which are friendlier on their pockets but remain a large concern in terms of hygiene. According to a study carried out by WaterAid, an international NGO working towards water and sanitation in Pakistan about 82% of girls interviewed used cotton cloth. In comparison, only 15% of the girls surveyed reported using sanitary pads.18 Educating women about hygienic measures that they can take in order to properly dispose off, sanitize and disinfect their choice of items can prove to be beneficial for them. Menstrual cups, despite being a cheaper and more environmentally sustainable option, are not welcomed by many due to myths and taboos around them. Myths around them can only be dispelled through proper engagement with women. Through these engagements, they can be made aware of its use and its practicality while also having their religious and cultural concerns being addressed.

Elimination of Tampon tax

Over the years feminine movements around the world are pushing towards tax exemptions for menstrual hygiene products. New Zealand recently passed a legislation that ensures access to free sanitary products around the country meanwhile in places like the United Kingdom and India tax reforms to eliminate tax on sanitary products were introduced to fight period poverty. The charity Bloody Good Period estimates the average lifetime cost of having a period amounts to £4,80019 (Rs. 1118673.29) in the UK. For a developing country like Pakistan the costs can easily double up since most sanitary napkins in the market are imported and also subjected to multiple taxes. The government of Pakistan can abolish all taxes on sanitary products to bring the prices down for if not all then some consumers.

Subsidised quality products

Access to quality menstrual hygiene products should be treated as a basic necessity for all women and not as a luxury that only a handful of the women population could afford. Supporting local manufacturing companies and ensuring the availability of menstrual products in all public buildings, schools and universities could make the lives of countless women and girls better.


Period poverty is a prevalent yet an often neglected issue around the world. As of 2020, Pakistan’s population is estimated to be around 220,892,33120, with women constituting 48.5%21 of this estimate. With an ever-growing population Pakistan has done very little in terms of addressing female health and hygiene issues surrounding menstruation. With the ongoing pandemic, the financial situation of many households has worsened, with many people having been laid off from their jobs. In today’s age, women and men need to contribute equally towards the well-being of their households and the community at large. Women still remain a largely untapped resource in terms of Pakistan’s workforce. Period poverty affects women from both a financial and a societal point of view. While mitigating period poverty might not undo all the obstacles and problems women face but it can surely help in empowering them to gain a certain autonomy in their lives. To curb the issue, the conversation around periods needs to become part of the public discourse, only then could it be ensured that women in Pakistan have access to adequate information about MHM and menstrual products. By utilizing technology and framing progressive policies, government and citizens alike, can work toward eradicating period poverty in Pakistan.

About the Author

Neesa Abbas is co-editor of Student’s Quarterly and is currently a student of MPhil Public Policy at CPPG. Her research interests include identity politics, social activism, institutional reforms, and women & minority rights.


Ali, Tazeen S. & Syeda Naghma Rizvi. “Menstrual knowledge and practices of female adolescents in urban Karachi, Pakistan.”, Journal of Adolescence 33(4), 0–541. (2010) https://www.sciencedirect.com/ science/article/abs/pii/S014019710900075X Hafeez-Ur- Rehman, Hira. “U-Report Encourages Menstrual Health In Pakistan”, UNICEF. (2017) www.unicef.org/innovation/U-Report/ menstrual-hygiene-innovation-challenge-pakistan Hanifen, Katharine. “5 Facts About Menstrual Hygiene In South Asia.”, The Borgen Project. (2019) https://borgenproject.org/5-factsabout-menstrual-hygiene-in-south-asia/ Laborderie, Cécile & Deepa Shakia & Rehana Shaikh. “Ensuring girls’ rights through school-based WASH and improved menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in Nepal and Pakistan.”, WaterAid. (2018) https://www.wateraid.org/pk/sites/g/files/jkxoof326/files/endreview-report–pakistanpdf.pdf Period Poverty: What Is It & How Can We Help? https://yoppie.com/ period-poverty Somani, Anushka. “Combating Period Poverty In Pakistan.”, The Borgen Project. (2021) borgenproject.org/period-poverty-in-pakistan/ Total Population, Pakistan. The World Bank. (2021) data.worldbank. org/indicator/SP.POP.TOTL?locations=PK

The Rise of Modi in Indian Politics – Neha Malik

In recent years right-wing populist politicians and political groups have seen a significant increase in voter support. As a result, identity politics have become considerably more visible across the globe (Milner, 2018). India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has the largest voting population in the world – is one such example. Modi’s ascension into Indian politics has been attributed to three factors, his successful developmental thrust and policies as Chief Minister of Gujrat, the ineptitude of the previous government, and his strong connections and support base through the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). In 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), under the leadership of Narendra Modi secured majority seats in the lower house Lokh Sabha and therefore formed the government. The BJP, as Adeney (2015) analyses, was quick to recognise and adapt to the ground realities of Indian politics (Adeney, 2015). For example, embracing federalism and accepting regional diversity to some extent (Adeney, 2015). Modi and BJP benefited from each other by exploiting the governance failures of the previous governments. Modi’s rise was a gradual process. He crafted his persona around strong narratives such as that of Hindu nationalism, making India an economic powerhouse, overcoming dynastic politics, and built a pan-Indian support base (Hinduism is a diverse religion, and much of this diversity manifests itself along regional lines) (Adeney, 2015 and Sinha, 2014). He used technocrats to further strengthen his narrative of Hindu nationalism, such as establishing the Chief Minister Office in Gujarat (Sinha, 2014). He very astutely exploited the growing anti-Muslim sentiments and developed a sub-national identity of “Gujarat Asmita” (Sinha,2014). Modi used an information-centric approach to target the BJP’s weak organisational structure, making his speeches, trips, and activities public (Sinha, 2014). As a result, one can assert that Modi’s image as a charismatic leader (Ammassari, 2018) was formed not only as a result of strong narratives that he adopted over time but also as a result of the incumbent dynastic politics, as Indian politics has long been a playground for families, with the Gandhi family and Congress serving as a prime example. His narrative against dynastic politics was central to building his persona. He claimed that for the past sixty years dynastic politics had been a threat to democracy and had caused inefficient resource mismanagement and corruption in the country (Tandon, 2021). Many Indians embraced Modi’s ideas because they were weary of dynasty politics’ social distortions, and it was believed that 30% of ministers chosen were from the political family (Pandey, 2019 and Tandon, 2021). The following section will identify and analyse factors that led to his rise.

Hindu Nationalism and Identity Politics

India is both culturally and ethnically diverse and therefore religion and identity play a central role in national politics. Previous governments, going as far back as the founding fathers, made numerous attempts to establish a secular state (Gettlemen et al., 2019). Minorities were well represented in the assembly in the 1950s and 1970s, and Section 123 of the Representation of the People Act of 1951 prohibited any political campaign in the name of religion. Modi’s nationalist narrative however diverted the public’s attention from rational socio-economic issues towards identity politics of Hindu revival (Khokhar et al., 2019). The promotion of religious radicalism in the policy structure and forming anti-Muslim policies has been the source of inspiration for Hindu extremists (Islam, 2020). One of his prominent steps was the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (Reuters,2019). Another was removing personal laws for Muslims and Christians (Adeney, 2015). Modi’s attempt to build stability and become a source of national cohesion by deploying anti-Muslims, enforcing a curfew in Indian-occupied Kashmir, and modifying articles 375 and 35 A of the constitution gained him popularity from the Hindu majority, but the parliamentary opposition grew stronger (Khokar et al., 2019).

Reformist Policies

As noted above, Modi had been successful in introducing business-friendly reforms in Gujrat, therefore on becoming PM, he adopted a reformist posture and launched tax reforms. India has had a complex tax system and the tax was circumvented in numerous ways once the base failed to deliver the promised public revenues (Sharma, 2021). In 2017 Goods and Services Tax (GST) was implemented (Missaglia et al., 2018). The tax was designed to unite India’s 1.3 billion people into a single market and to foster industrial development (Welle, 2018). In 2016 the “Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)” (Missaglia et al., 2018) was established. The rationale behind it was to provide assistance to defaulting companies, smoothen the Indian banking system to increase their capital base, and reduce the debt level in the economy as public banks own 70 % in loans and assets as compared to private banks. Another reform was a step towards digital infrastructure. The demonetization of high-value currency notes increased the use of digital banking and digital transactions (Missaglia et al., 2018). The intention behind this was to reduce corruption and increase transparency and diligence and move towards establishing a modern economy (Aiyar, 2018). The reforms were favourable to the business sector since they relieved small enterprises of constraints, expanded the tax base, and improved government openness. The reforms benefited the formal economy that accounted for 15 % (Aiyar, 2018). In India, many are still dependent on the informal economy and cash transactions. The informal sector suffered, the job growth rate improved, but the quality of jobs among the educated unemployed remains an issue.

Protectionist Policies

India is the fifth largest economy in the world with a GDP of $ 2.87 trillion and a growth rate higher than 4% (Silver, 2021). Modi, though, did not lend support to protectionism on several occasions he criticised President Trump’s measures to raise tariffs on Indian products, but he introduced several protectionist policies with the vision of India advancing its role in the Global Value Chain (GVC). His first one was the initiative of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”(self-reliant India) to pace up India’s development, create competitiveness in the industry and connection building in GVC (Singh, 2020). The government also increased tariffs to encourage local production and small businesses (Benniwal, 2020). The policies were against China and Chinese goods, oriented towards the private sector, and provided protection to small manufactures of electronic and consumer goods (Aiyar, 2018). “The Make in India” campaign was another successful policy measure taken (Aiyar, 2018). These policies attracted foreign investment and boosted the production in the domestic industry, leading to improvement in India’s rank in the Ease of Doing Business Index (EDBI) (Aiyar, 2018 and Kapur, 2021). Meanwhile, Modi’s constituency from the business community rose. These policies may help India’s domestic industry, but would create several distortions for Indian products and in the GVC.

Media & Modi

Modi is a media savvy politician. The BJP’s information and technology department is incomparable to any other political party. A social media team of 11 people is assigned to each of the state’s six zones. There are 11 members in each district, five in each mandal (a local government area i.e. tehsil or district), two in each ward, and five in each booth, the last point of contact with the electorate (Bansal, 2019). It was noted that Modi became the second most followed politician on Facebook in 2014 (Ali, 2014) and on Twitter after Trump (Bansal,2019). Almost half a billion Indians have access to the Internet and 75 % of users are younger than the age of 35 (Bhansal, 2019 and Ali 2014). Manchanda has highlighted several incidents where the media deliberately played a role and BJP took advantage of the situation in shaping people’s opinion about Hindu nationalism and promoting Modi’s narrative. This eventually led to a polarisation of society and exacerbated ethnic hatred and minority suppression (Manchanda, 2002). The right-wing media campaigns used various social media platforms to create an ecosystem portraying Modi’s image as the leader and conveying these messages especially to the youth (Marhawa, 2019). In the election of 2014, the median age of voters was 29 years (Marwaha, 2019). According to Marwaha, youth support is a critical aspect in Modi’s rise since they see him as the only person who can fix societal problems, protect society from the threat of Pakistan, and pursue his ambitious parliament agenda (Marhawa,2019). Bansal finds that social media has mastered the election campaigns. This has helped Modi mobilise his narratives to the masses (Bansal, 2019).


Modi is an effective communicator, by invoking Hindu nationalism and rousing anti-Muslim sentiments he was able to highlight sensitive topics and gain sympathy from his Hindutva support base. When the plight of Gujarat Muslims gained attention in the aftermath of the Gujarat pogrom in 2002, Modi’s contribution to Gujarat’s economic development brushed the issue aside (Sinha, 2014). According to his narrative, any cacophony that occurs in society, the institutions, states, and people are to be blamed, not Modi because he had done everything he could and it’s the institutions that had failed to live up to his vision. (Sharma et al., 2021). Modi does not stand alone, a similar case for Rodrigo Duterte from the Philippines (Sharma, 2021) and Borris Johnson from the UK was also observed (Williams, 2021). Modi has liberated the Hindu population of India through his policies. However, in the past two years the lure of Modi is fading away, as in the case of Mamata Banerjee’s election victory in West Bengal in May 2021. Yet, his success in the states of Assam and Kerala proves that Modi can still reinvent and remodel himself as the leader to extend his stay in Indian Politics. The opposition is still weak and divided into regional politics. Now, all eyes are on the Uttar Pradesh election in 2022, which could be the real test, and decide the future of BJP and Modi’s popularity.

About the Author

Neha is co-editor of the Student’s Quarterly and an MPhil student at CPPG. Her research interests include globalisation, leadership, competitiveness, entrepreneurship, as well as innovation and institutions.


Adeney, K. (2015). “A move to majoritarian nationalism? Challenges of representation in South Asia.” Representation, 51(1),7–21. https:// doi.org/10.1080/00344893.2015.1026213. Aiyar, S. S. A. (2018, October 18). India’s New Protectionism Threatens Gains from Economic Reform. Cato.org. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.cato.org/policy-analysis/indias-new-protectionism-threatens-gains-economic-reform. Ali, I. (2014). Social media played big role in India’s Election. Retrieved August 12, 2021, from https://www.voanews.com/siliconvalley-technology/social-media-played-big-role-indias-election Ali, A. (2021, May 5). Pandemic second wave presents a moment of reckoning for modi – and Indian politics. Retrieved November 03, 2021, from https://thediplomat.com/2021/05/pandemic-secondwave-presents-a-moment-of-reckoning-for-modi-and-indianpolitics/ Image source: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/narendra-modimodi-2112081/ Baba, M. (2021). Modi’s ‘make in India’ campaign lifts defense sector amid China row. Nikkei Asia. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Aerospace-Defense/Modi-s-Makein-India-campaign-lifts-defense-sector-amid-China-row. Bansal, S. (2019, June 19). How the BJP used technology to SECURE Modi’s second win. Retrieved August 12, 2021, from https://www.cigionline.org/articles/how-bjp-used-technology-secure-modissecond-win/ Calléja, L. (2020, February 14). The rise of populism: A threat to civil society? E-INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.e-ir.info/2020/02/09/the-rise-of-populisma-threat-to-civil-society/. Dehejia, V. (2019, March 24). Opinion: Don’t blame Donald Trump for Indian Protectionism. Retrieved September 30, 2021, from https:// www.livemint.com/opinion/columns/opinion-don-t-blame-donaldtrump-for-indian-protectionism-1553451332297.html Gettleman, J., Schultz, K., Raj, S., & Kumar, H. (2019, April 11). Under Modi, a Hindu nationalist surge … – The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www. nytimes.com/2019/04/11/world/asia/modi-india-elections.html. Islam, R. (2020, August 21). Hindu nationalism: A rise of new religious radicalism in India. Academia.edu. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.academia.edu/43911975/HINDU_ NATIONALISM_A_Rise_of_New_Religious_Radicalism_in_India. Khokhar, A., Ghaffar, T., Khan, R. S. J., & Yamin, T. (2019, December 29). Modi’s identity RSS politics in Post-Secular India: A threat to peace. Strafasia. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://strafasia.com/modis-identity-politics-in-post-secular-indiaa-threat-to-peace-in-south-asia/. Kothari, R. (1964). The Congress’ System’in India. Asian survey, 1161-1173. Manchanda, R. (2002). “Militarised Hindu Nationalism and the Mass Media: Shaping AHindutvapublic Discourse.” South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 25(3), 301–20. https://doi. org/10.1080/00856400208723504. Marwaha, V. (2019, May 24). Opinion | the secret behind millennial support for India’s Modi. The Washington Post. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/05/24/secret-behind-millennial-support-indias-modi/. Milner, Helen V. “Globalization and its political consequences: the effects on party politics in the West.” In Annual Meeting of the American Political Science Association, Boston, August. 2018. Missaglia, N., & Tramballi, U. (2018). India: The modi factor. Ledizioni. https://www.ispionline.it/sites/default/files/pubblicazioni/ india_web1_4_1.pdf Pandey, V. (2019, May 27). Has Narendra Modi ended dynastic politics in India? BBC News. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https:// www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-48385611. Reuters. (2019, December 14). Explainer: What does India’s new citizenship law mean? DAWN.COM. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1522069#:~:text=A%20new%20 Indian%20law%20that,has%20led%20to%20violent%20demonstrations. Sharma, M., Verma, A. M., Das, M., & Saran, S. (2020, September 11). Why modi remains world’s most popular populist while Trump, Putin, Johnson Struggle. ThePrint. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://theprint.in/opinion/why-modi-remains-worlds-mostpopular-populist-while-trump-putin-johnson-struggle/500241/. Silver, C. (2021, July 16). The top 25 economies in the world. Retrieved September 30, 2021, from https://www.investopedia.com/ insights/worlds-top-economies/#5-india Sinha, A. (2014, April 7). The making of Narendra Modi. Ballots & Bullets | School of Politics & International Relations, University of Nottingham. Retrieved November 18, 2021, from https://nottspolitics.org/2014/04/08/the-making-of-narendra-modi/. . Tandon, A. (2021, January 1). “Dynastic Politics Biggest Enemy of Democracy: Modi.” Tribuneindia News Service. https://www. tribuneindia.com/news/nation/dynastic-politics-biggest-enemy-ofdemocracy-modi-197402. Welle, D. (2018). Goods and Services Tax – how PM MODI Transformed India’s Economy: DW: 28.08.2018. Retrieved August 12, 2021, from https://www.dw.com/en/goods-and-services-tax-howpm-modi-transformed-indias-economy/a-45256163 Williams, Z. (2021, July 05). Boris Johnson ends COVID as a ‘me problem’ and makes it a ‘you problem’ | Zoe Williams. RetrievedAugust 12, 2021, from https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/ jul/05/boris-johnson-ends-covid-as-a-me-problem-and-makes-it-ayou-problem.

Editorial – What is wrong with the Single National Curriculum?


The Single National Curriculum claims to be a uniform syllabus being taught across Pakistan in a strive of the PTI government to eliminate disparity and provide equal opportunities for children. This policy is being framed to develop till 2023 following the details; grades one to five till March 2021, six to eight till March 2022, and matric to intermediate in March 2023. Punjab has accepted this policy except for a few institutes in the province including Aitchison college. Other provinces are reluctant to adopt this policy, notably the Sindh government, which has argued that “federation allows provinces in education choices so, we will see whether to adopt it or not”. The Single National Curriculum (SNC) is an abrupt policy transition of the PTI government to bring equality in the education system while ignoring the aftereffects to the students learning in different educational structures. The current educational structure does not necessarily fit in with the SNC pedagogy and language of the provinces. With an ideological thrust of uniformity on SNC, flexibility to sustain contemporary standards of educational institutes is minimized. Moreover, it would not allow those, who can afford, to pursue better options. Furthermore, the younger generation would be alienated from the regional languages and their cultural significance because SNC can’t advertise the cultural context and languages of all provinces. SNC also has a stereotypical approach towards women based on their representation. In the science subjects the references of Islamic teachings could adversely effect the views of the non-muslim students. The existing gap between the two syllabuses SNC and previous needs to be filled first, before implementing such a wide-ranging policy. An SNC wouldn’t only affect the private sector’s education system but also the public school’s curriculum. Both sectors would equally suffer in order to transition to such a system. SNC possibly doesn’t present an accurate picture of our diverse culture as each province has varied historic, linguistic and cultural significance and a single curriculum would not be able to cater to these variations. Additionally, there are concerns with respect to gender representations as the SNC takes a stereotypical approach towards women by often representing them as housewives. While proponents of the SNC make a case that it will eliminate disparities by requiring all children in the country to read and learn the same material, this article argues that it SNC will likely contribute towards furthering socioeconomic disparities.

Differing Capabilities

The SNC does not take into consideration the aspect of accessibility or differing capabilities of students. If a parent can afford a better education that develops their child’s intellectual capabilities, the SNC will stand as a hurdle. Schools may have different pedagogy and ideology that is not consistent with the SNC even if a child is capable and has the potential to do better. Infrastructural differences and access to learning tools also vary across the country, with some schools offering state of the art technology to its students. If a SNC is to be enforced, schools with access to these resources may not be able to utilize them for their students, working below their potential. According to an ASER survey in 2019, out of total enrollment 77 % of children were enrolled in public schools. The survey further highlighted that children enrolled in private schools were having better academic performance than those enrolled in public schools.1 The SNC instead of creating a positive impact will create a negative impact on the child’s future forcing him/her to abide by a uniform system. This would eventually staganate the child’s growth and impact Pakistan’s human capital development. It also forbids a parent’s right to choose the education for their child which is problematic. According to Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and Article 18 (4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) state parties must respect parents’ choice and, when applicable, legal guardians to ensure the religious and moral education of their children in conformity with their own convictions.2 Pakistan recognises and abides by these articles, but the SNC fails to take them into account. Instead of forcing schools to adopt an SNC, a better policy option may be to enforce an outreach policy, whereby it is mandatory for high-tech, well-endowed schools to offer financial support to students from low-income backgrounds. This would help ameliorate inequalities in educational achievement and employment opportunities in the long run.

Language and Culture

Language and culture are areas of child education that the SNC fails to cater to. Firstly, English is to be taught as a language, not as a subject; which means that not all courses will be taught in the English language. This may have consequences for students in higher education, given that higher education in Pakistan uses English as a medium and the current research, which feeds into our bachelors and postgraduate courses, is available in English. This will in turn affect the quality of research being produced within Pakistan as well and the competitiveness of our university students in the international job market. Another aspect is that regional languages and cultures are not taken into consideration. Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, and Balochi are equally important. Why are they not being taught as subjects depending on the province in which the school is located? Each province has its blend of history, art, culture, and language. According to the 18th Amendment in the constitution of Pakistan, education is a provincial affair, allowing people to promote their language and culture through the education system. Yet the SNC conflicts with this right and poses a challenge to the provincial education departments.

Analytical, Critical and Creative Thinking

Proponents of the SNC make the case about analytical, critical, and creative thinking as a key consideration during its design. If this is the case then the SNC will not be enough to make it come to reality. Factors such as school environment, pedagogy and evaluation methods, socioeconomic situation, parent’s income level and education, home environment, and so on all have an impact on a child’s capacity to think analytically, critically, and creatively. Moreover, gender disparity also contributes to analytical, critical and creative thinking in children.3 Many researches have highlighted this factor, for instance Torrance4 emphasizes that female students are more influenced by the environment they are surrounded by and Zetriuslita et al., also had similar conclusions in terms of critical thinking and creative thinking among male and female students.5 The culture and environment available for female or male students depending on circumstances will also play a key role. Government along with implementation of SNC should take other factors into account and develop programs that could be of help. Like after school programs or workshops for teachers to play a role in this process. Therefore, the SNC should not be promoted as a solution to the interlinking factors that may affect a child’s overall learning and educational outcomes.

Conservative values

The incorporation of religion and reinforcement of patriarchal hegemony in the newly developed SNC has caused quite a stir amongst educationists, women and minority rights activists circles of Pakistan. A textual analysis carried out by The Current, a digital news outlet in Pakistan, showed that around 7.47%6 references of Islam were made in non-religious books like Mathematics, Social studies, Urdu, Science and General knowledge designed according to the SNC. In the same report, it is mentioned that around 41.6%7 of females shown in the books are wearing the hijab, a veil covering the head, which is worn by some Muslim women but not by the majority of the female population in Pakistan. Majority of the women that appear in the SNC designed textbook images are shown in subservient positions as compared to the men and are mostly seen doing domestic work or taking care of their families, internalizing gender roles in young minds from an early age.Hifz of Quranic Surahs and Hadith from class 1-89 has been made mandotary for all Muslim students accoring to the new guidelines for Islamic Studies. This not only forces religion, which is a private matter of each individual but also perpetuates a rote learning environment for students. These educational reforms are thus said to be mirroring President Zia ul Haq’s Islamization policy in the guise of national integration. In a country already plagued with religious extremism and radicalization, the inculcation of conservation religious values at a very young age can lead to further radicalization of society. The texts pertaining to religion perpetuate the teachings of a single school of thought and lack religious inclusivity, failing to cater to other sects or faiths. According to Article 22(1) of the Constitution of Pakistan, “No person attending any educational institution shall be required to receive religious instruction, or take part in any religious ceremony, or attend religious worship, if such instruction, ceremony or worship relates to a religion other than his own.”10 thus the inclusion of religious text in subjects like Science English or Social studies, which are taught to Muslim and non-Muslim students alike, is in direct conflict with the fundamental rights that the Constitution of Pakistan guarantees non-Muslims citizens.


Several Surveys reflect the educational standard that could be dragged down by the SNC. The SNC policy has brought with it several gaps that remain unaddressed. Moreover, the education system’s updation is a prerequisite to implement this structure; in the form of teacher training, countering cultural differences, providing equal opportunities to learn their regional languages and maintaining a standard for both private and public sectors. Pakistan has a rich cultural heritage and our cultural history is vibrant enough to teach the students about the history and culture of provinces rather than forcing one curriculum. The curriculum tilt towards a religion could raise extremism and can curb the democratic values. SNC must not be a tool of producing the same minds, instead a holistic, equality inducing education policy is needed that promotes critical thinking and innovation amongst students.


Article 22(1). The Constitution of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan. (1973) http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/ News Desk. “What is in the Single National Curriculum books? In-depth data analysis of the syllabus”, The Current. (2021) http:// thecurrent.pk/in-depth-analysis-of-the-single-national-curriculumwhat-is-in-the-books Shah, Benazir. Twitter (2021) https://twitter.com/benazir_shah/statu s/1411219179131355138?lang=en SNC. Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training, Government of Pakistan. (2021) http://mofept.gov.pk/Detail/YzJiNGVjODgtNjIwOC00YzRiLThmNmUtNjJjYWIwYmJkMWY2 Chaudhary, Nida Usman (2021): „SNC and Shrinking Provincial Policy Space“. thenews. The News International Retrieved am 01.12.2021 from https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/852104-snc-and-shrinkingprovincial-policy-space. Torrance, E. Paul. “FACTORS AFFECTING CREATIVE THINKING IN CHILDREN: AN INTERIM RESEARCH REPORT.” Merrill-Palmer Quarterly of Behavior and Development 7, no. 3 (1961): 171–80. http:// www.jstor.org/stable/23082724.Torrance, E. P. “Status of creative women: Past, present, and future. The Creative Child and Adult Quarterly.” 8 (3),(1983): 135-14 Zetriuslita, H. J., Rezi Ariawan, and Hayatun Nufus. “Students’ Critical Thinking Ability: Description Based on Academic Level and Gender.” Journal of Education and Practice 7, no. 12 (2016): 154-164.

Saima Bhaur

Education  PhD Ongoing, University of Bonn, Germany

MPhil ELT, Kinnaird College

MA English Literature, Government College University, Lahore

Research Project A Comparative Analysis of Languages, University of Bonn, Germany

Research Areas Sociolinguistics, English Language Teaching and Multilingualism, Power and Politics in Regional languages 

Courses Taught Writing and Communicating Public Policy


  1. Bhaur, S. (2019). ‘Language Teaching in Mixed Ability Classrooms: Applied Research’ in Applied Research International Conference on Social Sciences & Humanities 2019, Cambridge Series, ISBN 978-1-78972-538-4 https://arintconferences.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Conference-Proceedings-Cambridge-Series-July-2019.pdf
  2. Bhaur, S. (2018). ‘Impact of Technology on the Business Writing of Learners in the Second Language Context in Pakistan’, in International Journal of Business, Economics and Law, Vol. 15, Issue 2 ISSN 2289-1552 http://ijbel.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/BUS-13.pdf
  3. Bhaur, S. (2018). ‘Impact of Multilingualism in English Language Classrooms of Pakistan’ in Review of Socio Economic Perspectives (RSEP), ISSN 2149-9276 


  1. Bhaur, S. (2015). ‘Is Linguistic Culture Deep Rooted in Language Policy? A Reflective Analysis of Harold Schiffman’s Article, Language Policy and Linguistic Culture’, in Quarterly, Research & News, Center for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG).ISSN 2076-9997 http://cppg.fccollege.edu.pk/is-linguistic-culture-deep-rooted-in-language-policy-a-reflective-analysis-of-harold-schiffmans-article-language-policy-and-linguistic-culture/


Lectures & Talks

  1. 26.04.2021: A Comparative Analysis of Power & Politics: A Case of Sindhi and Punjabi Language in Pakistan (Doctoral Colloquium, Department of South Asian Studies, University of Bonn)
  2. 31.05.2021: Writing and Developing Abstracts for PhD thesis and Research Articles. (Doctoral Colloquium, Department of South Asian Studies, University of Bonn)
  3. 15.05.2020: Significant role of Oral Communication and Presentation Skills in Present Times for Under Grad, Post Grad and Mid-career Professionals (ITU Talk series by Information Technology University, Lahore https://www.facebook.com/445047635507636/videos/255782198958854)
  4. 01.06.2019: Guest Lecture responding to Corporate Social Responsibility at a conference organized by WWF on Plastic Waste Management, Ali Institute, Lahore
  5. 15.07.19: Language Teaching in Mixed Ability Classrooms: Applied Research (Conference: St Catherine’s College, University of Cambridge, UK)
  6. 05.08.2018: Impact of Multilingualism in Second Language Acquisition (Conference: RSEP International Conferences on Social Issues and Economic Studies, Barcelona, Spain)

28.04.2018: Role of Technology in Writing Skills of Young Learners (Conference: Kuala Lumpur International Business, Economics & Law Conference, KLIBEL 15th, Malaysia

Rashid Munir Kahloon

Education MA (Pakistan), MSc (University of Glasgow) MA (University College London)

Research Project

Research Areas: Low Cost Housing, Economics, Finance, Education Policy

Courses Taught, CBA, Econoics & Statistics

Publication Aashina, Low Cost Housing

Muhammad Salahuddin Ayyubi

Objective: To perform the teaching responsibilities in such a manner that satisfies me as well as the vision of the institution and carry out research driven to find the truth rather than the reward for it.

E- Mail     ayyubi100@yahoo.com;





Ph. D. 2018

Thesis titled “Pakistan’s Potential for Free Trade with Neighbouring Countries”

School of Accountancy & Finance, University of Central Punjab

  1. Phil. 2010

Faculty of Commerce, University of Central Punjab

Thesis titled “An Analysis of Fiscal Discipline in Pakistan in the Context of Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Limitation Act, 2005”.

Masters in Economics 1999

(Majors in Development Economics)

Government College University, Lahore.

Graduation 1996

Government College (University), Lahore.

Intermediate 1994

Government College (University), Lahore.

Matriculation 1991

Government High School, Sheikhupura




Permanent Faculty Member


2000 – 2008 Lecturer and then Assistant Professor Economics

Garrison Degree College Lahore

2008 – 2012 Assistant Professor Economics

Faculty of Management Studies – University of Central Punjab

2012 – date Assistant Professor, Department of Economics

Forman Christian College – A Chartered University

External Examiner and Paper Setter  


2002 – 2011 Government College University

2006 – 07 Lahore College for Women University

2008 – 2011 University of Punjab

Research Dissertations Supervised at University of Central Punjab 

  1. An Assessment of Corporate Response to the Code of Corporate Governance, 2002 in Pakistan 
  2. Causality between Profitability, Number of Bank Branches and Customers in Pakistan
  3. Sectoral Analysis of Advances, Deposits and NPLs in the Banking Sector of Pakistan
  4. Assessment of CSR Practices in Financial Sector of Pakistan
  5. Assessment of CSR Practices in Non Financial-Non Textile Corporate Sector of Pakistan
  6. Impact of Capital Flows on Employment Opportunities in Pakistan
  7. Impact of Public Debt on Inflationary Trends in Pakistan
  8. Comparative Analysis of Customer Satisfaction under Conventional and Islamic Banks in Pakistan
  9. Role of SME Bank and SMEDA in the Development of SMEs in Pakistan
  10. Financial Performance Analysis of Life Insurance Companies in Pakistan 1993-2008
  11. The Potential and Challenges of Takaful Industry in Pakistan
  12. Impact of Monetary Policy Statement on KIBOR and T-Bill Auctions in Pakistan
  13. An Assessment of Compliance with the Code of Corporate Governance in Pakistan (2008-09)
  14. A Qualitative Assessment of Relationship between Gawallas and Tetra Pack firms in the Dairy Industry of Pakistan
  15. A Causal Analysis of Internal Debt, Gross Domestic Product and Inflation Rate in Pakistan
  16. Performance of First Women Bank Ltd. to Support Women Entrepreneurs in Pakistan
  17. Impact of Sovereign Credit Rating on Foreign Credit Rating in Pakistan (1990-2009)
  18. An Investigation in to the Determinants of Dividend Policy in Pakistan
  19. An Analysis of CSR Practices of Environment Damaging Corporate Sectors in Pakistan
  20. The Determinants of Financial Development in Pakistan (1990-2009)
  21. Analytical Review of Credit Disbursement and its Impact on Pakistan’s Economy
  22. Impact of Exchange Rate Fluctuations on Foreign Trade
  23. Impact of Stocks’ Index Fluctuations on Foreign Direct and Portfolio Investment in Pakistan
  24. Impact of Globalization on Developed / Developing Countries – A Review of Empirical Evidence  
  25. Problems faced by SMEs in Pakistan – A Case Shoe Making Industry 
  26. Determinants of Dividend in the Corporate Sector of Pakistan 


Research Dissertations Evaluated for External Assessment (GCU)

  1. A Review of Housing Finance in Lahore (2005)
  2. Contribution of Leading Financial Institutions in the Development of SMEs in Pakistan (2006)
  3. Impact of Foreign Entry on the Domestic Banks in Pakistan (2007)
  4. Impact of WTO Quality Standards on Horticulture Sector – A Case of Fruit Sector of Pakistan 1984-2006 (2007)
  5. Sectoral Distribution of Bank Credit in Pakistan (2008)
  6. Impact of Financial Sector Reforms on Efficiency of Commercial Banks in Pakistan (2008)
  7. Performance of Interest Free Banking in Pakistan (2010)
  8. Services Management in Banking Sector of Pakistan (2010)
  9. Electricity Shortage in Pakistan – A Survey of Potential Remedial Measures
  10. Money Market Instruments – Patterns of Risk and Return Association in Pakistan (2010)
  11. Overview of Islamic Banking in Pakistan and its Potential (2010)
  12. Internalization of Pakistan’s SMEs – A Diagnostic study of Faisalabad’s Soap Manufacturing Units (2012)
  13. Analysis of the Challenges faced by Microenterprises owned by Women Entrepreneurs in Lahore (2012)
  14. Constraints to the Growth of Small Dairy Farmers in Punjab (2014)
  15. Perception of Fashion Entrepreneurs about the Importance of Social Media (2014)
  16. Hindrances in Business Undertakings in Underdeveloped Areas (2014)
  17. Role of Central Bank and Banking Sector in Development of Agriculture Sector in Pakistan (2015)
  18. Predicting Listed Companies’ Failure in Pakistan using Altman Model: A Case Study of Textile Sector on Lahore Stock Exchange (2015)
  19. Economic and Non Economic Determinant of Happiness: Evidence from Lahore (M Phil thesis supervised by Dr. Bilal Mehmood) (2016)
  20. Growth Constraints of SMEs in Tableware Industry of Pakistan
  21. Private Returns to Education: Case Study of Public Sector Health and Higher Education Institutions in the District of Lahore (M Phil thesis supervised by Dr. Tasneem Zafar) (2016)
  22. “The Impact of Economic Hegemony on Economic Performance in Developing and Developed Regions” by Ms. Sadia Munawar (M Phil thesis supervised by Dr. Saima Sarwar) (2017)
  23. “Impact of International Intellectual Property Right Treaties on Socio-Economic Performance of WTO Members with Special Focus on Pakistan‖” by Mahvish Muzzaffar (M Phil thesis supervised by Dr. Saima Sarwar) (2017)
  24. “Effect of public debt on economic growth in developed countries: An empirical analysis” by Noman Naveed (M Phil thesis supervised by Mr. Adnan Habib) (2017)
  25. “Exploring the Entrepreneurial Education Models used in different Universities of Lahore and their Impact” by Aatika Shakoor (MS Thesis supervised by Mr. Uzair Ahson) – 2017
  26. “Impact of Non-Renewable Resources on Economic Growth: Empirical Evidence from Non-Renewable Economies (NREs)” by Nimra Ejaz (M Phil thesis supervised by Mr. Adnan Habib) (2017)
  27. Exploring the Linkages between Entrepreneurial Behaviour and Organizational Performance: A Study of Academic Heads in Public Sector Universities of Lahore, Pakistan.’ by Areeba Arif (M Phil thesis supervised by Dr. Uzair Ahson) (2020)


Research Work Supervised at FC College – A Chartered University


  1. Water Wastage in Pakistan’s Agriculture Sector and Water Pricing as A Method of Control by Maheen Amer – MS Thesis (2013)
  2. Demographic Determinants of discouraged Workers in Pakistan (A crossectional Analysis (2010-11) by Farzeen Anwar – MS Thesis (2014)
  3.  “Man Who Thinks He Does Not Needs a Hospital – Patterns and Determinants of Self-medication in Pakistan.” By Aliza Khan – MS Thesis (2014)
  4. An Analysis of Trade between India and Pakistan by Faryal Manzoor – Undergraduate Thesis (2015)
  5. The Economics of Wheat in Pakistan: A Study on the Impact of Support Price on Wheat Production by Ayesha Bibi – Undergraduate Thesis (2017) 
  6. The Impact of Public Debt on Economic Growth by Humayon Khan – Undergraduate Thesis (2017)
  7. The Socio-Economic Causes and Effects of Rural-Urban Migration on Immigrants’ Households: A Case Study of Quetta, Balochistan by Ikramullah Khan – M Phil Thesis (2018)
  8. Economic Agenda of Political Parties in Pakistan: An Analysis based on Election Manifestos (2002-2018) by Saarma Saeed – M Phil Thesis (2020)
  9. 5-Stages of Child Survival – Hopes and Challenges in Pakistan by Muntaha Imtiaz – M Phil Thesis (2020)
  10. Household Determinants of Out-Of-Pocket Health Expenditure in Pakistan by Ayesha Arshad (20-27002) – M Phil Thesis (2020)
  11. Household Saving Behavior in Pakistan: Evidence from HIICS Data by Hafiz Ali Taymoor (20-27007) – M Phil Thesis (2021)
  12. Drivers of Female Labor Force Participation in Pakistan by Mariba Isfar (213442061) – M Phil Thesis (In progress)
  13. The effect of Trade Openness on Income Inequality – a Comparison of South Asian and East Asian Countries by Kainat Haider (19-27017) – M Phil Thesis (In progress)


Papers & Publications

Ayyubi, M.S. and Aslam, Q. (2017) Pakistan’s Trade with India – Disaggregated Prospects, Forman Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 13, pp. 33-54

Manzoor, F. and Ayybi, M.S. (2018) U-shaped Hypothesis of Female Labor Force Participation and Economic Development: Evidence from South Asia, Paper presented at National Conference on CPEC, Institutions and Inclusive Growth in Pakistan on 27-28 February, 2018, Organized by University of Gujrat.

Iqbal, Z., Ayyubi, M.S. Farooq, A. and Lodhi, S. (2019) Microeconomic Impact of GST on Household Consumption Patterns in Pakistan, Forman Journal of Economic Studies, Vol. 15, pp. 137-155

Saeed, S. and Ayyubi, M.S. (2019) Was there a ‘unique selling point’ in the Economic Agenda of PTI – A Comparative Study of Election Manifestos of leading political parties in Pakistan, Paper presented in AERC Conference held in Islamabad on 18- 19 November 2019 by University of Karachi

Lodhi, S., Iqbal, Z. and Ayyubi, M.S. (2021) Shifting Paradigm in the Higher Education Sector of Pakistan during COVID-19: An Empirical Analysis of the Online Teaching Experience, Empirical Economic Review, Vol. 4(1), pp. 116-136


Professional Highlights

  • Produced 100% Board and University Results Continuously for Six Years at Garrison Degree College Lahore.
  • Judged as Best Presenter in Humanities in Annual Faculty Presentations at Garrison Degree College, Lahore.
  • Organized a Pre Budget Seminar for Federal Budget 2008-09
  • Organized a Post Budget Seminar on assessment of Federal Budget in the Context of Political Manifestos in Pakistan in 2009
  • Organized a Pre Budget Seminar for Federal Budget 2009-10
  • Preparation of Proposals for Federal Budget 2010-11 and Prepared the Report for the Faculty of Management Studies, University of Central Punjab.
  • Organized a distinguished Lecture Series on the centenary of the department of Economics at FC College in 2015, where Dr. Deepak Nayyar, Dr. Nadeem-ul-Haque, Dr. Akmal Hussain, Dr. Sohail Jahangir Malik, Dr. Khalid Malik, Dr. Shaista Khilji and Mr. Ali Tauqeer Sheikh, Dr. Sohail Jahangir Malik and Dr. Khalid Malik delivered lectures in the Series.
  • Advisor, Lucas Economics Society at FC College – A Chartered University     2013-17.
  • Serve as Associate Editor of Forman Journal of Economic Studies
  • Coordinator – Admissions Committee of M Phil Program at FCCU
  • Coordinator – PhD program


List of Courses Taught 

  • Introduction to Economics (Undergraduate)
  • Principles of Microeconomics (Undergraduate)
  • Principles of Macroeconomics(Undergraduate)
  • Macroeconomic Management (Graduate: MS/MPhil)
  • Managerial Economics (Undergraduate)
  • International Trade (Undergraduate)
  • Monetary Theory (Undergraduate)
  • International Finance (Undergraduate)
  • Financial Institutions of Pakistan (Undergraduate)
  • Issues in Pakistan’s Economy (Undergraduate)
  • Development Economics (Theory and Policy) (Undergraduate & Graduate levels) 
  • Money and Capital Markets (Undergraduate)
  • Corporate Governance (Graduate: MS/MPhil)
  • Economics and Public Policy (Graduate: MPhil – Public Policy)
  • Economic Applications of Business (Undergraduate)
  • Political Economy and Public Budgeting (PhD – Public Policy)

Dr Sikandar Hayat

Dr Sikandar Hayat is Distinguished Professor of History and Public Policy and Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences at Forman Christian College (A Chartered University). In 2014-17, he was Chair of the History Department. Earlier, in 2006-12, he was Directing Staff (Research) at the National Management College (formerly Pakistan Administrative Staff College) and Dean, National Institute of Public Policy at the National School of Public Policy, Lahore. In 1973-2006, he was faculty at the Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and, after serving for more than three decades, first at the Department of Pakistan Studies (founding faculty, till 1983) and later at the Department of History, he retired as Meritorious Professor and Chair of the Department of History. During this period, in 1991-1995, he was Education Counselor (Head of Education Division) at the Embassy of Pakistan in Washington DC, United States of America (USA). In 1995-96, he was American Institute of Pakistan Studies (AIPS) Scholar-in-Residence, and taught courses at Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo) and Arkansas State University (Jonesboro). He was AIPS Pakistan Lecture Series Speaker in 1990, 1997, and 2003, and delivered lectures on Pakistan at some of the leading universities in USA. In 2006, he was invited to teach a course on ‘Politics and Islam’ at Juniata College, Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, USA, under Fulbright Visiting Specialist Program, ‘Direct Access to the Muslim World’. 

Dr. Hayat has been member of a number of professional associations in the United States and Pakistan, including Association for Asian Studies (USA); Middle East Studies Association (USA); Annual Conference on South Asia, UW-Madison (USA); Pakistan Society of Development Economists (Islamabad); Council of Social Sciences (Islamabad); and Pakistan History Society (Karachi). He has participated in many national and international conferences, both at home and abroad, especially in the USA.

Research Interests:

Dr Hayat’s primary research interests are Pakistan/Pakistan Movement (Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah Studies); British Indian History; and Modern South Asia.

Publications (Recent):

In addition to numerous research papers, published in national and international journals, Dr Hayat’s most recent publications are:

  • A Leadership Odyssey: Muslim Separatism and the Achievement of the Separate State of Pakistan (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2021).
  • The Charismatic Leader: Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and the Creation of Pakistan, Oxford Pakistan Paperbacks, 2nded. (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2018). The first edition of the book was published in 2008, and is recipient of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan (HEC) ‘Best Book Publication Award’ for Social Sciences and Humanities for books published in 2008-2009. The second, revised edition was published in 2014.
  • Aspects of the Pakistan Movement, 3rd rev. ed.  (Islamabad: National Institute of Historical and Cultural Research, 2016).

Currently, Dr Hayat is working on an edited volume tentatively titled, ‘Pakistan Studies: A Book of Readings,’ for college students in Pakistan (and abroad).


Professor Dr. Saeed Shafqat is an eminent social scientist of international repute. He joined FCCU in 2007 as a Professor and founding Director of the Centre for Public Policy and Governance (CPPG). Besides designing and developing the postgraduate academic programs in Public Policy, he launched the publication of Research and News Quarterly. In 2018 he was awarded the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz in recognition of his services as a distinguished Social Scientist in the field of education, research and teaching. In 2020, the Ambassador of France in Pakistan on behalf of the French government conferred him with the Chevalier des Palmes Acade’miques for his contributions to the advancement of culture and education. Dr. Shafqat was member BOG (2016-2019), National School of Public Policy and a regular guest speaker at the National Defence University and National Management College. He has been Quaid-e-Azam Distinguished Professor and Chair (March 2001 – May 2005), Pakistan Center at the School of international Affairs and Public Policy (SIPA), Columbia University and continued to be Adjunct Professor at SIPA until 2010. For Spring 2012, he was Visiting Professor South Asian Studies, at the College of Wooster, Ohio. He has been Chief Instructor Civil Services Academy of Pakistan, Lahore (1988 – 2001). Over this period of time, he imparted instruction and training to over 1500 under training officers (federal civil servants) who are now serving in different branches of government all over Pakistan. He has also been the President (1990), Institute of Regional Studies Islamabad. He was Executive Director, National Institute of Population Studies (NIPS) 2005 – 2007. AT NIPS Dr. Shafqat led a team of professionals who managed the conduct and successful completion of Pakistan Demographic Health Survey 2006-2007 (PDHS). The PDHS was funded by USAID ($1.29 Million) and Macro International provided the technical support. Dr. Shafqat was instrumental in getting the PDHS 2006-07 Preliminary Findings Report published. He has been President of PAP,2008- 2010.


Dr. Shafqat is on the academic and governing board of several universities and training institutes. He is on the syndicate of University of Sargodha and on the Academic Council of the Government College University. He is also the Chairperson of SDG’s Governance Unit Punjab. Professor Saeed Shafqat obtained M.A (Geography) from the Punjab University. He has M.A (South Asian Studies) and PhD (Political Science) from University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He is a founder member and former Chairman of the Department of Pakistan Studies established in 1973 at the Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad. He was awarded the Best University Teacher Award by the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan in 2010.



His research articles on culture, politics, security, relations with the United States and various aspects of public policy and governance, demographic change and civil service reform in Pakistan have been published in journals of international repute. Dr. Shafqat’s books include: Political System of Pakistan and Public Policy (1989) Civil – Military Relations in Pakistan (1997), Contemporary Issues in Pakistan Studies (2000, 3rd edition) and New Perspectives on Pakistan: Visions for the Future (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2007). He has also co-authored Four Monographs: Pakistan, Afghanistan and US Relations: Implications for the Future (Lahore: CPPG, 2011) and Electoral Politics and Electoral Violence in 2013 Elections: The Case of Punjab (Lahore: CPPG, 2014. Migration, Urbanization and Security: Challenges of Governance and Development in Balochistan (Lahore: CPPG, 2017). His current research is on China’s Rise and its impact across Greater South Asia and the Gulf. His recent publications are:  “China’s Rise: How Is It Impacting the Gulf, Iran, Pakistan and Beyond?Asian Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies March 2017) and Saeed Shafqat & Saba Shahid, China, Pakistan Economic Corridor: Demands, Dividends and Directions (Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, 2018), and Changing Dynamics of China-India Relations: CPEC and Prospects for Pakistan (Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, 2020). His most recent publication are, Pathways to Governance and Civil Service Reform in Pakistan: Federal, Provincial and Local (April 2020) How Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are Reshaping China’s Soft Power? (Co-authored with Ayesha Siddique) Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Vol. 44, No. 3, Spring 2021

Saba Shahid


Saba Shahid is a public policy and human development researcher. At CPPG she is responsible for expanding the Centre’s academic research activities on diverse public policy topics such as China’s rise and the development of the CPEC, democratic governance structures, urban planning, public health and human development. She has been on the editorial board of the Centre’s Quarterly Research & News publication. Saba is a coordinator for the Centre’s research seminars and roundtable events and plays an active role in the outreach strategies for CPPG where she has often been asked to liaise with a variety of stakeholders conducting research projects that align with the Centre’s objectives. As a result she has fostered successful working relations between CPPG and our partner organizations including WWF Pakistan, Punjab SDG Unit, ICRC, and the Global Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program of the University of Pennsylvania to name a few.





Education: MSc Local Economic Development, London School of Economics and Political Science (UK)

BA Economics, Bilkent University (Turkey)



Research Areas

Sustainable Development/ Human Development Policy, Top-down Bottom-up Policy Integration, CPEC and China’s Rise, Covid-19 and Public Health

Courses Taught 


Publications (external)

Publications, Webinars and Conference Presentations (make sure the publications or their links are on CPPG website so they show automatically here, if you don’t have them, ask the concerned) 

Saba Shahid and Bushra Arfeen, March 2021. Bridging the Gender and Digital Divide in Post COVID-19 Pakistan: Empowering Women Through ICT. Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, FC College (A Chartered University).

Saba Shahid, “Six Months of Covid-19: Public Policy Lessons from Pakistan’s Case” in Shoba Suri, Ed., Rebooting the World: Six Months of COVID-19, September 2020, Observer Research Foundation.

Saba Shahid, August 2020. Ensuring an Equitable Distribution of the Covid-19 Vaccination in Pakistan. Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, FC College (A Chartered University).

Saba Shahid, May 2020. Covid-19: Policy Options for Pakistan. Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, FC College (A Chartered University).

Saeed Shafqat and Saba Shahid. 2020. Changing Dynamics of China-India Relations: CPEC and Prospects for Pakistan. Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, FC College (A Chartered University).

Saeed Shafqat and Saba Shahid. 2018. China Pakistan Economic Corridor: Demands, Dividends and Directions. Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, FC College (A Chartered University).

Shafqat, Saeed and Saba Shahid. 2017. “Migration, Urbanization and Security: Challenges of Governance and Development in Balochistan.” Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, FC College (A Chartered University).


Mahbub ul Haq Research Centre. 2016. Co-author “Women’s Empowerment in Pakistan.” In Human Development in South Asia 2016: Empowering Women in South Asia, 19th Annual Report. Lahore: Mahbub ul Haq Research Centre.  


Mahbub ul Haq Research Centre. 2015. “Health for All in South Asia.” In Human Development in South Asia 2015: The Economy and the People, 18th Annual Report, 137-167. Lahore: Mahbub ul Haq Human Development Centre. 


Contributing author for UNDP’s Pakistan National Human Development Report, 2017. “Unleashing the Potential of a Young Pakistan.” Islamabad: United Nations Development Programme Pakistan.


Blog Posts

Saba Shahid, “The Heirlooms of Zarina Begum”, Museum of Material Memory, 4 October 2020. http://www.museumofmaterialmemory.com/the-heirlooms-of-zarina-begum/ 


Articles & Opinion Pieces

Saba Shahid. “US Denial will not stop China’s Rise”. May 1st 2019. Daily Times. https://dailytimes.com.pk/385823/us-denial-will-not-stop-chinas-rise/

Saba Shahid. “Harnessing the CPEC Tiger”. Pakistan Politico. (July 2018). https://pakistanpolitico.com/harnessing-the-china-pakistan-economic-corridor-cpec-tiger/ 

Saba Shahid. “The Abrogation of Article 370: A need to Re-visit Alistair Lamb’s Analysis of the Kashmir Dispute”. Pakistan Politico. (December 2019). https://pakistanpolitico.com/the-abrogation-of-article-370-a-need-to-revisit-alistair-lambs-analysis-of-the-kashmir-dispute/ 


Host/Moderator for CPPG’s Webinar Series:



  • Presented the paper “Changing Dynamics of China-India Relations: CPEC and Prospects for Pakistan” alongside Dr. Shafqat at Centre for Public Policy and Governance. 22nd January 2020.
  • Presented on “CPEC: Local Developments and Regional Imperatives” to a delegation of Sri Lankan public officials hosted by HEC Pakistan and NSPP alongside Dr. Shafqat at Centre for Public Policy and Governance. 25th September 2019
  • Co-Presented with Dr. Saeed Shafqat on “China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC): Expecting Socio-Economic Dividends without Building National Consensus” at the conference The Great Transformation? The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Culture, Economy and Society in Pakistan jointly organized by LUMS and the University of Nottingham (6th April 2018)
  • Co-Presented with Dr. Saeed Shafqat on the conditions around the economic benefits of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the impact on Pakistan’s development at the workshop on Pakistan: The Long View by the CPPG in collaboration with the Wilson Chair in Pakistan Studies at the University of Texas at Austin (2ndDec 2016)

Raheem ul Haque


Raheem has been with the CPPG since 2008 and considers institution building, teaching and research as key to his work at the Centre. He has been part of the team to initiate CPPG’s Quarterly Research & News journal, the Executive MA program and the MPhil program in Public Policy, and is currently working with faculty and students to transform the Quarterly into a student led magazine.  

Raheem has a diverse academic and professional background, and a strong interest in active citizenship and community development, which drives his approach towards public policy. He has a bachelors in engineering followed by a decade long experience in information technology, business analysis and project management primarily focusing on developing management information systems in various industry verticals. This was supplemented by a master’s degree in public policy focusing on social change and development. He has also been practically involved with various civil society initiatives focusing on youth, peace and culture: he has served as the General Secretary of the Institute for Peace & Secular Studies for a few years; is a member of the Awami Art Collective focused on public art projects; delves into organic farming; and has run citizens campaigns on Orange Metro Train Project and Enforced Disappearances. 

His research interests include youth employability and informal sector along with a more practical interest in the use of technology for development and governance. He has been working on a monograph on Youth Employability since 2019, and is currently enrolled in a PhD program at the CPPG with the intent to explore linkages between informal economy and governance. 




PhD Scholar at the CPPG

Masters in International Public Policy, SAIS, Johns Hopkins, 2016

BS Computer & Electrical Engineering, Purdue University, 1994



Research Areas

Informal Sector


Youth Policy

Industrial Development 

Political Economy 


Courses Taught 

Informal Economy & Urban Development

Political Economy of Public Policy 

Political Institutions & Policy Process

Analyzing & Communicating Public Policy

Local Government & Community Development

Provide Title & Links to the following:

Publications (external)

Can Civil Resistance Lead To Deepening of Democracy in Pakistan: The Case of the PDM (Lahore: Pakistan Monthly Review, 2021); https://pakistanmonthlyreview.com/can-pdm-lead-to-deepening-of-democracy-in-pakistan/

Can Pakistan Have a De-radicalised Future? in Rethinking Pakistan: A 21st Century Perspective (Lahore: Folio Books, 2019); https://foliobooks.pk/book-store/folio-books/rethinking-pakistan/

Youth Radicalization in Pakistan (Washington DC: USIP, 2013); https://www.usip.org/publications/2014/02/youth-radicalization-pakistan

Pakistan, Afghanistan & US Relations: Implications and Future Directions co-authored with Saeed Shafqat (Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, 2011), 

Rickshaw & Environmental Pollution: Assessing Punjab Government’s Rickshaw Policy ((Lahore: Centre for Public Policy and Governance, 2009) 

Training Needs Assessment of Master’s Level Policy Programs in Pakistan (2009). 

Quarterly Research & News since 2008  

Energy Crises & Policy (2014) 

Institutional Arrangements for Post Disaster Recovery (2010) 

Agriculture Policy Implementation (2010). 

South Africa Story – An Unfinished Revolution (2019). 


Blog Posts

The Soul Searches of Corona Pandemic (2020); https://www.scribd.com/document/492739212/The-Soul-Searches-of-Corona


Opinion Pieces


Can Pakistan Win Peace in Afghanistan (2021); https://www.thefridaytimes.com/spotlight-can-pakistan-win-peace-in-afghanistan/

The democracy debate, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/563694-democracy-debate

The issueless Elections, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/565831-issueless-elections

Making of a National Movement, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/565237-making-national-movement

The roots of terrorism, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/563424-roots-terrorism

A reoriented Pakistani State, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/559352-reoriented-pakistani-state

Understanding Disappearances, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/564763-understanding-disappearances

Why media is failing democracy, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/563903-media-failing-democracy


Socio-cultural Development 

The Shamelessness of Mediocrity (2019), https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/567950-shamelessness-mediocrity

The making of a beggar nation, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/567391-making-beggar-nation

A Question of Ethics, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/567563-question-ethics

Omni Basant, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/566923-omni-basant

‘Safe’ Basant? Why not, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/561773-safe-basant

Illiteracy and development, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/566306-illiteracy-development

Policy for the Majority, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/566191-policy-majority

The structural nature of extremism, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/563512-structural-nature-extremism

Punjabi and the making of ignorance, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/562109-punjabi-making-ignorance

The Development Narrative, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/560773-development-narrative

The marginality of progressives, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/556312-marginality-of-pakistani-progressives



Qurbani in the age of Institutions, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/564026-qurbani-age-institutions

Political versus Theological, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/561332-political-vs-theological

When Islam Goes To University, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/559487-when-islam-goes-university

Evolution of Our Religious Culture, https://www.thenews.com.pk/tns/detail/559089-evolution-of-religious-and-culture

Dr Rabia Chaudhry


Rabia Chaudhry is an Assistant Professor at the Centre for Public Policy and Governance, Forman Christian College University, Lahore. She holds a PhD (titled “An army with a country: How the Pakistan military imposes indirect hegemony via the infrastructure and welfare sectors” (Mangna cum Laude) from Centre for Development Research, University of Bonn. 


Prior to this she conducted independent qualitative research and published two monographs titled “Custodial Torture and Human Rights: Designing a Policy Framework for Pakistan” and “Anti-Terror Laws, Policing and Criminal Justice System: A case study of Anti-Terrorist efforts in Punjab”. She has a Master (Exec.) in Public Policy, CPPG-FC College, Lahore and LL.B (Hons.), University of London.  She has practiced civil and commercial law in Pakistan’s Higher Courts and has over 10 years of teaching experience. Her research interests include civil military relations, institutional reform, public policy and governance. Research regions are South and Central Asia in particular and the global south in general.   


July 2019 Doctor of Philosophy (Magna cum Laude, Grade 1.3 German system)

Center for Development Research (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung), University of Bonn

Dissertation: “An Army with a country: How the Pakistan military imposes hegemony via the infrastructure and welfare sectors


June 2011                              Master’s in public policy (Executive)

Center for Public Policy and Governance, Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), Lahore

Dissertation: “Political Parties and charismatic leadership: How Qazi Hussain Ahmed transformed the Jama’at-i-Islami” 

May 2003 Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

University of London (External Degree Programme) 

March 2004 Bachelor of Arts 

The University of the Punjab, Pakistan 

Bachelor of Arts (Majored in Political Sciences and Journalism)




Research Areas

  • International Development 
  • Peace & conflict studies 
  • Anti – Terrorism laws
  • Anti – Corruption
  • Social justice
  • Development politics 
  • Civil-military relations


Courses Taught: Globalisation and transformation of Religion and Politics in South Asia (Spring / Summer 2020 and Spring/Summer 2021); Introduction to Public Policy (Fall Semester 2020)


Provide Title & Links to the following:

Publications (external)

2021 Political Parties and charismatic leadership: How Qazi Hussain Ahmed transformed the Jama’at-i-Islami

To be Published by August 2021 (currently under review)

Center for Public Policy and Governance, Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), Lahore

2019 An “island of excellence”? How the Pakistan military reflects on its presence in the development sector 

ZEF working paper series 


2014 Anti-Terror Laws, Policing and the Criminal Justice System: A Case Study of Anti-Terrorist Efforts in Punjab 

Center for Public Policy and Governance, Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), Lahore

2013 Custodial Torture and Human Rights: Designing a Policy Framework for Pakistan

Center for Public Policy and Governance, Forman Christian College (A Chartered University), Lahore

2018 From cornflakes to cement: Fauji Foundation – a business empire or military welfare?

Center for Development Research (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung), University of Bonn

2017 Defence or ‘development’: Frontier Works Organisation (Pakistan) – thriving at the crossroads of civil military binaries 

Center for Development Research (Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung), University of Bonn

Talks, Interviews & Presentations  
2019 An army with a country 


2017 The military as a popular development actor and saviour of Pakistan

Bonn Sustainability Portal



CPPG’s Research and Policy Brief Development Module for the 3rd Specialized Component of the 32nd MCMC at PAS Campus, Lahore

Intro/Abstracts CPPG’s Research and Policy Brief Development Module for the 3rd Specialized Component of the 32nd MCMC at PAS Campus, Lahore Between 21st December 2021 and 14th January 2022, CPPG was engaged as a consulting partner for the Pakistan Administrative Services (PAS) Campus’ 32nd Mid Career Management Course (MCMC). Mr. Umar Rasool, DG PAS, Ms. Ammara Khattak, Additional Director (PAS) and Mr. Bilal Akram, Additional Director (MCMC-PAS) were instrumental during this process and played an important role in advocating for this engagement. With several rounds of meetings, coordination and planning, CPPG’s faculty was requested to design a research-oriented module for the 32nd MCMC. 

The objective of the training module was to develop the officers’ understanding of the importance of data-driven, evidence-based policy making. For this purpose the training module focused on the foundations of identifying a public policy topic, conducting research through a review of literature/existing studies on the topic, collecting primary data where possible and developing an argument with respect to policy recommendations. The CPPG faculty therefore acted as ‘research supervisors’ helping the PAS officers gain both a theoretical understanding of research-based policy analysis, and also completing a practical exercise of writing a policy brief—which was the end output required to pass the MCMC.

The aim of the research module was to focus on a particular development issue with respect to the Sustainable Development Goals. Consequently a group of 22 officers were divided amongst four research supervisors from CPPG and each group focused on a different aspect of the SDGs, as follows:

  • Group 1: Good Health and Wellbeing – Supervised by Saba Shahid (Research Fellow, CPPG)
  • Group 2: Secure Livelihoods and Sustainable Cities (Developing a policy for lahore’s Street Vendors) – Supervised by Raheem ul Haque
  • Group 3: Reducing Inequalities, Inclusive policies for Pakistan’s Minorities– Supervised by Raja M. Ali Saleem
  • Group 4: Demography and Security– Supervised by Rabia Chaudhry
  • Date of Meeting/Event:  21st December 2021 

Book Discussion: China and South Asia: Changing Regional Dynamics, Development and Power Play

Book AbstractsThe book brings scholars from China, South Asia, and beyond the region to dwell on regional politics, connectivity and development projects, great power politics, ideology and cultural aspects of China and South Asia engagement. They present critical, comprehensive and expert analyses of China’s engagement with South Asia by covering historical, political, cultural, economic and strategic factors while including perspectives from individual countries. This book looks at the changing dynamics and regional power play between China and India. It explores crucial issues such as China–Pakistan Economic Corridor and the changing nature of China–India relations; China’s trident approach in South Asia and its rising influence in the region; the responses of small states to rising China; China’s twenty-first-century Belt and Road Initiative; China’s rise and the USA’s security policy vis-à-vis India; the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation and regional security; and Russia’s ‘Pivot to the East’ and its impact on the Asia-Pacific region.

  1. Date of Meeting/Event: 28th January, 2022 

Meeting with U.S. Consul General Mr. William K. Makaneole

Intro\Abstracts:  The new Consul General (CG) of the US Consulate General in Lahore, Mr. William K. Makaneole paid a visit to the CPPG on 8th November, 2021. He had a meeting with the Rector, Registrar, the  Director, CPPG and the faculty.  We had fruitful discussion and professionally rewarding exchange of views with the Consul General.  On behalf of FCCU, Dr. Addleton, Rector, thanked the CG for the visit.

  1. Date of Meeting/Event: 8th Nov, 2022

Student Quarterly

Director’s Desk

It gives me pleasure to share with you that since 2008, we have been publishing the Quarterly Research & News magazine. Raheem ul Haque has been the dynamic team leader ably assisted by Saba Shahid, since 2016 while, I have played only the supervisory role.
Over the years Quarterly has performed a very useful function of sharing the Centre’s activities and views of our guest speakers, while occasionally publishing research articles, policy briefs and consultative dialogue reports.
Now, the CPPG faculty is ready to launch a policy research journal, regularize its Monograph series, and enhance the quality and contents of policy briefs and discussion papers. Therefore, we have decided that from this year the CPPG students will take charge of the Quarterly. In that spirit the current issue is edited and managed by the student editorial team comprising Neha Malik, Neesa Abbas and Mansoor Nahra,and supervised by Saba Shahid and Raheem ul Haque,both of whom have done an excellent job in advising and navigating this student-led initiative.
I want to underscore that this is a student-led initia- tive and reflects the vigor, dedication and a sense of purpose of the CPPG’s MPhil students. In the com- ing months/years the Executive Masters and the PhD students will also join enthusiastically and contribute towards making the Quarterly a flag-bearer of stu- dents’ voice and research. The faculty supervisor’s role is to advise and oversee that Quarterly becomes a torchbearer to promote a culture of research, delibera- tion and tolerance of opposing views in an academic environment, where student’s views and voices are respected. We hope that through this venture, the students of the CPPG will become the backbone of the FCC research community, enabling the faculty to consolidate the Think Tank functions of the CPPG. Please join me in congratulating the Quarterly’s edito- rial team for making a daring new beginning. Any comments and critical feedback is welcome and will give the editorial team and contributors a sense of confidence.

Dr. Saeed Shafqat

What is wrong with the Single National Curriculum?

Together the editorial team and advisors have brought together a diversity of content. We have tried to represent different areas of public policy from arts and culture to the importance of think tanks in the field of policy sciences.
We sincerely thank our Director and advisors for their guidance and support. We would also like to thank our contributors for working with us on this edition.We further invite MPhil scholars of social sciences to submit their Thesis Paper abstracts for publishing in the Quarterly.
See More

Editorial Board


Deputy Secretary Services, Sindh



Event Overview

Reviews and Recommendation

Asim Imdad Ali, Circular History of Pakistan (Lahore: Vanguard Books, 2021)

Review by Dr. Saeed Shafqat

World on Fire: How Exporting Free Market
Democracy Breeds Ethnic Hatred and Global
Instability by Amy Chua (2002).

Review by Neha Malik

Student and Alumni News

Aleena Afzal

MPhil Class of 2022

Rizwan Dawood

MPhil Class of 2019

Zainab Altaf

MPhil Class of 2016

Ali Murad Khokhar

MPhil Class of 2017

Error: Contact form not found.

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Tuesday, August 24, 2021

2:30 PM to 3:30 PM

Dr. Saeed Ishtiaq

FC College Ferozepur Road Lahore

Want to Join this Events

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Research Publication Post

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Policy Brief

Ayesha Saddiqua


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Consultation and Research on Local and Governance in Punjab

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Grant Partners

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02 May 2021 | Conference Report  |  Muhammad Hassan, Maheen Saleem Khosa, and Raffat Yasmeen Malik

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The emerging shift in international tax policy

Event Description:  The 8th of October 2021 will perhaps be long remembered as a milestone in the history of international tax policy; the day when 136 nations reached a political agreement to adopt landmark new tax rules in the international tax arena. The agreement achieved under the umbrella of the Organization for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD) has been the product of long-debated and often-stuck sessions at least since 2015.

The prospective shift in the international tax policy that draws on the so-called “two pillar approach” was approved by G-20 leaders in the Rome Declaration on 30 October2021. The global consensus on the new policy (now agreed by 137 out of 140 participating nations) foresees two landmark changes in the taxation of multinationals and will be enforced by years 2023-24. While the operational details and related rules are yet to be crafted, the new policy will bring a substantive shift in the existing hundred-year-old international tax structure. Under Pillar-1 of the agreement, the market jurisdictions will have taxing rights over the profits of certain digital multinational companies; likewise, the Pillar-2 proposes a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15%. This session will discuss the potential consequences of the proposed changes in the global tax policy in general and will also touch upon its implications for Pakistan.

Industrial Growth: Development in Punjab Industrial

Industrial Growth: Development in Punjab

Industrial Growth: Challenge and Development in Punjab

issue 2

CPPG Quarterly: Issue 49 & 52 – 2021

  1. Subject/Topic: Education, Health Policy, Media & ICT, Foreign Affairs, Economic Development, Peace & Conflict Resolution, Democracy & Governance
  2. Publication Type: Quarterly

COVID 19 has disrupted social relations and economic activity across the world. Academic institutions, including schools, colleges and universities in Pakistan like many other countries were caught by surprise. Despite lack of preparedness universities are witnessing unprecedented transformations. Technology has produced enormous opportunities and created unforeseen challenges. Among the universities in Lahore, FCCU took the lead in setting up procedures for adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and adopting platforms for online teaching. Since the CPPG only has post-graduate programs and the student body size is relatively small (Executive Masters, MPhil and PhD), it quickly embraced ZOOM for its programs.

We swiftly converted our well established Seminar and Policy dialogues series into Webinar series—around 12 have been conducted so far, highlighting public policy concerns ranging from the management of the global health crisis, to the significance of media freedom. Several others are lined up in the coming weeks as we continue to commit our efforts towards evidence-based policy advocacy.

Besides, enriching its academic programs, teaching, research and trainings, over the years CPPG has been building and expanding its Think Tank functions by connecting with other national and international Think Tanks. In November (10-12), 2019, the Director CPPG, participated in Asia Pacific Think Tanks Summit, at Bangkok, Thailand. This is an initiative and global out reach program stemming from the Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program at the Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies, University of Pennsylvania. It has a Think Tank Membership of about 181 from across the globe and I was able to register CPPG in 2018. Since then, the CPPG has actively participated in Virtual Global Think Tanks Town Hall Meetings, the Director nominated Ms. Saba Shahid, Research Fellow to participate in the meetings and serve as Focal Person. This helped CPPG build connections with other think tanks internationally, including the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) a leading Think Tank in India and we contributed towards the publication of their monograph “Rebooting the World: Six Months of COVID- 19” (September 2020).

In 2020 we applied to the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict for a fellowship and were able to secure it. Dr. Rabia Chaudhry is the Focal Person and was nominated to attend a three-day online program – titled Reflecting on Peace Building and Sustaining Peace – on behalf of the CPPG. Four institutions, namely; Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, the Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, Peace Direct and the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, organized this. Dr. Chauhdry, attended and contributed to panels on Sustaining peace on the ground – the role of civil society in peacebuilding; Partnerships with the United Nations and others; Civil society’s role in building and sustaining peace; and additional relevant topics. This virtual consultation was attended by academics and civil society organizations from sixty different countries.

Earlier in 2019 the CPPG signed an MOU with George Mason University, Virginia, USA and in January 2021, Dr. Mark J. Rozelle Associate Dean gave a webinar on “The Meaning of January 6 and the Biden Transition”. The CPPG continues to work closely with the Urban Unit, Government of Punjab and Dr. Imdad Hussain is the focal person for that initiative. In addition, Dr. Ali Saleem wounded up the project on Local Government with GTZ and the CPPG published the final report titled “Effective Implementation of the PLGA 2019: Lessons Learnt from the Implementation of the PLGA 2013.”

The CPPG retains the distinction of being the leading academic and actionable policy research Think Tank and publisher at FCCU. Despite, the pandemic, we have produced two policy related researches on two critical issues including a policy brief titled Pathways to Governance and Civil Service Reform in Pakistan: Federal, Provincial and Local (April, 2020) and a discussion paper on Bridging the Gender and Digital Divide in Post COVID-19 Pakistan: Empowering Women Through ICT (March 2021). Further researches are in the pipeline for the current year.

Finally, it gives me pleasure to share with you that since 2008 we have been publishing the Quarterly Research & News magazine. Raheem ul Haque has been the dynamic team leader ably assisted by Saba Shahid, since 2016 while, I have played only the supervisory role. Over the years it has performed a very useful function of sharing the views of our guest speakers, occasionally publishing a research article, policy brief and consultative dialogues and their reports. Now, the CPPG faculty is ready to launch a policy research journal, therefore, we have decided that from this year the CPPG students will edit the Quarterly. In that spirit the current issue carries two articles by students who have completed their MPhil in Public Policy. Moreover I would like to acknowledge our MPhil students Shahwar Asif, Moazma Ashraf, Hurmat Nadeem, Momna Malik, Ehtisham Akhtar, Surteel Siddiqui and Sobia Mustafa for the assistance they have given with this edition. The CPPG faculty members will advise and oversee this transition of Quarterly to promote a culture of research, deliberation and tolerance of opposing views in an academic environment. We hope the students will welcome this opportunity, enabling the faculty to consolidate the Think Tank functions of CPPG..


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Contrary to popular belief, Lorem Ipsum is not simply random text. It has roots in a piece of classical Latin literature from 45 BC, making it over 2000 years old. Richard McClintock, a Latin professor at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia, looked up one of the more obscure Latin words, consectetur, from a Lorem Ipsum passage, and going through the cites of the word in classical literature, discovered the undoubtable source.

Geek Week 2020


Etiam consectetur odio erat, quis mattis leo vestibulum non. Fusce ex ligula, tristique quis finibus sed, placerat sed libero. Phasellus convallis, sem ac tristique interdum, purus purus vehicula quam, ut fermentum sem orci in est. Aliquam leo purus, iaculis non condimentum hendrerit, vestibulum quis tortor. Vestibulum quis viverra felis. Vestibulum elementum magna ut diam placerat, in venenatis est egestas. Vivamus at libero auctor, ullamcorper libero condimentum, pellentesque nunc. In auctor dignissim tristique.

Start small. Think Big.
Aliquam fringilla molestie nisi ut porttitor. Maecenas viverra velit id cursus rhoncus. Mauris sit amet semper enim, quis hendrerit ex. Maecenas eu neque non lectus varius tristique sed ac tortor. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Integer accumsan tempus finibus. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Duis feugiat volutpat metus in elementum. Vestibulum accumsan diam augue, vel hendrerit nisi vestibulum non. Cras enim neque, aliquam nec placerat et, blandit in ex. Sed tristique diam sit amet felis volutpat, vel cursus dolor maximus.

About The Conference

Registration Process and Fee

Fiesta! International Conference

Etiam consectetur odio erat, quis mattis leo vestibulum non. Fusce ex ligula, tristique quis finibus sed, placerat sed libero. Phasellus convallis, sem ac tristique interdum, purus purus vehicula quam, ut fermentum sem orci in est. Aliquam leo purus, iaculis non condimentum hendrerit, vestibulum quis tortor. Vestibulum quis viverra felis. Vestibulum elementum magna ut diam placerat, in venenatis est egestas. Vivamus at libero auctor, ullamcorper libero condimentum, pellentesque nunc. In auctor dignissim tristique.

Start small. Think Big.
Aliquam fringilla molestie nisi ut porttitor. Maecenas viverra velit id cursus rhoncus. Mauris sit amet semper enim, quis hendrerit ex. Maecenas eu neque non lectus varius tristique sed ac tortor. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Integer accumsan tempus finibus. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Duis feugiat volutpat metus in elementum. Vestibulum accumsan diam augue, vel hendrerit nisi vestibulum non. Cras enim neque, aliquam nec placerat et, blandit in ex. Sed tristique diam sit amet felis volutpat, vel cursus dolor maximus.

ICIC International Conference on Computing


Etiam consectetur odio erat, quis mattis leo vestibulum non. Fusce ex ligula, tristique quis finibus sed, placerat sed libero. Phasellus convallis, sem ac tristique interdum, purus purus vehicula quam, ut fermentum sem orci in est. Aliquam leo purus, iaculis non condimentum hendrerit, vestibulum quis tortor. Vestibulum quis viverra felis. Vestibulum elementum magna ut diam placerat, in venenatis est egestas. Vivamus at libero auctor, ullamcorper libero condimentum, pellentesque nunc. In auctor dignissim tristique.

Start small. Think Big.
Aliquam fringilla molestie nisi ut porttitor. Maecenas viverra velit id cursus rhoncus. Mauris sit amet semper enim, quis hendrerit ex. Maecenas eu neque non lectus varius tristique sed ac tortor. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Integer accumsan tempus finibus. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Duis feugiat volutpat metus in elementum. Vestibulum accumsan diam augue, vel hendrerit nisi vestibulum non. Cras enim neque, aliquam nec placerat et, blandit in ex. Sed tristique diam sit amet felis volutpat, vel cursus dolor maximus.

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