Mr. Hassan Akbar
Mr. Hassan Akbar is a Senior Policy Expert at the Strategic Policy Planning Cell, National Security Division. He is also a former director at the Jinnah Institute
Ms. Ammara Durrani is a public policy professional with over 20 years of leadership experience in strategic planning, management, partnerships, and advocacy in the public, private, and international development sectors. Her areas of expertise include: Sustainable Development; Democracy & Governance; Preventing Violence & Peace-building; Foreign Policy & Security; Arts & Culture; and Women and Youth Empowerment.
She currently serves as Assistant Resident Representative/Chief Development Policy Unit at UNDP Pakistan. In prior institutional roles, she served as Chief Technical Adviser Youth Empowerment Programme, UNDP Pakistan (May-September 2019); Adviser, Pakistan Culture & Development Programme, Danish Center for Culture & Development (July 2015-August 2016); Country Director Pakistan, Search for Common Ground (2012-2014); General Manager, Public Outreach, Corporate Communications & Corporate Social Responsibility, Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (2011-2012); Project Director & Strategic Communications Specialist, Federal Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of Pakistan (2008-2011); Development Outreach & Communications Specialist, U.S. Agency for International Development Pakistan Mission (2006-2008); and Pakistan Coordinator, World Social Forum (2005-2006).
Durrani holds M. Phil. in International Relations from the University of Cambridge, U.K. (1999); and M.A. (1998) and B.A. Honors (1997) in General History from the University of Karachi, Pakistan.
Dr. Ahmed W. Waheed
Dr. Ahmed W. Waheed is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Centre for International Peace and Stability (NUST) since 2016. He has also taught many courses related to Human Rights, Foreign Policy and Political Science at Bahria University, Iqra University and Forman Christian College. Dr Waheed has done his PhD in Political Science and International Relations from Queen Mary, University of London. His PhD thesis is titled ‘Sovereignty, Failed States, and US Foreign Aid: A Detailed Assessment of the Pakistani Perspective’. Besides his many publications in various journals, Dr Waheed has authored two books: The Wrong Ally: Pakistan’s State Sovereignty under US Dependence and Constructing ‘Pakistan’ through Knowledge Production in International Relations and Area Studies.
Working Committee on Regional Connectivity as a Stabilizer of Neighbourly Ties
Muhammad Abbas Hassan – Moderator
Muhammad Abbas Hassan is a speaker, analyst, international trainer/lecturer and a seasoned national security professional with over eight years of proven experience in research and academia. He is currently working as an MP-III officer with the Government of Pakistan. Mr Hassan has trained military officers from over 60 countries in Sri Lanka and given lectures to undergrad and graduate students at the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley. He has also trained officers from the Pakistani bureaucracy in Islamabad. Mr Hassan has also worked as a Research Associate at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). He holds an MPhil (2015) and MSc (2013) in International Relations from National Defence University, Islamabad and is a distinguished member of the World Institute for Nuclear Security, Vienna. He has taught at National Defence University, Bahria University and Muslim Youth University. He has also worked with SASSI, ISSRA and the Center for Regional Stability. His area of research includes the Middle East (West Asia), Peace Mediation, regional stability, and strategic issues relating to South Asia.
Muhammad Taimur Khan
Taimur Khan is a researcher by profession. His research focuses on security, foreign policy and nontraditional security challenges. Currently, he is working as a Research Associate at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). He has been associated with ISSI for the last five years, where he has been working on Europe and Russia with a special focus on their relations with Pakistan.
Saman Rizwan is working as a Research Associate at National Dialogue Forum. She holds a Masters in International Relations from S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, NTU, Singapore. The focus of her research is primarily on issues related to gender, governance and foreign policy.
Saddam Hussein is an economist, public policy analyst, writer, trainer, and researcher, having five years of experience in the research and development sector. He is also engaged as a Consultant with World Bank and the UN Currently, Hussein serves as a Research Economist at PIDE. He also writes regularly for national and international print and electronic media; so far, he has authored more than 200 articles in the domains of security, politics, economy, institutions, philosophy, and Pak-Afghan affairs. Hussein frequently delivers key-note talks, appears on TV and conducts training workshops on topics that come under governance, development, leadership, motivation, economy, the rule of law and social cohesion.
Ms Nabila Jaffer has been a Research Analyst at the Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) since 2015 and currently working on China. She holds an M. Phil degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University and MAS in International and European Security Studies from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. She has also obtained a certificate in International Training Course in Security Policy from Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) in 2014.
Riaz Khokhar is a research associate at the Center for International Strategic Studies (CISS), Islamabad. His research interests are great power politics in South Asia, the foreign policy of Pakistan, and South Asian strategic stability issues. Previously, he was also an Asia Studies Visiting Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington.
Hamraz Sarwani has extensive experience as a policy researcher and is currently working as a Research Associate at VTT Global. He holds an MPhil degree in International Relations from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.
Zukhruf Amin is a Research Associate at the Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR). She has previously worked at Institute for Strategic Studies, Research and Analysis (ISSRA). Her research interests include Conflict Analysis and Resolution, Climate Change and South Asian Politics.
Syed Nasir Hassan is working as a Research Fellow at Islamabad Institute of Conflict Resolution (IICR). He has participated in various national and international forums. He often writes for national and international newspapers and e-tabloids.
is an Islamabad-based policy analyst. She works as Advocacy & Editorial Specialist in Islamabad Policy Research Institute. She is the Visiting Fellow at Stimson Center’s South Asia Program, 2021 Cohort. Listed amongst Young Leaders under 30 by The United Nations Foundation, she was hosted for the ‘Big Brainstorm’ focus group in Islamabad this year jointly conducted by the Tabadlab and UN Foundation.
Working Committee on New Dimensions of Security
Zaki Khalid – Moderator
Zaki Khalid is an internationally-certified intelligence analyst. He led multiple research projects for the Government of Pakistan during his 6+ years of national service. He is the Editor of the Pakistan Geostrategic Review podcast and routinely writes for various publishing platforms.
Asma Khalid is a Senior Research Associate at the Center of Pakistan and International Relations (COPAIR), Islamabad. She was a South Asian Voices Visiting Fellow at The Stimson Center, Washington, DC, United States. Her research interests include South Asian strategic issues, including nuclear nonproliferation, deterrence dynamics, nuclear politics and policies, and nuclear safety and security. Her analysis of these issues has featured in national and international publication platforms.
Fahad Nabeel is an independent researcher who primarily focuses on topics related to militancy and cyber security. He is a Co-Founder and Research Lead at Geopolitical Insights, a soon-to-be-launched research consultancy firm. Fahad is also a Visiting Faculty Member at the Department of International Relations, National Defence University, where he teaches an undergraduate course on cyber security.
Ms Ahyousha Khan is a Senior Research Associate at the Strategic Vision Institute, Islamabad. She completed her MPhil in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Her BS (Hons) in Defence and Diplomatic Studies from Fatima Jinnah Women University. Her areas of Interest are nuclear deterrence, nonproliferation, nuclear doctrines and emerging new technologies. She has been contributing in her areas of interest in newspapers, international blogs, workshops, journals and books.
Samran Ali is an Islamabad-based researcher with an interest in defence and security issues. He has worked at the Center for International Strategic Studies Islamabad.
Hajira Asaf is currently working as a Communications Officer at the International Committee of the Red Cross. Her research interests include Nuclear Policy and International Security. She holds a Master’s degree in Defence and Strategic Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.
Abdullah Rehman Butt
Abdullah Rehman Butt is working as a researcher at the Centre for Aerospace & Security Studies (CASS). He holds an MPhil degree in Strategic and Nuclear Studies from National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad. His areas of research include emerging technologies, nuclear deterrence in South Asia, and shifting trends in the global order.
Ms Aamna Rafiq is working as a Research Associate in the Arms Control & Disarmament Centre (ACDC) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), Pakistan. Previously, she has worked with the Arms Control and Disarmament Affairs (ACDA) Directorate of the Strategic Plans Division (SPD), Rawalpindi and Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services (PIPS) Islamabad. As a Young Parliamentary Subject Expert, she also assisted the Senate`s Standing Committee on Defence Production at the Parliament of Pakistan. Ms Rafiq holds an MPhil degree in International Relations from Quaid-i-Azam University (QAU), Islamabad. Her areas of specialisation are Cyberspace, Militarisation of Emerging Technologies and Arms Control. Twitter: @AamnaRafiq
Mobeen Jafar Mir
Mobeen Jafar Mir is a Research Assistant at Islamabad Policy Institute (IPI). He holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad.
A Masters scholar of Strategic Studies at Air University; with double Bachelors in Politics, International Relations and Economics. Received the Grand Challenges Prize for his Policy Design Strategy at Swinburne University, Australia. Has numerous publications on Strategic Foresight for Asia on human, national, and regional security issues. A former compliance officer for AML-CTF regulations in Australia. Has also taken part in policy simulation exercises and completed certificate courses on Nuclear South Asia, Deterrence and Public Speaking.
Working Committee on Climate Action and Sustainable Development Strategies
Ayesha Malik – Moderator
Ayesha Malik is a Research Fellow and Team Lead for the Conflict Law Centre at the Research Society of International Law. She focuses on the law of armed conflict, particularly with regards to Kashmir. She has worked in the past for a security policy-based think tank in London and Kabul and worked in the development sector in Pakistan and South Sudan before returning to pursue a profession in law.
Ahmad Saleem is a policy analyst and a development practitioner who is currently working as a Policy Consultant for United Nations Development Programme, Pakistan. He demonstrates a keen interest in governance, policy and humanitarian issues in Pakistan and beyond.
Ayesha Ilyas works at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute as a Coordinator of Policy Outreach & Advocacy and a Research Associate. She did her MPhil in International Relations from National Defence University with a research focus on ‘Inter-state relations in view of climatic vulnerabilities’. Her work at SDPI as a Researcher ranges from Climate Change to Pakistan’s Foreign Policy and Politics of South Asia. As a Coordinator for Policy Outreach, she has organised over 100 online and hybrid consultations on various issues.
Afsana Afsar is a career journalist. At present, she is taking care of Margallas at The Nation. Her professional experience includes working at The Express Tribune, National Assembly Secretariat, and British Council, among others. She remained a Young Parliamentary Associate and Member Youth Parliament Pakistan. She holds BS and MS degrees in Media and Communication Studies and also professional certifications from Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University, USA.
Sania Sabir is currently pursuing her Doctorate in Governance and Public Policy at NUML, Islamabad. Ms Sabir is also a Research Fellow and Lecturer at BUITEMS. She has an MPhil degree in Governance and Public Policy from National Defence University, Islamabad
Tuba Azeem is a doctoral candidate at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. She is investigating the legal history of Med fisherfolk of Balochistan, their land and sea rights. She has previously worked on perceptions mapping for the coastal communities of districts of Lasbela and Gwadar with the Institute of Policy Studies, Islamabad, and explored resource management and distribution under mining regulations of Dera Bugti region with the Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research. Tuba was Concours Jean-Pictet Fellow of international humanitarian law and has judged the nationals rounds under ILSA of Thailand and Egypt of international law. She has spent a semester at Concord University, West Virginia as part of the Global Undergraduate Exchange Program of the US Department of State. Azeem is the recipient of International Committee of the Red Cross postgraduate scholarship and Victoria Doctoral Award.
Ameera has been working on climate change for the past seven years. She has a degree in Environmental Engineering and is currently pursuing one in Development Studies and Climate Change from NUST. She works at Save the Children in their Climate Change program and owns an organization for climate advocacy and education, “clim-8.org”.
Abbas Moosvi is currently serving as a Research Fellow, Political Economy, at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics. Holding a BSc in Political Science from the Lahore University of Management Sciences, he has diverse experience in the corporate, development, and academic sectors of Pakistan. His research spans a wide range of areas, including education, democratization, climate mitigation, international relations, creative industries, and the political economy of development. He is also a columnist at The Express Tribune.
The Centre for Strategic and Contemporary Research (CSCR) hosted the “Young Researchers Convention on the Reconstruction of Pakistan’s National Security Roadmap” on 6 January 2022 at the Margala Hotel, Islamabad. Around 50 young and mid-career researchers, practitioners and experts from various think tanks, policy institutions, universities and the development sector were invited for discussing a triad of themes, namely,
The convention was inaugurated by the Executive Director of CSCR, Mr Anas Abdullah. Mr Abdullah stated that the motivation behind the idea of the research convention was to cater to the brightest young Pakistani thought leaders and chart a direction using their suggestions to find a confluence of the economic, climate and social domain with the larger national security paradigm.
Following the inaugural speech, Mr Hassan Akbar from the National Security Division, Ms Ammara Durrani from the United Nations Development Programme and Dr Ahmed Waqas Waheed from the Centre for International Peace and Stability, NUST, gave their remarks before the initiation of the discussion session of three working committees. Mr Hassan Akbar spoke on “Beyond Hackneyed Cliches: Security Policy Making in the 21st Century”. Mr Akbar stated that even though Pakistan has developed security policies on different themes, it is the first time the state has developed a comprehensive and inclusive National Security Policy. While discussing the process of formation of the National Security Policy, Mr Akbar stated that it had taken Pakistan almost seven years to formulate this umbrella document in which all the stakeholders and institutions were taken on board.
Ms Ammara Durrani, in her presentation, argued that while engaging different ideas and concepts, it is also significant that the focus is given to hard science to formulate the policies and responses. She stated that we need to change our traditional economic model to deal with Climate Change disasters effectively. We must look 50 years ahead in the future to identify the threats and challenges that are emerging. Ms Durrani opined that Pakistan’s policy documents need to conform with global human development indicators to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). She also stressed the importance of women inclusion in Pakistan’s economic growth.
Dr Ahmed Waqas Waheed discussed “Outmoded Knowledge Production and Security Narratives on Pakistan”. Dr Waheed highlighted the significance of indigenous knowledge production in Pakistan and suggested relying less on foreign media and publications discourse. He argued that with analysis that is state-centric at its core, you could not have another competing human-friendly framework in parallel. One will always take precedence.
Following the remarks by the experts, the discussion session of the three working committees commenced. The panellists of the working committee on “Regional Connectivity as a Stabilizer of Neighborly Ties” (RCSNT) discussed the importance of effective governance in Pakistan for economic and political sustainability to enhance regional connectivity in the region. The specialised panellists argued there is a need to revamp the existing, ineffective and outdated procedures and laws to improve governance. Furthermore, it was discussed that before setting national goals for regional connectivity, it is essential to bolster inter-provincial coordination and consensus on national interest agendas. The working group maintained that skill development in youth could play a fundamental role in regional trade. They proposed that Pakistani institutions need to analyse the supply and demand factors in industries, thereby, educate and training Pakistani youth accordingly. Only then Pakistan can enhance international linkages in every domain. They also discussed the need for creating partnerships with local industries across the region to improve economic growth.
The working committee on the “New Dimensions of Security” (NDS) discussed the importance of adopting an integrated approach to holistic policymaking and implementations that balance traditional and non-traditional security threats. The panellists suggested the need for institutional demarcation on national security issues for avoiding overlaps and confusion at the institutional level. They underlined the need to develop a cyber strategy and digital literacy roadmap, including an actionable plan to be perused by state organs. The NDS committee also emphasised forming a proactive national strategy on artificial intelligence and big data to prepare contingency plans. They argued not to securitise cyberspace unnecessarily through a state-centric approach. Instead, it needs to be managed and regulated through a citizen-centric approach, involving all stakeholders. Also, the urgent need to prioritise water security and management was emphasised during the discussion. The working committee suggested educating and training civil society to deal with potential biohazards for the future and to reduce the reliance on armed forces for every catastrophe.
The specialized panellists on the “Climate Action and Sustainable Development Strategies” (CASDS) working committee discussed the urgent need to educate the citizens regarding climate change phenomena and the challenges Pakistan faces in curtailing this threat. They argued that our government needs to involve all sectors, including private, government, business and civic, to implement climate action strategies. Local bodies need to be educated and empowered by enhancing their capacity to take measures at the local level. The working committee maintained that education is the primary source that can eventually lead to action. The curriculum of primary education should include climate change as an important part as it would help raise an informed generation who would be ready to take any actions necessary. The panellists suggested developing guidelines on population growth and water management. They argued that media needs to play a more active role in creating awareness campaigns for Pakistani citizens.
Following the separate sessions of working committees, representatives from each panel presented their proposed policies, strategies, and guidelines that Pakistani institutions can adopt. These presentations were also observed by the representatives of various embassies, policy institutions, universities, national and international governmental and non-governmental organisations.
The event was covered extensively by print, electronic and digital media. Below are snippets from the print and digital media sources, as well as the names of channels present for covering the event.
1. ‘Pakistan’s new security policy comprehensive, inclusive’ (Dawn)
2. Young Researchers Convention on the Reconstruction of Pakistan’s National Security Roadmap (THE NEWS)
3. Young Researchers Convention on the Reconstruction of Pakistan’s National Security Roadmap (URDU)