Conference on Pakistan at Johns Hopkins University

Washington, DC: Jahangir Karamat makes his debut here with a keynote address to a special conference on Pakistan organized by the School of Advanced International Studies at the, Washington.

The one-day conference takes place on 8 November and will open with the new ambassador speaking about his country, which, in the words of the sponsors, “is caught at the center of global events, facing urgent challenges and difficult choices.”

He is expected to address the question of Pakistan’s role in the ongoing struggle against terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda and the root causes of the phenomenon called terrorism. The sponsors feel that “for all its international importance, in many ways Pakistan’s political and domestic situation has been poorly understood by foreign observers, many of whom remain unaware of the particular nature of Pakistan’s development.”

The conference hopes to analyze the specific character of Pakistan’s social, economic and political challenges, and present a “more nuanced” picture of the country. The papers to be read are expected to focus on Pakistan’s economic and social development and deal with the current political process, including an examination of factors such as fundamentalism, external events and the forces shaping domestic trends.

After Ambassador Karamat’s keynote address, the conference will hear from Abdul Hafiz Sheikh, a member of Pakistan’s federal cabinet, and Dr Jessica Horn, Dean of the School of Advanced International Studies at the university. The first panel to be chaired by Robert Hathaway, Director Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars, will feature Ms Sherry Rehman, PPP member of the National Assembly, who will speak about the “Perils of a unifocal strategic framework and Pakistan’s encounter with the military, Islamism and the United States.” Ms Teresita Schaffer, director, South Asia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, will act as the discussant. The panel will also hear from Prof. Charles Amjad Ali of the Luther Seminary on the “use and abuse of religion in the nexus of power in Pakistan,” with Husain Haqqani of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace acting as discussant. Sushant Sareen of the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi, will address the conference on Pakistan’s political economy with reference to India, seen as both a “constraint: and an opportunity” with nuclear physicist Zia Mian of Princeton acting as discussant.

The second panel on social change, institutions and social groups, to be chaired by Walter Anderson, chairman of South Asia Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies, will feature Arif Hasan, an urban planner from Karachi, who will address the issue of socio-economic change in Pakistan, with Prof. Shahnaz Rouse of Sarah Lawrence College serving as discussant. Ms Talat Aslam, Editor, The News, Karachi, will speak on “Zia’s Children: young Pakistanis in a changing world,” with Ms Lubna Chaudhry of the State University of New York, Binghamton, acting as discussant. The panel will also hear from Prof. Shahrukh Khan of Mount Holyoke College who will speak on Pakistan under the present military government and examine if any progress has taken place. Ijaz Nabi of the World Bank will be the discussant.

The third panel devoted to economic development in Pakistan will hear from Mohammad Mansoor Ali of the State Bank of Pakistan with Nadeem ul Haq of the International Monetary Fund acting as the discussant and visiting professor Akbar Zaidi of the South Asia Studies Program at the School for Advanced International Studies chairing the session. Sakib Sherani of ABN-AMRO Bank, Islamabad, will address the conference on private investment in Pakistan, with Arvind Subramanian of the IMF serving as discussant. The panel will also hear from Imran Khalid Khan of the World Bank on strategic lending with Pakistan as a case study. His discussant will be John Williamson of the International Institute of Economics.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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