1st Advisory Board Meeting of the India Study Centre, the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad ISSI
March 4, 2021
Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Director General of the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) in his opening remarks on the 1st Advisory Board Meeting of the India Study Centre ISC, ISSI said that ISC is one of the five centres at ISSI. He outlined the vision of ISC and explained the functions of ISC in building narratives and counter-narratives.
Dr Saif ur Rehman Malik Director ISC, ISSI appraised the ISC Advisory Board Meeting regarding its contributions in 2020 and the upcoming 2021 activities of ISC. He highlighted the vision of ISC in promoting policy discourse on India’s foreign, security, and socio-economic policies, and to understand implications for Pakistan. The following are views of the members of the Advisory Board of ISC.
Ambassador Salman Bashir praised the creation of ISC and emphasized its independent role in policy input. He appreciated ISC’s initiative i.e. “Voices of Kashmir” in disseminating the views of native Kashmiri people and the much-needed international opinion in highlighting the plight of Kashmiri Muslims in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
Dr. Asma Shakir Khawaja, Associate Professor of the Department of Strategic Studies, National Defence University, Islamabad, emphasized to create alternative narratives to project better image of Pakistan regionally and globally. She also suggested ISC the power of languages and collaboration between think-tanks and academia.
Lt. Gen. Asif Yaseen Malik (Retd.) served as defence secretary previously, also attended the session. He stressed on the importance of social media for propagating Pakistan’s message abroad and hoped for better relations between India and Pakistan by engaging the former through dialogue.
Mr. Khalid Rehman is serving as the President of Islamabad Policy Studies (IPS) a think-tank based in Islamabad, highlighted the importance of Urdu language in strengthening national harmony. He expressed his concerns over the ill treatment of minorities in India with special regards to Dalits and Sikhs.
Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad, Vice-Chancellor, University of Sargodha, talked on the importance of objectivity in research in relation to subjectivity. He suggested ISC the relevance of pod-casts in the dissemination of information.
Mr. Jamal Aziz, Executive Director, Research Society for International Law (RSIL, a think-tank based in Islamabad) expressed his joyful comments on the performance of ISC. He presented the importance of international law in understanding and making an internationally admissible case against grave human rights violations in IIOJK.
Maj. Gen. Raza Muhammad (Retd.) serving as Advisor to the President National Defence University, Islamabad, viewed for more connectivity of Pakistani think-tanks with those of in the United States.
Mr. Ahmed Quraishi is serving as Executive Director, Youth Forum for Kashmir (YFK) an International Kashmir Lobby Group, based in Islamabad. He expressed growing Indian footprint in the Gulf countries and Palestine. He also gave a brief introduction on the history of Indian terrorism in Kashmir. Mr. Quraishi also hoped for the possible Indo-Pak trade options.
Ambassador Ashraf Jehangir Qazi, articulated that narrative building is a herculean task. For narrative building there has to be consensus domestically. Narrative building cannot be successful unless it is based on consensus.
Dr. Syed Tahir Hijazi, VC, Muslim Youth University, proposed that our 60 percent research needs to be on India. He was of the view that Indian economy has been affecting Pakistan badly in their movies projection in Pakistan. It is incumbent upon us to see Indian economy.
Dr. Mujeeb Afzal, Associate Prof, IR Dept, QAU, was of the view that Pakistan demonstrated a well gesture of opening the Kartarpur Corridor and anticipated that Sikhs would have more affection for Pakistan but it could not happen. He also articulated that an emerging alliance between left wing and Muslims in India could be exploited by us by carrying out research work on this particular area.
Dr. Amna Mahmood, Dean, Social Sciences, IIUI gave an invaluable suggestion of collaboration between universities and ISSI and also suggested a newsletter of research papers of ISSI.