Objectives, Strategies and People
Pakistan Reader (PR) is an academic initiative within the Conflict Resolution and Peace Research (CRPR) Programme at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS) in Bangalore.
PR aims to study contemporary Pakistan with a comprehensive and regular focus, build a team of young scholars within India, and create a network of global scholars across the world.
All neighbours are important. Pakistan is even more, for India shares a long land, maritime and riverine borders. A substantial portion of the territory is disputed between the two countries and is under the control of Pakistan.
More importantly, both countries share a long history and strong societal linkages. However, since 1947 they are on divergent paths with different political systems and conflicting strategic pursuits. Relationship between the two countries have been on a rollercoaster ride and yet to settle. Given the current trends in internal politics, foreign relations and external interests in India and Pakistan, the relationship is likely to remain volatile.
India is growing at a faster pace; if it has to sustain the growth and get counted at the international level and find an acceptable and respectable place at the global table, New Delhi needs to take the neighbourhood along- bilaterally and regionally. A negative relation with any neighbour has the potential to pull down India's regional and global aspirations. Within the region, Pakistan is even more significant for India, for both have hostile relations and periodic breakdowns, despite occasional breakthroughs between the two countries.
It is imperative to study Pakistan as it is, without ideological bias and political affiliation, and attempt to follow its current trajectories. Such a study should be comprehensive and inclusive covering social, economic, energy, ethnic and political spheres. Pakistan study should also aim at making projections and forecasts. This study should also be nuanced and try to reflect the multiple shades within Pakistan. The canvas is wider, and there may be multiple paints and numerous brushes.
It is also imperative to study Pakistan in its complex whole that narrowly focussing on India-Pakistan relations and Kashmir. It is important to understand the political complications within Pakistan at national and provincial levels, civil-military relations, ethnic complexities, economic constraints and energy calculus.
There are multiple Pakistans within the same geographic parameters. From Khunjerab to Gwadar, from Lollywood to Cricket, from patriarchy to gender, and from modernity to conservatism, there are multiple Pakistans. Any study on Pakistan should also focus on the demographic trends, educational situation, radicalization process and social fabric.
Equally important is to study the strategic location of Pakistan, and the contemporary policy pursuits, especially vis-a-vis Afghanistan, China, US and the Middle East.
Finally, to study Pakistan as an academic pursuit in India. While there is no dearth of books on Pakistan authored by scholars from the West, quality publications from India is still a long way to go.
PR aims to study contemporary Pakistan with a regular and sustained focus, daily.
Second, PR aims to build capacity amongst the Indian scholars, especially the young ones, to study Pakistan with academic rigour.
Third, PR aims to build a network of Pakistan scholars both within India and outside the country at the global level.
Fourth, PR aims to have regular discussions (online and offline) on Pakistan and interact with a larger group of Pakistan scholars.
Fifth, PR would publish a series of serious publications on Pakistan. Since May 2020, it has started with an Evening Brief (emailed to a select list). In June 2020, it added two more – Pakistan This Week (published every Sunday) and PR Insights (published every Tuesday). The PTW looks at the developments during the week, and the PR Insights provides an in-depth analysis of a particular issue of contemporary relevance.
Finally, PR would like to provide policy inputs on Pakistan, and also prepare forecasts on Pakistan.
D. Suba Chandran
Coordinator, Pakistan Reader
Professor and Dean, School of Conflict and Security Studies
National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), IISc Campus, Bangalore
Abigail Miriam Fernandez is currently with the Conflict Resolution and Peace Research Programme at the National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. She is to finisher her Master from the Department of International Studies, Stella Maris College, Chennai. With regard to her research on Pakistan, her focus is related to Human Rights issues in Pakistan and Climate Change related issues in Pakistan. She is also a co-editor of the Pakistan Evening Brief. Outside Pakistan research, her interest also includes Conflicts and peace processes in South Asia and North Africa. Currently, she is working on a report on Pashtun Tahafuz Movement.
Abigail’s recent publications include:
“An olive branch to the PTM in Pakistan: Will the PTI heed to the Pashtun rights movement, 28 June 2020”
Lakshmi V Menon is currently a part of the Conflict Resolution and Peace Research Programme at the International Peace Research Initiative (IPRI), National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru. She is also an associate editor of Pakistan Evening Brief. Lakshmi holds a Master’s degree in International Studies from Stella Maris College, Chennai. Her research focus on Pakistan is gender issues in the state, Center-Province discords and ISIS in the Af-Pak region. She has contributed to the database on Pakistan relating to CPEC, Balochistan and Pakistan elections 2018, as part of International Strategic and Security Studies Programme (ISSSP), NIAS. Currently she is working on a report on demographic changes in Balochistan and its political implications.
Lakshmi’s recent publications include:
"The FATF Meeting: Pakistan to remain “Grey”; North Korea and Iran in “Black”,” CWA # 235, 29 February 2020
"The decline in terrorism in Pakistan in 2019," CWA # 251, 28 March 2020
Sukanya Bali is currently working with the Conflict Resolution and Peace Research Programme at the International Peace Research Initiative (IPRI), National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bengaluru. Her area of research includes China's Soft Power in South Asia with a particular focus on Pakistan and Violence and Conflict in South Asia. She has a post-graduate degree from the Department of International Studies and History from Christ (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru. As a part of her degree, she has worked on a Research Paper titled “China Soft Power in South-Asia: A case Study of Pakistan”.
Apoorva Sudhakar is a research assistant at the "Pakistan Reader", at the School of Conflict and Security Studies, National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS), Bangalore. She is a part of the Editorial team that publishes "PR Evening Brief", a daily e-alert on Pakistan. Her research focus includes issues relating to environment, gender, minorities and ethnic movements.
"Pakistan Reader - Evening Brief" is an initiative taken up to update the readers on contemporary developments within Pakistan, on a regular basis. The PREB covers focused notes on issues of current development in Pakistan as well as briefs on social, economic and security issues.
PREB is published in the PR portal and also sent as a e-alert every evening.
03 July 2020, Friday, Vol 1, No.66
The Intelligence Agencies manipulate the appointment of Judges, says a former Supreme Court judge
02 July 2020, Thursday, Vol 1, No.65
The Curious case of "Minus One" Formula in Pakistan
01 July 2020, Wednesday Vol 1, No.64
Imran Khan blames India for the attack on Stock Exchange in Karachi
PR Insights is published as a Weekly Dispatch on Contemporary Pakistan. The Dispatches at providing a comprehensive insight on contemporary issues relating to Pakistan by analysing recent developments within Pakistan, and providing a quick research background to the issues.
Some of the recent PR Insights include:
PR Insights # 03, “Between the BLA’s Karachi attack and the BNP’s exit from the PTI coalition,” 30 June 2020
PR Insights # 02, "The PTI Government's dialogue offer to the young Pashtun movement," 23 June 2020
PR Insights # 01, "Forced Conversions and Marriages in Pakistan," 16 June 2020
Pakistan This Week - Sunday Brief is a weekly roundup of the development in Pakistan. The alert delivers a quick review and analysis of prominent issues during the week.
Recent PR Sunday Brief include:
“The Split within the PTI and US State Department’s Annual Report on Terrorism,” 28 June 2020
“BNP-M’s exit from the coalition, and two Verdicts on Justice Isa reference and Imran Farooq murder cases,” 21 June 2020
“The Split within the PTI and US State Department’s Annual Report on Terrorism,” 14 June 2020