Rabia Akhtar discusses role of Think Tanks at LUMS

Lectures faculty of Fatima Jinnah Women University on Pakistan’s foreign policy

Centre Report

Recently, Dr. Rabia Akhtar (Director, Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research) spoke on the role and importance of think tanks at the event organized by The Centre for Business and Society-LUMS. The idea behind the event was getting heads of Pakistani think tanks together to explore whether research outputs in think tanks impact policymaking or not.

Dr. Akhtar identified some of the challenges that think tanks in Pakistan have to contend with. According to her, gatekeeping, lack of appetite for policy-research and financial constraints are some of the major impediments to the growth of think tanks.

She also emphasized that the think tank community should act as pressure groups in influencing the government to use research outcomes in policymaking.

While at Fatima Jinnah Women University, Rawalpindi, Dr. Akthar delivered a lecture on “Mapping Pakistan’s foreign policy: Challenges and opportunities in an ever-changing global environment”. She talked about the importance of history in understanding Pakistan’s current foreign policy landscape.

Further, she delved into the situation in Afghanistan, arguing that Pakistan must ensure that it is not made a scapegoat in case the peace process unravels in that country. She laid emphasis on long-term thinking and strategic planning, things that according to her, are instrumental in enabling Pakistan to grapple with the fast-changing regional milieu.

Dr. Akhtar also stressed the need for bolstering coordination between various foreign policy decision-making agencies so as to allow for better, more creative, and fresh ideas to enter the policy debate and make their way to effect a change in the country’s foreign policy.

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