15 April | 2024

Lahore, Pakistan

A new book shares Jinnah’s democratic, secular principles for Pakistan

Centre for Strategic Perspectives organizes launching of a book – Pakistan Search for Stability, edited by Dr Maleeha Lodhi

The Centre for Strategic Perspectives (CSP) at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) organized launching of a book – Pakistan Search for Stability, edited by Dr Maleeha Lodhi – a well-known diplomat and political scientist.

Dr Dushka Saiyid, a former Professor of History at Quaid-e-Azam University, and senior journalist Zahid Hussain – the two other contributors to the book – were also present on the occasion. The event was attended by eminent members of foreign and civil services, academia, media, and the diplomatic corps.

During her initial remarks, CSP Director Dr Neelum Nigar underscored the importance of Dr Maleeha Lodhi’s book, which delves into the complexities of Pakistan’s policy formulation in its pursuit of stability. She stated that this book has a potential to greatly enhance people’s understanding of the crucial subject-matter that it addresses.

Sohail Mahmood says Dr Maleeha Lodhi’s book carries a message of hope and optimism

In his welcoming address, ISSI Director General Ambassador Sohail Mahmood highlighted Dr Maleeha Lodhi’s extensive experience and valuable contribution to Pakistan throughout her long public career, including as an accomplished political scientist, journalist, and diplomat.

He also commended the other 18 eminent contributors to the book, analyzing Pakistan’s history, politics, economy, society and foreign relations from their respective academic, professional and practitioners’ viewpoint and proposing a practical way forward. He noted that Dr Maleeha Lodhi’s latest book explores Pakistan’s pursuit of stability amidst its current challenges, outlining requisite solutions as well as strategies.

He said the book carries a message of hope and optimism, reassuring that it was indeed possible to overcome the challenges. He said that the book serves as a reinforcement of self-belief and contains a call to decisive, achievable, and transformative action. He stressed that the book was a serious and non-partisan contribution to the policy discourse in Pakistan, serving as a valuable resource for policymakers as they navigate the beginning of a new political cycle.

Dr Maleeha Lodhi says her book aims to chart a course towards overcoming existing fault-lines within system

In her address, Dr Maleeha Lodhi emphasized the importance of seeking opportunities amidst crises, and noted that political dynamics have yet to catch up with socio-economic changes occurring in Pakistan. She lauded all contributors to the book, acknowledging comprehensive set of policy guidelines covering a wide array of topics. She highlighted Pakistan’s youthful and highly talented demographic, expressing optimism about their potential to drive positive political change.

She lamented that governance structure remains entrenched in outdated thinking, and the situation marked by a number of political, social and structural fault-lines. She said that the polarization and absence of consensus, and tolerance within political system contributes to destabilization. She pointed out the economic challenges facing Pakistan, including the debt cycle leading to increased inequality perpetuated by a minority elite’s control.

She remarked that the book aims to chart a course towards overcoming the existing fault-lines within Pakistan’s system and needs to be read with care and attention by the policy circles. Dr Dushka Saiyid emphasized the importance of educating the younger generation about historical figures, particularly highlighting the life and teachings of Pakistan’s founder Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

Zahid Hussain advocates for a reassessment of Pakistan’s policy for Afghanistan

She navigated through historical contexts to emphasize enduring relevance of Jinnah’s principles in shaping a progressive and united Pakistan for generations to come. She underscored Jinnah’s democratic, secular and inclusive principles as well as his emphasis on constitutionalism, education and women emancipation as essential for contemporary Pakistan, which she has elaborated upon in her chapter in the book.

Zahid Hussain stressed the necessity for policymakers to glean insights from historical precedent, which has often resulted in Pakistan facing crises, whether in politics or economics. He noted that internal security situation was further exacerbated by challenges such as climate change and population growth. Highlighting concerns at three of Pakistan’s four borders, he particularly emphasized the serious situation along the Pak-Afghan border.

He highlighted the spillover effects of the situation in Afghanistan, contributing to heightened insecurity in this country, and advocated for a reassessment of Pakistan’s Afghan policy, a subject he has addressed at length in his chapter in the book. Later, Chairman of ISSI Board of Governors Ambassador Khalid Mahmood presented the institute’s shields to the speakers followed by a group photo.