Board of Advisors

Ayesha Jalal is a leading historian on South Asia. She is a MacArthur Fellow and a professor at Tufts University. Her work primarily centers on the conception of modern Muslim identities in South Asia and the examination of the creation of the Pakistan state and its struggle to achieve democracy.

Dr. Jalal has been an Associate Professor at Columbia University (1991-1999), Visiting Associate Professor at Harvard University (1998-1999), Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation (1998-2003); Member Editorial Board, Third World Quarterly; Member International Advisory Committee, School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Lahore School of Management Sciences (LUMS).

Her publications concentrate on the themes of decolonization, problems of sovereignty, identity, citizenship and democracy, Islam and Women.  She has authored several books which include Partisans of Allah: Jihad in South Asia (2008), Democracy and Authoritarianism in South Asia: A Comparative and Historical PerspectiveThe State of Martial Rule: The Origins of Pakistan’s Political Economy of Defense (1990), The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan (1985). 

Nasim Zehra

Nasim Zehra is a prominent expert on foreign affairs and national security. As an analyst on Pakistan’s political experiences and international security issues, Ms. Zehra has written and lectured widely nationally and internationally. She has written as a syndicated columnist for Inter-Press Services (IPS) and for national dailies and journals including The News and the Defence Journal. In the Arab world she has written regularly for the Gulf News, Dubai-based Khaleej Times and the Jeddah-based Arab News. Ms. Zehra regularly lectures at the National Defence College, Command and Staff College, the Air War College, the Institute for Strategic Studies Islamabad and National Institute for Public Affairs. Ms. Zehra is also a fellow of Harvard University Asia Center and has taught as an adjunct Professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. She has served on Pakistan’s Presidential Advisory Committee on Foreign Policy and National Security from 2000-2002 and was appointed as Pakistan’s Special Envoy on UN Reforms in 2005. Beyond writing for the press and teaching, Ms. Zehra is currently working on her book, From Kargil to the Coup : 40 Days that Shook Pakistan.

Shahnaz Wazir Ali

Shahnaz Wazir Ali has an illustrious career as an educationist, development policy specialist, a member of the Pakistan Peoples Party twice elected to National Assembly of Pakistan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sector and as a well known women’s right activist. She served as a Senior Education Specialist on the World Bank; held the position of Minister of State for Education, Govt. of Pakistan; and is on the Board of a number of prestigious national and international organizations, trusts, advisory councils, educational boards, and universities.

From 1988 to 1990, 1993 to 1996 and 2008-13 she had the unique opportunity to serve in key decision making positions in government, in the first term as Member of the National Assembly elected on the reserved seat for women and Federal Minister of State for Education and subsequently, in the second and third term, as Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Social Sectors. From 1997-2001, she served as the Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank in Islamabad. Her career in and commitment to education can be traced back to 1965, when she commenced teaching primary school children of deprived communities in Karachi, and subsequently spent about 15 years in teaching and administrative positions in the private sector, which included being Principal at the Lahore American School. She is also a Trustee of the Education Trust which runs Nasra Schools for children of low-income families in Karachi and provides K10 education to more than 10,000 students.

Currently she is Provincial Coordinator for the Government of Sindh for all primary health care programs including maternal and child health and Family Planning Programs. She is also the President of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Institute of Sciences and Technology.

Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary

Ambassador Najmuddin Shaikh

Ambassador Najmuddin Shaikh served as Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary from April 1994 to February 1997. Having joined the Foreign Service of Pakistan in 1961, Ambassador Shaikh has 38 years of service to his credit and has held several ambassadorial assignments including Ambassador to Canada (1987-89), Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany (1989-90), Ambassador to the United States (1990-91), and Ambassador to Iran (1992-94).

He obtained degrees of B.Com from Sindh University and an M.A. from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He is a political and security commentator, and is regularly published in international relations journals, and featured in local and foreign media.

Chairperson National Commission

Ms. Khawar Mumtaz

Ms. Khawar Mumtaz is currently serving as Chairperson National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW). She brings almost 30 years of experience in advocacy on human rights, women’s empowerment and development issues. As one of the earliest members of the Women Action Forum (WAF), Ms. Mumtaz has played a pivotal role in shaping discourse on democracy and women’s rights in the country.

Ms. Mumtaz has served as CEO of Shirkat Gah Women’s Resource Centre and has been a member of ARROW, UNEP International Resource Panel, Punjab Rural Support Programme, and the PANOS South Asia Board among others.
She has authored several books which include Women’s Rights and the Punjab Peasant Movement (2012), Informal Economy Budget Analysis Pakistan study (2009), Beyond Risk Management: Vulnerability, Social Protection and Citizenship in Pakistan (2008).

In 2006, Ms. Mumtaz was awarded the Sitara-e-Imtiaz for social service and promotion of women’s rights. She has also been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 as one of 1,000 collectively nominated women from around the world.


Dr. Syed Rifaat Hussain

Dr. Syed Rifaat Hussain is Professor and the Chair of the Department of Defence and Strategic Studies at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Prior to this, he has served as the Chair of the Department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the National University in Islamabad, and the Executive Director of the Regional Centre for Strategic Studies in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Professor Hussain has also taught at the Political Science Department, Stanford University, California, USA. He has been a course director for International Politics at the Foreign Service Academy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad. He serves as a member of the editorial boards of many diverse publications, such as the South Asia Journal and the National Defense University Journal and Regional Studies Quarterly. Professor Hussain is the author of numerous books and publications, including Afghanistan and 9/11: The Anatomy of a Conflict (2002); From Dependence to Intervention: Soviet-Afghanistan Relations During the Brezhnev Era (1964-1982)(1994); “Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE): An Elusive Quest for a “homeland” in the Journal of South Asian and Middle Eastern Studies (Spring 2009); “Pakistan’s Changing Outlook on Kashmir,” in South Asian Survey (2007)and “The Indian Factor,” in Maleeha Lodhi, ed. Pakistan: Beyond the Crisis State (New York: Hurst Publishers, 2010). He received his M.A. and PhD in International Studies from the University of Denver, Colorado, USA.

Political and Strategic Analyst

Shuja Nawaz

Shuja Nawaz is a political and strategic analyst. He has worked on projects with RAND, the United States Institute of Peace, The Center for Strategic and International Studies, The Atlantic Council, and other leading think tanks on projects dealing with Pakistan and the Middle East. In January 2009 he was made the first Director of the South Asia Center at The Atlantic Council of the United States.

Educated at Gordon College, Rawalpindi, where he obtained a BA in Economics and English Literature and the Graduate School of Journalism of Columbia University in New York, where he was a Cabot Fellow and won the Henry Taylor International Correspondent Award, he was also a member of the prize-winning team at Stanford University’s Publishing Program. He was a newscaster and producer for Pakistan Television and covered the 1971 war with India on the Western Front. He has worked for the World Health Organization and the New York Times and has headed three separate divisions at the International Monetary Fund. He was also a Director at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. Mr. Nawaz was the Managing Editor and then Editor of Finance & Development, the multilingual quarterly of the IMF and the World Bank and on the Editorial Advisory Board of the World Bank Research Observer.

His latest book is Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within (Oxford University Press 2008), available on the web and from leading booksellers worldwide. He is also the author of FATA: A Most Dangerous Place (CSIS, Washington, D.C., January 2009).

His latest book is Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within (Oxford University Press 2008), available on the web and from leading booksellers worldwide. He is also the author of FATA: A Most Dangerous Place (CSIS, Washington, D.C., January 2009).

Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan

Shahid Hafiz Kardar

Shahid Hafiz Kardar is an economist and currently serving as the 16th Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. Mr. Kardar had also served as Minister for Finance, Planning & Development, Excise and Taxation and Industries & Minerals Development, Government of Punjab from November 1999 to January 2001.

Mr. Kardar has also served as Chairman of the Punjab Education Foundation from June 2005-October 2008 and a Member of theNational Commission for Government Reform (2006-2008); Banking Laws Review Commission; the Advisory Board of Kashf Microfinance Bank Ltd.; and several government Committees and Task Forces set up by the Federal and Punjab Governments. He has been a visiting lecturer at Pakistan School of Public Policy, National Defence College, Pakistan Administrative Staff College, NIPA and Civil Services Academy. He is also a regular guest speaker at seminars organized within the country and abroad by academic institutions, multilateral and bilateral financial institutions and NGOs. He has also advised international institutions such as the World Bank, ADB and DFID on economic issues. He has authored three books and several papers on economic matters pertaining to Pakistan.

Secretary for Defence Production

General Talat Masood

General Talat Masood served in the Pakistani Army for 39 years, retiring in 1990 as Secretary for Defence Production in the Ministry of Defence. Prior to this, Lt. Gen. Masood was chairman and chief executive of the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board. A graduate of the Pakistan Command and Staff College and the National Defence College of the Armed Forces, Lt. Gen. Masood has a B.Sc in mechanical engineering and a Masters in Defence and Strategic Studies.

He has authored several articles and book chapters and General Masood is a frequent participant and speaker in international conferences. He writes regularly on security and political issues in national newspapers and foreign magazines and is a prominent commentator on national and international television and radio networks. General Masood is the chief coordinator for Pugwash and its council member.

Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy

Stephen Cohen

Stephen Cohen is senior fellow in foreign policy studies at the Brookings Institution. He is an expert on Pakistan, India, and South Asian security.

He is an emeritus professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has published extensively on the politics of South Asia and on security issues in the region. His books include; The Idea of Pakistan (2004); The Compound Crisis of 1990: Perception, Politics and Insecurity (2003); India: Emerging Power (2001); The Pakistan Army (second revised edition, 1998; Chinese edition, 1998; Urdu edition, 2001); The Indian Army: Its Contribution to the Development of a Nation (second revised paperback edition, 2001).

Dr. Cohen was a faculty member at the University of Illinois from 1965 to 1998. In 1992-93 he was Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation, New Delhi, and from 1985-87 a member of the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. Department of State where he advised on matters pertaining to South Asia, security, and proliferation issues. He has appeared on national radio and television, including All Things Considered and Nightline, and is a regular contributor to BBC radio and television. He has served on study groups examining Asia sponsored by the Asia Society (1994), the Council on Foreign Relations (1996), and the Asia Foundation (2001); he is currently a member of the National Academy of Science’ Committee on International Security and Arms Control and is a member of the board of trustees of the Washington D.C.-based Public Education Center. Dr. Cohen was the co-founder and chair of the Workshop on Security, Technology and Arms Control for younger South Asian and Chinese strategists, held for the past eight years in Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and China, and was an original member of the Research Committee of the South Asian strategic organization, the Regional Centre for Security Studies, Colombo.

Former Governor

Ishrat Hussain

Ishrat Hussain Ishrat Husain is a renowned economist and former Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. A recipient of Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Husain has served as Chairman, National Commission for Government Reforms reporting directly to the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan. He has also held the office of Dean and Director, Institute of Business Administration Karachi, the oldest graduate business school in Asia.

He is currently a member of Middle East Advisory Group of the IMF and the Regional Advisory Group of the UNDP, the Executive Board of Association of Management Development institutions of South Asia(AMDISA) and the Chairman World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on Pakistan.

Mr. Husain has maintained an active scholarly interest in development issues. He has authored 18 books and monographs and contributed more than three dozen articles in refereed journals and 27 chapters in books. His book “Pakistan: The Economy of the Elitist State” published by Oxford University Press enjoys a wide audience in Pakistan and abroad.


Ali Dayan Hasan

Ali Dayan Hasan before taking over as Pakistan Director, Ali Dayan Hasan served as Human Rights Watch’s South Asia researcher since 2003 and has specialized expertise in Pakistan. Hasan is responsible for researching, authenticating and writing reports, briefing papers and news releases produced by Human Rights Watch on Pakistan. He advocates South Asian human rights concerns globally with regional bodies, national governments, international financial institutions and is a regular contributor on Pakistan in the international media. In addition to appearing frequently as a commentator on television, his opinion pieces have appeared in major international media.

Before joining Human Rights Watch, Hasan was a senior editor at Pakistan’s premier independent, political news monthly magazine, Herald. During 2006 and 2007, Hasan was also a Visiting Research Fellow at the Leverhulme Changing Character of War Programme at the University of Oxford. He has a B.A. from the London School of Economics and a master’s degree from St. Antony’s College, Oxford.


Dr. Akmal Hussain

Dr. Akmal Hussain is an economist and specializes in development and institution-building for overcoming poverty. Currently, he is the Chairman of the Working Group on Poverty Reduction Strategy and Human Resource Development for the 10th Five Year Plan, Planning Commission, Government of Pakistan and a Professor of Economics at the Beaconhouse National University in Lahore.
Dr. Hussain has worked as the honorary CEO of the Punjab Rural Support Program (PRSP). He has also helped to establish the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and LEAD (Leadership for Environment and Development, Pakistan) as the founding member of the Board of Directors of both institutions. In 2004, he was a member of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Poverty Alleviation and Employment Generation in 2004, member of the President Musharraf’s Economic Advisory Board during 1999-2002 and earlier a member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Committee as an independent economist working on an honorary basis, until May 1998. He was Chairman of the working group on Poverty Alleviation for the preparation of the Ninth Five-Year Plan 1998-2003 and has also contributed to the Report of the National Commission on Agriculture. Dr. Hussain has been working for regional cooperation in South Asia as a member of the Board of Governors of the South Asia Centre for Policy Studies (SACEPS) and the Independent Group for South Asian Cooperation (IGSAC).
He has authored three books on economic policy and co-authored/contributed chapters to 27 other books, 29 publications in journals and contributed over 100 newspaper articles on economic and social issues; has also undertaken research for international agencies, including the World Bank, United Nations University, ILO/ARTEP, Swiss Development Corporation, Dutch Government and CIDA.

Specialisation in Political Economy

Dr. S Akbar Zaidi

Dr. S Akbar Zaidi is an independent economist based in Karachi, with specialisation in political economy. He is currently a Visiting Professor at Columbia University, with a joint position at SIPA, the School of International Public Affairs and at MESAAS, the Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies. His research has focused on development and governance issues concerning South Asia.
Dr. Zaidi taught economics at the University of Karachi from 1983 to 1996 before becoming a visiting scholar at the University of Oxford (1998) and later a research fellow at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for the Advanced Study of India in New Delhi (2002–03). From 2004 to 2005 he was a visiting professor at SAIS at Johns Hopkins University, and since 2010 has been at Columbia University.
He has written more than sixty academic articles and book chapters, and has authored or edited over a dozen books, including, Pakistan’s Economic and Social Development: The Domestic, Regional and Global Context (2004), Issues in Pakistan’s Economy (2005), and most recently, Military, Civil Society and Democratization in Pakistan, (2011).

former Federal Minister

Ahsan Iqbal

Ahsan Iqbal is the current information secretary of PML-N, the former Federal Minister for Education and an elected member of the National Assembly.

He has been previously appointed as Chief Coordinator / Minister of State, Pakistan 2010 Program (1997–99), Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission (Pakistan) (1998–99); Chairman, Good Governance Group, Government of Pakistan (1997–99); Chairman, Pakistan Engineering Board, and Chairman, National Steering Committees on Information Technology and IQM and Productivity (1998–99). He earlier served as Policy and Public Affairs Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan.