Cornered into Change? Pakistan's Response to National Crises in 2021


Date and Time

February 2, 2021 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM


This is a virtual event via ZOOM. 
RSVP Required. Please  Register here:
This event is part of Shorenstein APARC's winter webinar series "Asian Politics and Policy in a Time of Uncertainty."​
Event Time Zones:
4:00pm-5:00pm   California, 2 February 2021
7:00pm-8:00pm   Washington DC, 2 February 2021
5:00am-6:00am   Pakistan, 3 February 2021
11:00am-12:00pm   Sydney, Australia 3 February 2021

To what extent will Pakistan’s multiple crises of governance and security change the way the country is governed? Several ongoing crises confront the government that is officially led by Prime Minister Imran Khan, but dominated by the Army. A new erstwhile coalition of opposition political parties, known as the Pakistan Democratic Movement, reflects a groundswell of resistance to the government’s increasingly undemocratic and repressive agenda. Meanwhile, the government must continue to manage the public health and economic effects of the pandemic, and constantly recalibrate its approach to anti-state insurgents and state-aligned terrorists. This webinar will consider whether these and other challenges prod the Army to rethink how it exercises political power and manages its security policies. It will also explore how the new Biden Administration should, in light of these crises, reset U.S. policy towards Pakistan and its neighbors.


Madiha Afzal
Dr. Madiha Afzal is a David M. Rubenstein Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her research lies at the intersection of political economy, development, and security, with a focus on Pakistan. She previously worked as an assistant professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, College Park. Afzal is the author of Pakistan Under Siege: Extremism, Society, and the State. In addition, she writes for publications including Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Washington Post, Dawn, and Newsweek, and is regularly interviewed by media outlets including BBC, NPR, and PBS. In addition, she has consulted for international organizations including the World Bank and UK’s Department for International Development. Afzal received her doctorate in economics from Yale University in 2008, specializing in development economics and political economy.

Rabia Akhtar Dr. Rabia Akhtar is Director, Centre for Security, Strategy and Policy Research, University of Lahore. She is the founding director of the School of Integrated Social Sciences at University of Lahore, Pakistan. Dr. Akhtar is a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs. She is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the South Asia Center, Atlantic Council, Washington DC. Dr. Akhtar holds a PhD in Security Studies from Kansas State University. She is a Fulbright alumna (2010-2015). She has written extensively on South Asian nuclear security and deterrence dynamics. She is the author of a book titled The Blind Eye: U.S. Non-proliferation Policy Towards Pakistan from Ford to Clinton. Dr. Akhtar is also the Editor of Pakistan Politico, Pakistan’s first strategic and foreign affairs magazine.

Elizabeth Threlkeld Ms. Elizabeth Threlkeld is a Senior Fellow and Deputy Director of the South Asia Program at the Stimson Center. Her research interests include South Asian geopolitics, crisis decision-making, and ethno-nationalist conflict. Before joining Stimson, she served as a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State in Islamabad and Peshawar, Pakistan, and Monterrey, Mexico. Threlkeld previously worked in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where she managed development interventions on gender-based violence and ethno-sectarian reconciliation. She has additional work and educational experience in China, Taiwan, and Turkey, and began her career with the Center for a New American Security. Threlkeld holds an MPhil in Politics and International Relations from the University of Cambridge, and speaks Pashto, Mandarin, and Spanish.


Arzan TaraporeDr. Arzan Tarapore is the South Asia research scholar at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University, where he leads the newly-restarted South Asia research initiative. He is also a senior nonresident fellow at the National Bureau of Asian Research. His research focuses on Indian military strategy and contemporary Indo-Pacific security issues. He previously held research positions at the RAND Corporation, the Observer Research Foundation, and the East-West Center in Washington. Prior to his scholarly career, he served as an analyst in the Australian Defence Department, which included operational deployments as well as a diplomatic posting to Washington, DC. Tarapore holds a PhD in war studies from King’s College London.


This event is co-sponsored by: Center for South Asia
 Center for South Asia

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