Over the past 40 years, Pakistan has hosted well over a million Afghans, among the largest and most protracted refugee populations in the world. Given deteriorating political relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan, the plight of millions of Afghan refugees has precipitated into a major humanitarian challenge for both countries. According to estimates, there are over 1.32 million registered Afghan refugees still in Pakistan, along with what is estimated to be an additional million undocumented others. In light of alleged and controversial security concerns particularly in the name of counter-terrorism, Pakistan has intensified its efforts to repatriate Afghan refugees, with more than 365,000 repatriated in the last few years. These efforts have culminated into the world’s largest mass forced return of refugees in recent years according to the UNHCR. This panel seeks to examine the socioeconomic situation of Afghan refugees and their multifaceted relationship with the state of Pakistan. The discourse will place an emphasis on future scenarios and proposed solutions, exploring viable policy actions for the Pakistani government to approach this refugee crisis effectively, equitably, and humanely.
Senior Advisor and Bernard Schwartz Fellow at Asia Society
Hassan Abbas is Professor of International Security Studies and Chair of the Department of Regional and Analytical Studies at National Defense University's College of International Security Affairs (CISA). He serves as a Carnegie Fellow 2016-2017 at New America where he is focusing on a book project on Islam's internal struggles and spirituality narrated through the lens of his travels to Islam's holy sites across the world. He remained a Senior Advisor at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2009-2011), after having been a Research Fellow at the Center from 2005-2009. He was the Distinguished Quaid-i-Azam Chair Professor at Columbia University before joining CISA and has previously held fellowships at Harvard Law School and Asia Society in New York.
Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland
Madiha Afzal is assistant professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy and a non-resident fellow at the Brookings Institution. Her research focuses on development, politics, and the roots of extremism in Pakistan. Among her recent publications are a journal article on political competition in Pakistan in Public Choice, a USIP Special Report on Education and Attitudes in Pakistan, an essay on Pakistan’s democratic challenges in the Cairo Review, and a book chapter on Public Service Delivery for Rural Development (in Agriculture and the Rural Economy in Pakistan).
Dr. Afzal has also written for Express Tribune, Foreign Policy, Dawn, The Friday Times, Newsweek, and Washington Post. She has been interviewed by BBC World News, BBC radio, NPR, CNN, and VOA. She was named to Lo Spazio della Politica's list of Top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013. Dr. Afzal holds a PhD in Economics from Yale University.
Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University
Prof. Adil Najam served as Vice Chancellor (equivalent of president) of Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in Lahore Pakistan from August 2011 through June 2013. He served as the Director of the Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at Boston University from November 2007 through August 2011, and he remains a Professor of International Relations and of Earth & Environment. In 2014, he was appointed Dean of the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University.
Prof. Najam was a co-author for the Third and Fourth Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); work for which the scientific panel was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for advancing the public understanding of climate change science. In 2008 he was invited by the United Nations Secretary General to serve on the UN Committee on Development (CDP). In 2010 he was awarded the Sitara-i-Imtiaz (Star of Excellence), one of Pakistan’s highest civil awards by the President of Pakistan. He also serves on the Advisory Board for the 2011 Human Development Report of the UNDP.
Prof. Najam has taught at Boston University, MIT, University of Massachusetts and at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University. His research focuses on issues of global public policy, especially those related to South Asia, Muslim countries, environment and development, and human well-being.
Prof. Najam has written nearly 100 scholarly papers and book chapters. He is a past winner of MIT’s Goodwin Medal for Effective Teaching, the Fletcher School Paddock Teaching Award, and the Stein Rokan Award of the International Political Science Association, the ARNOVA Emerging Scholar Award, and the Pakistan Television Medal for Outstanding Achievement. Prof. Najam also serves on the editorial boards of various scholarly publications, including Global Governance, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, The Journal of Ecological Economics, Annual Editions: Environment, and The Encyclopedia of Earth. Prof. Najam is frequently interviewed by and writes for the popular media and is the founding editor of the blog Pakistaniat.com (voted the Best Current Affairs Blog in Pakistan (2010) and also won the 2010 Brass Crescent Award for Best Muslim Blog from South Asia).
Adil Najam is an expert in international diplomacy and development. His research interests include sustainable development, Muslim and South Asian politics, environmental politics in developing countries, and philanthropy among immigrant communities in the United States. Much of his work has focused on longer-term global policy problems, especially those related to human well-being and sustainable development. He contributed to Pakistan’s first environmental policy document, as well as to that country’s report to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, has worked closely with governments and civil society in both industrialized and developing countries, and regularly collaborates with the United Nations. He is a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), a Visiting Fellow at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), and serves on the Boards of the Pakistan Institute for Environment-Development Action Research (PIEDAR) and the Centre for Global Studies at the University of Victoria, Canada.