Shehzad H. Qazi is a Research Associate at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. His research areas include insurgent mobilization, counterinsurgency, U.S. foreign policy and South Asian politics. Shehzad was formerly a Junior Research Scholar at New York University’s Department of Economics and a Mary F. Crisler scholar at the Indiana University School of Liberal Arts. He holds an M.A. in International Relations from New York University.
Articles written by Shehzad H. Qazi
On Nov. 29, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s powerful chief of army staff, will retire after a six-year tenure. Kayani commanded the Pakistan army through a tumultuous time and was instrumental in enabling it to better cope with security threats. He also distanced the army from politics after a decade of military rule. In other areas, however, his accomplishments were limited and the gains fragile. more
Floods and earthquakes in Pakistan, an economic slowdown in India and tenuous regime stability in Afghanistan: South Asia is currently experiencing many of the sudden shocks and long-term change-drivers that countries can face. A new index measures the ability of a country's government, businesses and society to cope with such changes—and the five South Asian countries included do not perform well. more
Last week the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif completed its first 100 days in office. The elections in May, though marred by rigging and irregularities, made history as Pakistan’s first democratic transition. But Pakistanis seem less than jubilant. On security and the economy, Sharif has his work cut out for him, and his ability to deliver is limited. more
Today’s Pakistan features not just a tussle for power between the civilian government and the military, but also an assertive judiciary. This puts Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a tough spot, as in the past he has battled both institutions. Now, in addition to solving major policy problems, one of Sharif’s major challenges will be navigating his way around a powerful military and an activist judiciary. more
Given domestic economic weaknesses, security competition with India and an antagonistic relationship with Afghanistan, Pakistan has traditionally sought external alliances with strong powers and pursued an offensive security policy. Nevertheless, there has been a dawning realization in Islamabad that a new approach is necessary, and as a result, Pakistan’s foreign and defense policies are undergoing important transformations. more
A series of major political developments this month all point toward new cooperative efforts by Pakistan, Afghanistan and the U.S. to bring the Taliban leadership into the negotiation process. Though major questions remain as to whether the effort will bear fruit, it represents what many fear is the last chance to avert a bloody fight for control of Kabul once foreign troops have left the country in 2014. more
In laying out a foreign policy agenda that she described as Pakistan’s “regional pivot” within Asia, Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar recently explained that Pakistan would pay more attention to building and stabilizing relations within its immediate region. The crucial question is whether this represents an actual shift in Pakistan’s policies, or if it is mere rhetoric.
Despite the emphasis put on Pakistan’s role in stabilizing Afghanistan, its support is not the only regional element needed to ensure stability there. Several other states in the region have significant interests in Afghanistan and will also directly impact the outcome. Establishing a sustainable peace in Afghanistan will require maneuvering carefully within this minefield of divergent foreign interests. more
The U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan planned for 2014 means that some kind of a settlement with the Taliban is all but inevitable. However, the process of negotiating peace in Afghanistan faces several domestic challenges. Overcoming them will require a robust national reconciliation process that is far more extensive than the currently stalled negotiations toward a power-sharing agreement. more
On Nov. 26, NATO helicopters mistakenly killed 26 Pakistani soldiers at the Salala checkpoint. In the aftermath of the incident, Pakistan’s Parliamentary Committee on National Security began a comprehensive review of relations with the U.S. After nearly two months of deliberations, the PCNS is set to release its recommendations, with both positive and negative implications for the scope of future ties. more
The relationship between Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban has often been described as Pakistan’s “double game” and is explained as arising from Islamabad’s desire to gain “strategic depth” in Afghanistan. While Pakistan is still pursuing “strategic depth," some evidence now suggests that the precise meaning of the concept has changed from its 1990s version. more