I choose to live and to Lie, kill and give and to Die/
Learn and love, and to Do what it takes to Step Through…
Shemrez Nauman Afzal has worked as a Project Coordinator for Jinnah Institute, a non-profit public policy organization based in Islamabad which functions as a think tank, advocacy group and public outreach organization independent of Government of Pakistan. A former Research Analyst at Spearhead Research, Shemrez has also been a third-party evaluation consultant for the World Bank. He has also been a Residential College Co-ordinator (RC M64) at LUMS. Shemrez rejoined Spearhead Research in August 2013 as “Research Advisor & Consultant: Security & Governance” and worked there till September 2014. After graduating from USTB with a Masters Degree in International Trade, he worked as a temporary (and non-formalized) “Young Development Fellow” at the Planning Commission from September to November 2016; after which he has been consulting for different Pakistani and Chinese companies on how to extract maximum benefits from the CPEC initiative and how to optimize their investment returns from CPEC in order to build, consolidate and solidify the global project framework of the OBOR initiative.
He is an alumnus of Aitchison College (2005) and Lahore University of Management Sciences (2009), where he obtained his B.Sc. (Hons) in Economics and specialized in research methodologies, political economy, econometrics, game theory, philosophy of economics and economic development. In 2014, he was awarded a full scholarship from the China Scholarship Council to pursue a Masters degree in International Trade from the University of Science and Technology Beijing (USTB), a Project 211 institution, and graduated with excellent results in June 2016.
News and Information Media
He is a freelance columnist and a defense and intelligence analyst specializing in military strategy, War on Terror in South Asia, Islamic de-radicalization and counter-extremism methodologies, international political economy, and open-source intelligence. He also deals with – and writes on – various issues pertaining to economics, politics, foreign policy, security, and nu media (or information dissemination processes of the Internet Age, such as Facebook, Twitter, and blogs such as this one on WordPress, and others on Blogger and Tumblr). He has contributed to The Daily Times (Pakistan) and The Friday Times. He has also been Associate Editor of the LUMS college publication, ‘The Political Animal’.
Interests and Current Activity
Shemrez is interested in social media networking, interfacing between various social mobilizers and mobilizing entities/ideas/platforms, and institutional synergies which encourage progressive and growth-oriented trends in individuals and societies; it sounds really complicated but is simple and easy when you think about it…
Shemrez is currently:
- conducting multi-faceted, multi-dimensional and multi-disciplinary research on the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, with a particular focus on studying its achievements and otherwise from 2015 up till the end of its first phase in 2018;
- studying counterinsurgency and counterintelligence in Pakistan, which is perhaps the most volatile front in the Global War on Terror, and also dealing with security issues, military strategy and foreign politics/international relations pertaining to this subject of inquiry – with a specific focus on military operations conducted by Pakistan inside its own territory to eliminate terrorist hideouts and strongholds, starting with Operation Rah-e-Nijat, then Operation Rah-e-Rast, the reconfiguration and enhanced interoperability of the armed services through Operation Azm-e-Nau, the highly successful Operation Zarb-e-Azb launched in militant-infested pockets of the country, followed by the ongoing Operation Radd-ul-Fasaad which has extended targeted intelligence-based counter-terrorism operations throughout Pakistan;
- trying to understand the politics of identity and economics of marginalization that lies beneath the pervasive poverty hydra in South Asia, in view of a post-colonial rearrangement of society into a modern and democratic republic in practice and experience, not just in name and label;
- looking at Pakistani politics with a view of general elections in 2018, when political parties will have to go back to the electorate and be judged for their 5-year legislative and executive performance; how the elections in Pakistan will play out in terms of regime change, continuation of the incumbent government without their main national leader, and of the policies of the current regime – and, more importantly, whether local government elections will continue to be held and be granted more powers under the national devolution plan;
- analyzing social mobilization techniques – especially among urban and rural youth – that reflect the inventiveness, innovative thought, dynamism and positive outlook of the majority of the people of Pakistan in solving their own problems themselves;
- reviewing and assessing modern media techniques – including those employed by information/news media, electronic media, and social media – to estimate their impact on society, on values, on information, knowledge and awareness, and on human agency and the will to bring change;
- figuring out how bureaucratic, civil and state services can be made more efficient and sensitive to public requirements by changing institutional ethos and functional goals of agents and officials;
- going through data, evidence and reports on the economy of Pakistan – how it is surviving and progressing in the face of power crises, raw materials shortages, cost-push inflation pressures, international competitiveness, fall in global demand and recession; all of this a year after suffering one of the deadliest human catastrophes in modern times, while recovering from two earthquakes that had happened in the mid-2000’s, and what positive (and negative) impacts CPEC can, may, and should have on the Pakistani economy in the short-, medium- and long-run;
- studying various India-Pakistan Track II peace initiatives – that have stalled since the incumbency of vitriolic Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi – with a variety of stakeholders, to further the process of peace between two important South Asian neighbours, and to ascertain the possibilities of greater economic, social, political, cultural engagement, and people-to-people interaction, between the two countries; primarily by bring together key policy experts and opinion-makers from both countries together to discuss various issues of bilateral, multilateral and global importance, their relevance to the two countries and to South Asia at large, and ways and means to forge stronger bilateral bonds through formal engagement with the governments of both countries, and through identifying opportunities for Indo-Pak co-operation, collaboration and mutual benefit in all possible fields and dimensions – including possible confrontation zones such as Afghanistan: to this end, Shemrez has participated in the Delhi Dialogue 2011, the Islamabad Dialogue II (2012), and helped manage, arrange and administer the Chaophraya Dialogues 9 & 10.
Shemrez is also currently interested in:
- Foreign politics and international relations in South Asia (within the region, and from other regions as well) with focus on War on Terror, common security issues, and cultural importance of people-to-people contact, particularly in terms of the emergence of new blocs such as the SCO, BRICS, and a Russia-China-Pakistan axis that can possible include Turkey and Iran as well, in order to enhance the role of local stakeholders who are working to formalize peace and end chaos, uncertainty and bloody civil war in the Middle East;
- Rapid developments in Middle Eastern political scenarios (including security, economic, cultural and ethnic factors) due to which popular revolts swept away oppressive and authoritarian governments of post-colonial Arab/Muslim nation-states such as Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Libya – seriously disturbing the status quo with varying magnitude and duration – and specifically how all this relates to so-called “Color Revolutions” that were witnessed in the former USSR states in the previous decade; and
- Critical social safety nets in Third World countries that form the differential between a lesser-developed country (LDC) and a developing country, such as education, health, law and order, community organizations, speedy justice, protection of rights, and state services.