Dr. Rabia Akhtar's Profile

Dr. Rabia Akhtar received her PhD in Security Studies from Kansas State University in 2015 on Fulbright scholarship. She is an Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of the School of Integrated Social Sciences at University of Lahore. She is also the founding Director of the Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research (CSSPR), a think tank housed at the University of Lahore. Her research focused on U.S. non-proliferation policy towards Pakistan during its nuclear weapons development under five U.S. administrations from Ford to Clinton (1974-2001). She is currently working on her book manuscript. She contributes on issues of Pak-U.S. foreign policy, nuclear strategy, nuclear non-proliferation and arms control in leading national and international dailies and blogs.


The Way Forward

Often categorized as a rollercoaster, this relationship has seen several ups and downs in the past 70 years since Pakistan’s independence. The U.S. public diplomacy in Pakistan has been a successful part of its foreign policy towards the country through which Pakistan has benefitted immensely over the years. Projects such as Fulbright scholarship program (which is the largest for Pakistan than any other country in the world) and the USAID have a rich history which the Pakistani public is mostly unaware of. These programs have provided Pakistan with dividends in terms of intellectual and developmental capital. The United States has also been instrumental in diffusing several Indo-Pak crises since the nuclearization of the sub-continent. U.S. contribution in effective crisis management and strengthening of strategic stability in South Asia has not received its due acknowledgement by Pakistan. In the past 70 years, an unchallenged historical narrative has taken root in Pakistan which paints the U.S. in a negative light despite latter’s attempts to help Pakistan develop and stand on its own. This presentation provides a historical overview of the Pakistan-U.S. relations and focuses on their bilateral foreign policy successes to suggest a counter narrative for a way forward for this relationship. There is huge potential between the two countries to achieve their respective national interests and together they can strengthen the stability of the South Asian region. The key however is to move past their mutual grievances and the Fulbright and Humphrey Alumni in Pakistan can play an effective role in challenging the current narrative.

Dr. Rabia Akhtar
Assistant Professor
University of Lahore

Fulbright PhD
Kansas State University




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