Interview with Dr Asiya Saif Alvi — a dynamic political analyst
[box type=”shadow” align=”” class=”” width=””]Profile:
Dr Asiya Saif Alvi is a dynamic young political analyst from Lahore. After finishing her school and college education, she went to Islamabad for Masters from Quaid-e-Azam University. After doing her Masters, she joined a local college in Lahore for teaching. Simultaneously, she got admission in Government College Lahore for her MPhil in the political science department. Meanwhile, she quit her job of the college and started working at the Virtual University of Pakistan. After doing her MPhil, she got enrolled in the PhD program in the University of the Punjab. While doing her PhD, she worked as a Lecturer in the UET Taxila for one year and then moved to Lahore College of Women University. After six months, I got selected as an assistant professor in the Department of Politics and IR in the University of Sargodha. In the University of Sargodha, she has attended more than a dozen National and International conferences. The University of Sargodha, where she is serving at present, sent her to China in 2017 for a teaching diploma. She has written more than a dozen research articles in Pakistan’s renowned journals.[/box]
PAGE: How would you comment on the celebrations of Independence Day of Pakistan this year when the entire world is facing unprecedented upheaval?
Dr Asiya Saif Alvi: On August14, 2020, the entire Pakistani nation celebrated the Independence Day with all the festivities. However, this year’s celebration was pretty much, unlike many in the past. The worldwide outbreak of COVID-19 shook the globe to its very core. Every Pakistani felt the shock — wave of the bomb of coronavirus, in one way or the other. A huge chunk of Pakistan’s populace got afflicted by the contagion, and the rest were locked down in their homes and were asked to observe social distancing. For the past few months, this lively nation has coped with the losses of their businesses, which are almost shutdown. However, during the early days of this August, lockdown was eased off. Furthermore, on August 14, 2020, the people of Pakistan celebrated Independence Day. Nevertheless, this time, the independence was celebrated not just in memory of chronicles of August 14, 1947, but for much greater resolution. This year’s Independence Day signifies not only the reminiscence of getting a separate homeland on August 14, 1947, but also the independence from the pandemic of COVID-19 lockdown. The masses have confronted a hand-to-mouth situation, numerous have lost their business, and many are facing crushing losses. The country overall stood on the brink of a severe recession and heinous economic crisis. This Independence Day signifies the independence from the shackles of COVID-19, as all the lockdowns are over now, and the cycle of life of people is coming back to its track.
PAGE: How has Pakistan evolved since its inception?
Dr Asiya Saif Alvi: Since its very inspection, Pakistan has undergone a potpourri of eras and circumstances. Its history has been tumultuous. However, during the past two decades, Pakistan has experienced changes in several fields – some of which were subtle and some quite conspicuous. Politically, Pakistan matured a great deal in a good way. Democracy seems to have prevailed, and if it continues to do so, Pakistan can look forward to a brighter political future. Socio-culturally, Pakistan has become more flexible and liberal. Earlier, there was little concept of women empowerment. In recent decades various platforms such as “Aurat March” came forth. Though criticized, yet they managed to sprout in a society that was and is by far patriarchal. Various bills and acts such as Anti-Acid Attack Bill, Anti-Harassment Act, and the latest Zainab Alert Bill are worth mentioning in this regard. Talking of Pakistan’s foreign policy, it would be right to say that Pakistan has witnessed a vivid yet slow shift from the American bloc. During Trump’s Presidency, Pakistan shifted her tendency towards China. A major development was witnessed in the past two decades.
PAGE: What is your perspective on Pakistan’s trade with its neighboring countries?
Dr Asiya Saif Alvi: We are living in the era of globalization. In this current scenario, economy is considered to be the back bone of states. Through economy states interlink with each other and for this purpose they use different channels for trade. We cannot deny the importance of ports. The trade of major giants lies on ports. For this purpose, Pakistan with the help of great friend China is working on Gwadar Port as well as CPEC. Pakistan is also trying to search for the new economic partners other than the traditional. Along with it, Pakistan is also trying to update the old channels like ECO, SAARC etc. However, in economic terms, sadly, Pakistan continues to witness the same old deficits dependency on foreign aids. Unfortunately, even after 73 years of independence, Pakistan still lags among developing nations. However, there is hope.
PAGE: Where do you see Pakistan in the next decades?
Dr Asiya Saif Alvi: If democracy continues to prevail, it is quite possible that in the next two decades, Pakistan will be progressing among the developed nations. Democracy carries the internal system of accountability with the aid of which, a time will come when there would remain little corruption in Pakistan. Moreover, Pakistan, from its current strategic steps, seems to in more coherence with China than earlier patron USA. By viewing this subtle shift in Pakistan’s foreign policy, it can rightly be maintained that soon Pakistan will form a firm alliance with China and all the other states that are not under the American interest – Iran, Turkey etc.