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One Day University Workshop “Non-Traditional Security Challenges” Held

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LAHORE, Pakistan: The Islamabad-based Center for Global & Strategic Studies (CGSS) and Hanns Seidel Foundation Pakistan in collaboration with the Department of Political Science and IR & Regional Integration Centre at the University of the Punjab organized a One Day University Workshop on “Non-traditional Security Challenges” in Lahore on Thursday.

The event commenced with welcome remarks by Ms. Meher Ghawas, Head of Program Management, Hanns Seidel Foundation Pakistan. She stated that today’s workshop on NTSC aims to discuss nontraditional security challenges being faced by Pakistan, amongst academia and policy experts. With an increasing population and depleting resources, it is important for the policy experts and youth to come upwith solutions together in addressing such challenges.

Mr. Khalid Taimur Akram, Executive Director, CGSS presented an Overview of Learnings and Outcomes from CGSS-HSF joint events on Non-Traditional Security Challenges. He stated that CGSS in collaboration with HSF has organized almost six high-level national events on NTS issues. We are working through a comprehensive research assessment on NTS issues amid policy recommendations to compose a robust policy plan. Moreover, we are working to promote awareness and constructively add into the curriculum development on Non-traditional security challenges through extensive research. He mentioned that we have been successful in developing profound understanding and analysis and bridging gap between academicians and stakeholders via providing them an integrated platform to discuss the relevant subject.

The first session of the workshop commenced with the speech of Prof. Dr. Iram Khalid, Chairperson, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of the Punjab, Lahore who discussed “Evolution of Traditional Security to Non-Traditional Security”. She stated that the fundamental goal of NTS should be to overcome the dichotomy between traditional and non-traditional security paradigms. Despite the maturation of scholarship and policy attention on NTS issues, however, pervasive questions remain about the relationship between non-traditional and traditional security sectors, what or whom is being secured, and the conceptual and practical value of “securitizing” more generally. Challenges in the food, energy, environmental, and health sectors, among others, threaten the lives of countless vulnerable communities and the future progress upon which societies across the world depend. The charge of NTS is to explore these issues coherently and in ways that can add value to the policymaking and civil society communities.

Dr. Tahira, Assistant Professor, Department of International Relations, University of Sialkot, Sialkot discussed “Impact of climate change on water security: Policy Recommendations”. She explained the interrelationship between climate change and water. She stated that planning is needed in this regard.

“We need to enhance and strategize our water policy. We need to opt for precautionary measures so that the risk of spreading infections can be reduced”.  She stated that through the usage of technology and enforcement of legislation, things can be improved.

Dr. Rehana Saeed Hashmi, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science & IR, University of the Punjab Lahore discussed Climate Change driven migration and national security. She stated that climate change affects other aspects of our physical environment. These challenges are very serious with long-term fallouts. Climate change-driven migration will test the capabilities both nationally, internationally and collaborations globally. The South Asian region is severely hit by climate change. She stated that there is a huge gap in the literature to assess the situation of Pakistan. The agriculture departments of various universities must focus on new technologies. The Government should update its climate policy and tailor-made policies for each province must be devised.

Dr. Muhammad Sharreh Qazi,  Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science & IR, University of the Punjab, Lahore highlighted Cyber security challenges to Pakistan: Role of Artificial Intelligence in mitigating these challenges. He stated that a grounded definition for cybersecurity has yet to emerge given the nature of multifarious platforms, domains and operability of the cyberspace environment. The activity or process, ability or capability, or state whereby information and communications systems and the information contained therein are protected from and/or defended against damage, unauthorized use or modification, or exploitation. AI, coupled with High-Performance Computing (HPC) like Supercomputers and Quantum-computers allows bolstered cybersecurity insulation. Computation-intensive tasks are necessary given how utilization of cyberspace has intensified into a more aggressive domain of insecurity.

Dr. Qudsia Akram, Assistant Professor, International Relations, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore, Pakistan emphasized on Food insecurity and agriculture policy ramifications for Pakistan. She stated that Pakistan is an agrarian economy and 39% labour is involved in agriculture. Pakistan’s major problem is energy crises, rampant corruption, and poor data collection techniques. One of the major challenges in this sector is that the yield from the crops is very little, agricultural land is not being efficiently utilized. Pakistan needs to introduce good quality seeds and better incentives in this sector.

The second session of the workshop commenced with the speech of Professor Dr. Syeda Mehnaz Hasan, Chairperson, Department of Social Work, University of the Punjab, Lahore who discussed Pathogens and pandemics: Impacts on Nationals security of the state and policy options. She stated that pandemics directly affect a country’s economic security. Pandemics impact the supply chain management as the import and export is greatly curtailed and restricted resulting losses in industries, profits, and employment. Pandemics can cause significant widespread increases in morbidity and mortality. It can cause significant social and economic disruption. It also causes behavioral changes. Globally till 3rd December 2021, a total number of 266.14 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported. Wrong societal attitudes, domestic violence and harassment have also been triggered due to COVID-19.  She suggested that the highest priority must be given to cost-effective strategies.

Dr. Amanullah Khan, Dean, Faculty of Law, University of the Punjab, Lahore discussed Curtailing hybrid warfare under the provisions of domestic and international law. He stated that security is a collective job. The flow of information has changed fundamentally. The basic lesson that we must learn from the pandemic is that where do we stand as a society. Political, legal, and judicial stability, social welfare, education, health, economy, all these factors are very important and are interconnected. However, the role of citizens is the most significant in this regard. We have to come up with solutions that can be adopted and be successful. There are many nontraditional security challenges that are visible but what is more important is that our society is based on rule of law and equality.

Dr. Fouzia Hadi, Director, Regional Integration Center, University of the Punjab, Lahore discussed the Role of Pakistan’s academic networks in emerging NTS threats. She stated that universities are considered to be change agents in many issues including non-traditional security threats and sustainability awareness. Therefore, universities need to be reformed in the field of teaching and research. Universities have the possibility of using divergent tools to connect those skills with expert knowledge and enable students to generate new ideas, new theories, and new products evolving around sustainable development issues.

Ms. Laraib Fatima Hassan, Communication & Coordination Executive, CGSS highlighted “Technological transformation: An Asset or Liability?”. She stated that we witnessed the massive technological transformation in our education sector during COVID-19 that proved to be an asset for the academia of Pakistan. Technology has changed the orthodox ways of teaching. Now, the patterns of learning and education are more inclined towards advanced instruments or patterns vis-à-vis technology. The opportunities for formal learning have also gone digital because of online degree programs, courses, sessions, and much more. She mentioned that there should be advanced and effective teacher training programs facilitated by the government at a broader level that rely on understanding, accepting and using technology. Technology can also create solutions that can help bridge existing gaps in education, policy, capacity building and modern means.

The third session of the Workshop included interactive question and answers. The students were provided the opportunity to ask questions and also share their input on the subject.

The Workshop concluded with the closing remarks by Prof. Dr. Iram Khalid, Chairperson, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of the Punjab, Lahore.

The Workshop was attended by Faculty members and students from the University.

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