The Strategic Vision Institute (SVI) has a special place among Islamabad-based think-tanks, which are engaged in nuclear studies, because of its strong ties with educational institutions. The President/Executive Director of SVI, Dr. Zafar Iqbal Cheema, who is himself a renowned educationist and meritorious Professor of Quaid-e-Azam University, is leading a team of bright young university graduates asSenior Research Associates, Research Associates and Research Affiliates. The Pakistan Nuclear Society (PNS), being a representative body of highly qualified professionals attached to nuclear and allied disciplines, considers itself a natural partner of all forums where Pakistan’s nuclear deterrence and civilian nuclear capacities for peaceful uses are projected.
To explore the possibilities of academic collaboration with SVI, a delegation of PNS Council members visited SVI offices on 23rd June 2021. The delegation headed by the President PNS, Dr. Imtinan Elahi Qureshi, included Vice President, Dr. M. Tahir Khaleeq; General Secretary, Dr. M. Mohsin; and Executive Member, Ms. Shazia Fayyaz. The visitors were graciously received by Dr. Cheema and detailed discussions were held in a congenial atmosphere with him and his team, comprising of Ms. S. Sadia Khan, Director Academic, policy, and Program; and Mr. Munir Ahmad Goraya, Assistant Director Administration and HR.
After mutual introduction, the President PNS outlined his view of the comparative strengths of the two bodies and identified complementarity of expertise available at each forum. He mentioned that PNS has over 1000 life-time members, who are currently working or retired from strategic organizations. Many of the veteran scientists of PNS are the ones who pioneered the nuclear programme of Pakistan
and steered the country towards successful nuclear deterrence apart from laying the foundation of a robust nuclear infrastructure for peaceful applications of nuclear energy and technology. However it was felt the contributions of nuclear scientists in the sectors of health, agriculture and industry are under-appreciated and inadequately projected in the media, leading to a lop-sided public image at home and negative perception abroad. It is in this concern that think-tanks with public outreach and media access can play a strong role.
Dr. Cheema recognized the immense intellectual potential of Pakistan’s nuclear community which is untapped in so far as the national discourse on security affairs and international relations are concerned. He presented a brief summary of the wide spectrum of issues including strategic affairs that fall under the interest profile of SVI. The Institute has been playing an important role in highlighting Pakistan’s narrative through its seminars/webinars, lectures, public appearances, policy papers and other publications. In particular the books and journals of SVI have been popular among intelligentsia for their high quality scholarly content. He generously offered that PNS members may freely interact with SVI for giving technical input or gaining experience of public communication. It was agreed that in future some of the events of mutual interest will be organized jointly under terms to be decided later.
As a gesture of goodwill, Dr. Cheema gifted to PNS a set of books and copies of the ‘Journal of Security & Strategic Analyses’, which has been placed in a high-class category of the journals recognized by Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. The meeting ended with good wishes for each other and hope for greater interactivity between the two forums.