Beyond North Waziristan

A discussion with
Major Ikram Sehgal
Defense Analyst and Chairman,
Pathfinder Group Pakistan

Dr. Hassan Abbas
Author of 'The Taliban Revival' and Chair, Department of Regional and Analytical Studies, College of International Security Affairs
National Defense University

Moderated by
Mr. Shuja Nawaz
Director, South Asia Center
Atlantic Council

As the Pakistani army wages a long-awaited operation, Zarb-e-Azb, against militant sanctuaries in North Waziristan, there are questions about how effectively it confronts the long-term challenge of terrorism in the region. This offensive has disrupted the former main operational base for Pakistani militants, Afghan insurgents, al Qaeda, and central Asian militants. Although the Army has seized control of main towns and put militants on the defensive, there are concerns that a significant part of the militant nexus fled the area for safer havens prior to the operation. The Army and government must now contend with the formidable challenges of sheltering and rehabilitating nearly a million displaced persons, stemming new threats from militants who fled to other parts of the country or Afghanistan, and responding to charges from the United States and Afghanistan of not taking sufficient military action against the Haqqani Network. How is the Nor th Waziristan operation impacting militant groups operating in the region, and the overall stability of Pakistan? Can the United States, Afghanistan, and Pakistan work together to address sanctuaries for insurgents on both sides of the border? Ikram Sehgal and Hassan Abbas will highlight the progress, pitfalls, and implications of Pakistan’s strategy in North Waziristan. 

Ikram Sehgal is the chairman of Pathfinder Group, comprising two of Pakistan’s largest private security companies with 15,000 employees in more than fifty cities and towns in Pakistan, supported independently by electronics security and facility services companies. After graduating from Pakistan Military Academy, Mr. Sehgal served in the Pakistan Army in the Infantry and Army Aviation, becoming the first Pakistani prisoner of war in history to escape from India in July 1971. While commanding a rifle company during the Indo-Pak war he was given “battlefield promotion” to the rank of major on December 13, 1971. He presently serves as director of Bank Alfalah Ltd and General Tyre Ltd, a foundation member of the World Economic Forum, and on the business advisory board for the International Organization for Migration. He is a director of EastWest Institute. Sehgal is the publisher and chief editor of Defense Journal and writes weekly columns for various magazines and newspapers. Presently, he is the chairman of the Defense & Security Committee of the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors.

Hassan Abbas is a professor of international security studies at National Defense University's College of International Security Affairs. He is also a senior advisor at Asia Society and a nonresident fellow at Institute for Social Policy and Understanding. He became a senior advisor at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs (CSIA) at the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University (2009-11), after having been a research fellow (2005-09). He was the distinguished Quaid-i-Azam chair professor at Columbia University before joining CISA and has previously held fellowships at Harvard Law School and Asia Society in New York. He regularly appears as an analyst on media including CNN, ABC, BBC, C-Span, and GEO TV, and writes pieces for various leading international newspapers and academic publications. Abbas’ well-acclaimed book Pakistan's Drift into Extremism: Allah, the Army and America's War on Terror< /em> (M E Sharpe, 2004) remains on bestseller lists in Pakistan. His latest book, The Taliban Revival, chronicles the Taliban’s survival and resurgence after 2001, through firsthand research and interviews in the area, and argues that understanding the causes of “talibanization” is essential for reversing its momentum in the region. 


DATE:           Friday, August, 8, 2014

TIME:            10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.             

LOCATION:   Atlantic Council
                          1030 15th St. NW, 12th Floor
                         Washington, DC 20005

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