Lahore School of Economics

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Lahore School Second Annual Conference on Social Sciences

The Second Lahore School of Economics Annual Conference on Social Sciences concluded on April 4, 2014. Renowned scholars, academician and researchers took part in the conference.

The first day of the conference [April 3, 2014] focused on 'Language and Literature in South Asia: Perceptions, Practices, and Possibilities.' The conference began with the opening remarks by Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Rector of Lahore School of Economics. Session 1 was chaired by Dr. Sabiha Mansoor, the Vice Chancellor of LCWU. During this session, Dr. Tariq Rahman, Dean, School of Education, BNU, Lahore, examined the commodification of English in the Call Centres of Pakistan. Dr. Saiqa Imtiaz Asif, Chairperson, Department of English and Director, English Language Center, BZU, Multan presented her paper on the major causes of desertion of Seraiki language. Dr. Shahid Siddiqui Head and Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Lahore School of Economics presented his paper on reclaiming the silenced voice of women in Urdu literature. Dr. Amra Raza, Chairperson, Department of English Language and Literature, University of the Punjab, Lahore discussed the reworking of myths by Pakistani poets writing in English.

Session II was chaired by Dr. Waseem Anwar, Dean of Humanities, Professor of English, FCCU, Lahore. Dr. MunazzaYaqoob, Chairperson, Department of English, International Islamic University, Islamabad discussed the ethics of compassion and politics of difference in Roy and Hanif’s fiction. Dr. Nadia Anjum, Head MA/MPhil English Literature Programme and Advanced Research, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore presented her paper on the proscriptive norms in Aravind Adiga’s, The White Tiger. Dr. Shireen Rahim, Assistant Professor, Lahore School of Economics highlighted Eco-critical consideration of contemporary literature. Dr. Kaleem Raza Khan, Chairman, Department of English, University of Karachi presented a sociolinguistic analysis of code-switching in classroom discourse.

Dr. Isabel William, Dean of Professional Studies, Director ELT MA/MPhil Programmes, Kinnaird College for Women, Lahore,chaired the third session for the day. Dr. Ayesha Bashiruddin, Associate Professor, English Department, Institute for Educational Development, Aga Khan University, Karachi, examined the Creative Pedagogies in English Language Education. Dr. Aliya Zafar, Dean, Department of Humanities, COMSATS, Islamabad, emphasized the role of practitioner inquiry in professional development of teachers. Dr. Tayyaba Tamim, Associate Professor, Lahore School of Economics discussed the intersection of caste, social exclusion, and educational opportunity in rural Punjab.

On second day (April 4, 2014), the theme of the the conference was the “Dynamics of Pakistani Politics: Issues and Challenges”. Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Rector Lahore School of Economics, gave a brief background to Lahore School’s introduction of English and Political Science as a major in the undergraduate programme. The rector’s talk was followed by a key note address by Prof. Sajjad Naseer, Senior Fellow in the Department of Political Sciences who linked the present complication of the Pakistani political system to the pre independence era and argued that if the democratic process was given enough time to run smoothly without any interruptions, it will help the political parties to mature with time and will contribute positively towards the future of the Pakistani politics.

Mr. Shehryar M. Khan, the chairperson of the conference addressed the audience and focused on the policy issues of Pakistan with its neighbors Afghanistan and India. He suggested that Pakistan should review its policy with the two neighbors in the wake of a regime change in both these countries.

The first session of the conference began with Dr. Taimur Rahman’s paper on “Class structure of Pakistan and its implications”. Dr. Rahman who is an Assistant Professor Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at Lahore University of Management Sciences, (LUMS) elucidated that the class structure of Pakistan is characterized by Asiatic capitalism, where the non-agricultural sector of the economy dominated by petty commodity production and small-scale capitalism. He argued that the current class system of Pakistan has its implications for the country’s politics, society, and culture.

Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmad, professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at LUMS presented on the “Ideological Controversies in Pakistan.” His paper examined the differentiated citizenship that the Pakistani state has devised historically and explored why the inclusive, democratic content of citizenship has been eclipsed by majoritarian and exclusive ones. He also advanced an argument for a secular state as reconcilable with the Muslim identity of Pakistan.

Aasim Sajjad Akhtar, Assistant Professor, Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad discussed the sociological bases of the contemporary patronage-based political system, and in particular the role of commercial middle classes in a rapidly urbanizing society in his paper titled “Strength or weakness: Pakistan’s fragmenting state and the maintenance of social order.”

Dr. Saeed Shafqat, Director, School of Public Policy, Forman Christian College University, Lahore gave a talk on “The issues of local government in Pakistan: The conundrum of policy making process."  He expounded that the provincial autonomy and path dependence are among the dominant factors that have shaped the latest Local Government (LG) acts recently enacted by the provincial assemblies of Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh. He explained that the LG acts recently passed by the provincial assemblies are fragmented and driven by considerations of main the status quo, rather than seeking to innovate and think out of the box for establishing transparent and accountable governance. The talk by the presenters was followed by a question and answer session in which the audience raised interesting questions which was followed by an exhaustive debate by the presenters on the concerns raised by the papers. Prof. Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi summed up the papers presented in the session and discussed important points raised at the forum.

The second session of the day was chaired by Mr. Shamshad Ahmad Khan, the Ex- Foreign Secretary of Pakistan. The session began with a stimulating paper by Dr. Azmat Hayat Khan, the (Ex) Vice-Chancellor, University of Peshawar who took into account the Political Dimensions of Pakistan. He discussed the vital geo-strategic location of Pakistan which has led it to becoming a focal point in the international politics post 9/11 turn of events. He contended that the real test for the political skill of Pakistani leadership would start when the U.S. withdrawal is complete from Afghanistan. He debated at length that in order to ensure a change in the present day political thinking we need to break the vicious circle of feudal and religious politics and look towards the developing world, so that we can compete with other nations and find ourselves a respectable position in the community of nations.

Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi, Professor Emeritus, University of the Punjab, and Defense Analyst presented his paper on the “Civil-Military Relations in Pakistan and the United States.” He deliberated that Pakistan’s military and civil authorities maintain multifaceted relations with the United States because of which US enjoys varying degrees of influence on the Pakistani politics. However, what determines US policy towards any military government in Pakistan are the stability of the regime and U.S. strategic interests at a particular point of time.

The focus of Dr. Shoaib Pervez, Assistant Professor, Department of Social Sciences, Lahore School of Economics was a social-constructivist analysis of the nuclear rivalry between India-Pakistan. He argued that the India and Pakistan’s rationale to tread on a nuclear path involves an equally important socio-cultural perspective in addition to a material calculus based on power and prestige. He elaborated on the socio-cultural perspective of the nuclear rivalry between these two states.

The session was summed up by the discussant Prof. Sajjad Naseer and was concluded by Mr. Shamshad Ahmad Khan who brought to limelight pertinent areas that could further be explored regarding the external aspects of the Pakistani politics.

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posted by S A J Shirazi @ 4/04/2014 04:19:00 PM,

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