Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future

Pakistani students sit on top of an overloaded mini bus as they ride home from school in Lahore on September 8, 2009. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images)

In recent years, Pakistan has stumbled from one crisis to another. The future of the nuclear-armed country, with more than 180 million mostly impoverished people, hangs in the balance. Regional rivalries, political instability, military dominance in the policy making arena, and rising religious extremist trends are adding to the intractability of the country's challenges. Although Pakistan's vibrant civil society, relatively open media, and the rise of an independent judiciary provide some hope, poor economic and development indicators coupled with worry demographic trends pose serious challenges to the well-being of millions of Pakistanis. The unprecedented disaster caused by the floods in the summer of 2010 have also had a devastating impact in Pakistan and the setback to the country's development is likely to be severe.

The Asia Society's Pakistan 2020 Study Group aims to assess the political, social and economic challenges faced by Pakistan today and provides a series of recommendations for how the country can begin to pave a path towards peace and stability in the coming decade. The Study Group's report, entitled Pakistan 2020: A Vision for Building a Better Future, focuses on seven core issue areas essential to realizing a sound future for the country by 2020: (1) strengthening democratic institutions; (2) strengthening the rule of law; (3) improving human development and social services, especially in health and education; (4) developing the energy infrastructure; (5) assisting the 2010 flood victims in their recovery; (6) improving the internal security situation; and (7) advancing the peace process with India. The report examines what is possible, projects a vision of what the country should strive to be like, and presents policy recommendations in each of these issue areas.

The Pakistan 2020 Study Group report will be released on May 18 at Asia Society, New York, and on May 20 at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C.

Pakistan 2020 Study Group Members

Hassan Abbas (Project Director), Asia Society, Bernard Schwartz Fellow; Quaid-i-Azam Chair Professor, Columbia University
Samina Ahmed, South Asia Project Director, International Crisis Group
Graham Allison, Douglas Dillon Professor of Government and Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
Peter Bergen, Journalist; Director, National Security Studies Program, The New America Foundation
Christopher Candland, Professor, Wellesley College
Stephen Cohen, Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, 21st Century Defense Initiative, Brookings Institution
Lt. Gen. (ret.) Asad Durrani, Former Director General of Inter Services Intelligence; Former Pakistan Ambassador to Germany and Saudi Arabia
Christine Fair, Assistant Professor, Center for Peace and Security Studies, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
Asher Hasan, CEO, NayaJeevan
Andrew Hess, Professor of Diplomacy and Director, Program for Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization, The Fletcher School, Tufts University
Pervez Hoodbhoy, Professor, Quaid-i-Azam University (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Mir Ibrahim, Founder and CEO, Geo Television (Pakistan)
Asma Jahangir, President, Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association
General (ret.) Jehangir Karamat, Former Chief of Pakistan Army; CEO, Spearhead Research (Lahore, Pakistan)
William Milam, Former US Ambassador to Pakistan
Adil Najam, Frederick S. Pardee Professor of Global Public Policy, Boston University
Nigar Nazar, Cartoonist; CEO, Gogi Studios Ltd.
John D. Negroponte, Vice-Chairman, McLarty Associates; Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
Sania Nishtar, CEO, Heartfile (Pakistan)
Amir Rana, Director, Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Ahmed Rashid, Journalist and Writer
Eric Rosenbach, Faculty Affiliate, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University
Babar Sattar, Pakistani Lawyer and Writer
Ayesha Siddiqa, Author and Political Analyst
Shirin Tahir-Kheli, Senior Advisor to the Former Secretary of State
Frank Wisner, International Affairs Advisor, Patton & Boggs; Former U.S. Ambassador to India
Moeed Yusuf, South Asia Adviser, United States Institute of Peace
Mariam Abou Zahab, Lecturer, Institute of Political Studies (France)
Mosharraf Zaidi, Columnist, The News; Policy Analyst
Nasim Zehra, Director Current Affairs, Dunya News