The University of Lahore Hosts a Book Launch of Ambassador Aizaz Chaudhry’s Book ‘Diplomatic Footprints’
Islamabad:(VOM) : the University of Lahore (UOL) hosted a book launch of former Foreign Secretary and Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI), Amb. Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry’s book entitled ‘Diplomatic Footprints.’ The event featured introductory remarks by the author, three book reviews, and concluding remarks by the Chairman, Board of Governors, University of Lahore, Awais Raoof.
Detailing the idea behind writing his memoir, Amb. Chaudhry argued that because knowledge is a virtue that gives one a sense of justice and courage, it has to be imparted. He said he wrote this book to let youngsters tread their own pathways in research, something he deemed critical to reshaping Pakistan’s global image. Also, he reminded the audience that Pakistan is endowed with great talent and potential, and if the youth is led properly and empowered, the country can greatly prosper. He asserted that, in order to let the youth dispassionately look at and analyze Pakistan’s diplomatic history, he did not add any sensational anecdotes, or talk about institutions and personalities. He accentuated how important it is for Pakistan to develop consensus within. He noted that unity and ownership have always delivered the goods for Pakistan while their absence has cost Pakistan many a time. He said he feels that sharing his experiences could prove useful for those that want to assess and work on Pakistan’s foreign relations, adding that academic inquiries are but critical to producing our own discourse, one that effectively counters mendacious propaganda.
In his review, Pakistan’s former Foreign Secretary, Amb. Shamshad Ahmad Khan, appreciated the diplomatic skills and forward-looking approach of Amb. Chaudhry. Amb. Khan, who was the Foreign Secretary at a very critical period in Pakistan’s history, said Amb. Aizaz’s training in the art of multilateral diplomacy, coupled with his attention to detail and ability to work under pressure, enabled him to navigate challenges that Pakistan faced in a very professional manner. Amb. Khan said Amb. Chaudhry’s book is important for both policymakers and scholars, not least because it sheds light on the successes, achievements, and the low-moments associated with Pakistan’s foreign policy. Amb. Khan, agreeing with the author, laid emphasis on the need for Pakistan to muster internal strength, eradicate its systemic problems, and leverage the modern means of diplomacy, to meet the evolving foreign policy challenges that the country confronts. Amb. Khan stressed that books like Amb. Chaudhry’s ‘Diplomatic Footprints’ not only eloquently tell Pakistan’s story but also highlight the importance of taking concrete steps to make Pakistan’s foreign policy more robust and dynamic.
Former Secretary Interior and Commerce, Tasneem Noorani talked about the importance of practitioners writing their own books, arguing that such a practice will add diversity and quality to the body of literature on Pakistan. He said that Amb. Chaudhry’s success in writing this book speaks of his discipline and commitment to knowledge and academics. He said given the balanced approach taken by the author, the book will aid researchers instead of overly and unnecessarily influencing them.
In her review of the book, Director, Center for Security, Strategy and Policy Research (CSSPR), University of Lahore, Dr. Rabia Akhtar lauded the skills, professionalism, and services rendered by Pakistani diplomats. She highlighted how brilliantly Pakistan maneuvered its way, in a hostile environment, to safeguard, promote, and project its interests. However, lamenting how others have distorted Pakistan’s narrative because of our own reticence to open up archives and primary sources, she said that Pakistan’s international image cannot be improved if Pakistan does not facilitate research and knowledge-creation on its journey and story. She acknowledged how right Amb. Chaudhry is in advising substantive collaboration between academic institutions, think tanks, and the government. Further, she said Pakistani institutions must accept and embrace needful reforms, without which Pakistan’s foreign policy cannot become responsive enough to face a plethora of current and future impediments, and take advantages of the change in the pivot of power.
Chairman UOL Awais Raoof said it is heartening for him, as an educator, to see Amb. Chaudhry highlight the importance of academic linkages and research in the conduct of our foreign policy. He endorsed the argument that intellectual capital must provide policymakers the impetus and direction needed to reshape the contours of our foreign policy. While making a mention of Amb. Chaudhry’s contributions towards introducing and reinvigorating public diplomacy and diaspora engagement, Awais Raoof said Pakistan must take these two strands forward in a very strategic manner. As Chairman, Board of Governors, University of Lahore, Awais Raoof promised that the University will continue playing a pivotal role in fostering connections between academia, think tanks, and the government.