Time For Pakistan To Focus On Maritime Studies

Pakistan has a significant role in South Asia due to its strategic location. It has its direct access to Indian Ocean through the Arabian Sea. But unfortunately Pakistan has not been able to use its maritime resources due to a sheer lack of awareness. Pakistan’s maritime sector has an important role to play in our national economic and military power. But that role cannot be put to use until we as nation take cognizance of the significance of this bountiful resource.

ow is the time for Pakistan to take comprehensive and adequate steps to develop maritime awareness and the initiation should come from none other than policy advisers and the academia on the whole. Unfortunately, Pakistan lacks the expertise in this regard as well. Research in maritime affairs is close to being non-existent, resulting in a lack of understanding and attention towards maritime sector. Only a handful of institutions carry out research in this field. Among them is the National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA), one of the leading national think tanks. But given the scope of the sector, a commitment to imparting high quality education that promotes a culture of innovation and research in a dynamic, multi-disciplinary and holistic learning environment is required. Keeping this in view, Maritime Study Forum (MSF) has stepped up efforts to increase the focus on maritime interests, widening maritime education, policy making and raising awareness in the country. 

Focus 

Maritime Study Forum (MSF) was established in October 2018. In this short span, it has a list of achievements to its name. Its first Board of Directors meeting was held in October 2018, in which the directors set the direction the forum would be taking to make maritime studies a mainstream study discipline.Furthermore, MSF organized the Maritime Winter School 2018 jointly with Institute of Policy Studies (IPS), Islamabad, and National Institute of Maritime Affairs (NIMA) at Bahria University, Karachi Campus. In January, MSF organized a brainstorming session on Sagar Mala Project at Margala Greens Golf Club, Islamabad that was widely attended by noted academicians, researchers and students. MSF has also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with National University of Modern Languages (NUML) to initiate joint ventures in research. NSF will be guiding the university on developing curriculum on maritime affairs. MSF has also signed an MoU with Riphah Institute of Public Policy, as well as with Institute of Policy Studies (IPS). To raise awareness about the discipline and the significance of maritime studies, MSF has carried out various seminars in collaboration with universities across Pakistan. It is assisting International Islamic University Islamabad for developing the Sea and Maritime Law as a course. Recently, MSF hosted a round table discussion themed around “Pakistan’s Maritime Economy in Light of Budget 2019-20”. 

Maritime Study Forum has stepped up efforts to increase the focus on maritime interests, widening maritime education, policy advocacy and raising general awareness about maritime affairs

It was an in-house discussion at MSF which included, among others, leading economists and academics. The discussion was intended to bring maritime sector in light of policy and academic discourse and generate solutions for prevailing issues in the sector. Pakistan has faced failure in improving its maritime sector due to policy makers’ blind focus on land resources. Pakistan’s failure to cash in on its maritime potential has caused a havoc in our economy, apart from leaving the security of Pakistan vulnerable. We may continue to pay a high price if the realization is not developed at this stage and appropriate measures are not taken to redress the situation. Think tanks and research institutes play an important role and it’s time for policy makers and researchers to take the subject and the sector seriously and adopt a positive attitude in inculcating maritime awareness in the nation. Keeping all these issues in view, Maritime Study Forum has adopted the policy to lay down a positive maritime workable policy. Maritime Study Forum also aspires to bring forth a qualitative output driven by data and analysis, which may benefit policy makers at the helm of affairs and provide material for scholars to generate discourse on maritime affairs. The need of the day is that such innovative institutes must be established in a greater number and greater cohesion should be guaranteed.

The article has been provided by Maritime Study Forum. You can access their website at www.maritimestudyforum.org