A Pakistani agent in Washington, an American mole in Islamabad

Moeed Yusuf’s saga from Washington to Islamabad epitomizes the fate of global era professionals who transcend political and cultural boundaries and end up facing national xenophobia and chauvinism.

Washington

In September 2019, when the news emerged that Dr. Moeed Yusuf was appointed as the chairperson of the Strategic Policy Planning Cell (SPPC), which functions under the Pakistani government’s National Security Division; Dr. Christine Fair (Assistant Professor Georgetown University, Washington) wrote a scathing piece against him (Was US Institute of Peace harbouring a Pakistani asset?) in Indian publication, The Print, with the tone, “Didn’t I tell you?” reminding American taxpayers that she had always considered Dr. Moeed Yusuf a Pakistani agent in Washington and that the United States Institute of Peace (USIP) kept promoting him despite her protestations – and despite her writing to FBI.

In December 2019, when Dr. Yusuf was appointed as the special assistant to the prime minister on national security division and strategic policy planning, with the status of a minister of state, it was now the turn of his enemies in Pakistan to target him.

Many declared him – on TV programs and WhatsApp debate – a dangerous American mole with access to confidential matters of national security and nuclear secrets.

Dr. Yousaf’s saga epitomizes the fate of global era professionals who transcend political and cultural boundaries and rise above national xenophobia and chauvinism.

One can disagree with Dr. Christine Fair on many issues, but in her Print Op-ed, she was brutally honest; she, along with Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa and few others from India kept attacking Dr. Yusuf for as long as human memory works – witch-hunt is the only term that comes to mind.

One can disagree with Dr. Christine Fair on many issues, but in her Print Op-ed, she was brutally honest; she, along with Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa and few others from India kept attacking Dr. Yusuf for as long as human memory works – witch-hunt is the only term that comes to mind.

Fortunately for Dr. Yusuf, the world view of USIP and American academia was bigger than the tunnel vision of Dr. Christine Fair and the reactionary world of Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa.

Read more: Dr. Moeed Yusuf appointed SAPM on National Security: What can Pakistan Expect?

Many who have worked in think tanks in the US and the UK have, at some stage, worked at crucial positions in their countries of origin.

Dr. Rahul Roy Chaudhry, who heads South Asia Research at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) London for the past several years, had at one point served in the National Security Council Secretariat of Prime Minister’s Office in New Delhi.

No doubt he was Pakistan’s man in Washington and is America’s man in Pakistan. He belongs to both worlds – and this is the world view that is needed in Prime Minister’s Office.

Experts whether in Washington, London, or Brussels always bring in their unique perspectives, and many who watched Dr. Yusuf conduct discussions from the platform of USIP could see him as someone who brought in much-needed balance in such discussions – otherwise dominated by New Delhi’s perspective.

Dr. Yusuf brings an interesting inter-disciplinary background to the Prime Minister’s team. He was formerly the associate vice president of the Asia centre at the US Institute of Peace in Washington DC. He has taught at Boston University, George Washington University, and Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

He is also a columnist for daily Dawn. His book “Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: US Crisis Management in South Asia” was published by Stanford University in 2018. Yusuf holds a Masters in International Relations and a Ph.D. in political science from Boston University.

Read more: Christine Fair Questions Dr. Moeed Yousuf’s Integrity: USIP gives her Shut Up Call

Before joining the USIP, he was a fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Centre at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and concurrently, a research fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Centre at Harvard Kennedy School. He has also worked at the Brookings Institution, a Washington-based think tank. In 2007, Yusuf co-founded Strategic and Economic Policy Research, a private sector consultancy firm in Pakistan.

Between 2004 and 2007, Yusuf was a full-time consultant with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Islamabad, according to his profile. At one point, he has also been working closely with noted columnist, Ejaz Haider, with Friday Times, a publication from Lahore – started by Najam Sethi and Jugnoo Mohsin.

No doubt he was Pakistan’s man in Washington and is America’s man in Pakistan. He belongs to both worlds – and this is the world view that is needed in Prime Minister’s Office – Global Village Space strongly commends PM Khan for his excellent choice.

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