The second annual Sarfraz Pakistan Lecture to be held at Wolfson College was delivered on Monday 30 November by Professor Christophe Jaffrelot.
The annual lecture, made possible by the generous support of Mr Aamer Sarfraz, was entitled ‘U.S. - Pakistan relations under Obama, resilience of clientism?’, and provided a fascinating introduction to the historical relationship between the two countries and the changes and challenges to this relationship during Obama’s presidency.
Prof Christophe Jaffrelot is Professor of Indian Politics and Sociology at the King's India Institute, King's College London, Research Director at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and lecturer at the Centre d’Etudes et de Recherches Internationales (CERI) at Sciences Po. The event was attended by members of the South Asian Research Cluster (SARC) at Wolfson, alongside other students, researchers and visitors from further afield with an interest in the study of Pakistan.
Following the lecture, SARC researcher and Director of the South Asia studies programme in Oxford Dr Matthew McCartney remarked that Prof Jaffrelot had achieved the difficult task of presenting a fascinating lecture that remained accessible to a wide audience. His talk illuminated the tensions Pakistan has experienced between the need for external support and the need to maintain its own sovereignty. Prof Jaffrelot highlighted Pakistan’s unique predicament, as one of very few nations of its size requiring substantial support from other nations for protection and resources.
Prof Jaffrelot’s new book, The Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience, was on sale following the event. He provided a glimpse into its contents with an overview of several decades of foreign policy and how Obama attempted to re-envision the links between the U.S. and Pakistan based on mutual interest and respect. He described how Obama found himself conflicted between short term goals for security and long term aims of providing development assistance.
Tensions increased in the 2010s when the U.S. began waging its own war on Pakistan’s territory through drone strikes on Islamist groups. Prof Jaffrelot left the audience pondering the future, suggesting there will be a turning point in the relationships Pakistan has with other countries such as China, and what this might mean for U.S. interests in the region.