2012 Martin Forum Offers Timely Insights into Pakistan/Afghanistan Border Region

Monday, February 6 2012


By Donna Emert

MOSCOW, Idaho – The 2012 Martin Forum promises to provide participants an enlightening, insider's understanding of the cultural context and complex issues that shape international relations with the governments and people of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region.

Shadman Bashir, originally from Pakistan, is an expert on the tribal areas of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border region. Bashir will present the 2012 Martin Forum, providing insights into the history, culture and politics of the volatile region.

Bashir's talk titled, "The Tribal Region of Afghanistan/Pakistan," begins at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15 at the Law School Courtroom in the Menard College of Law building on the University of Idaho campus in Moscow. It is free and open to the public.

In his presentation, Bashir will explain the region, its key players and their respective goals and ambitions, and will discuss the value the region holds for those regional powers. Bashir also will provide a brief history of U.S. policy toward the region. Then, he will offer "step-by-step analyses of the mistakes, misunderstandings and mismanagement of current U.S. policy, and possible solutions."

"It's important to hear and take part in this discussion because it involves a region which has played a very important role in American policies since World War II," said Bashir. "Today it's more important than ever to let go of the stereotypical picture of such regions, and try to understand them the way they really are. Only with proper understanding and clearly defined goals will the U.S. be able to achieve a favorable strategic outcome, which will not only be favorable for the U.S., but for the region as well."

It is vital that the US begin to understand the intricacies of the region, said Bill L. Smith, director of the Martin Institute and Program in International Studies.

"There may be no other region of the world which so challenges the American public and American policymakers in terms of why it is so difficult to accomplish social, economic, political, or military aims there," said Smith. "This talk will help further our understanding of this complex region."

Bashir holds a master of laws (LL.M) in comparative law and serves as an adviser and consultant on law and International affairs. He speaks six languages and multiple dialects. His research, teaching and lecture experience include service as a research advisor to the International Center for Law and Religion Studies for the J. Ruben Clark Law School and as a consultant on the Woman States Project, both at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.

He has taught and lectured on issues ranging from terrorism tactics in South Asia to how cultural misunderstandings can shape, and undermine, the effectiveness of international policy.

Bashir's expertise on the tribal areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan includes insights into tribal people, laws and culture; Pashto language and code; terrorism and insurgency in tribal regions; social and economic dynamics; history, development and management; and tribal Islamic culture.

His expertise in law and international affairs includes South Asian political systems and dynamics; international security and unconventional warfare; humanitarian and aid organizations in South Asia; comparative laws (English, South Asian and U.S.); international human trafficking and slavery; Islamic law (Mohammedan law and jurisprudence, Sharia law); U.S. immigration law; and international constitutional laws.
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