Harvard Pakistan Speaker Series: An Initiative of LUMS SOE, Mittal Institute at Harvard University & Harvard Club of Pakistan

Monday, July 2, 2018

A collaborative effort between the Mittal Institute at Harvard University, LUMS School of Education, and Harvard Club of Pakistan, the Harvard Pakistan Speaker Series is organised with the purpose of featuring expert voices from the Harvard-Pakistan community, showcasing success stories, and networking with the alumni base for the sharing of ideas and knowledge.

The inaugural event of the speaker series, featuring notable alumni and affiliates of the university, was held on May 28, 2018, featuring Mr. Akbar Nasir Khan, COO Punjab Safe Cities Authority (PSCA), Pakistan. The Business Recorder recently described the work in an article as ‘The PSCA is the Punjab Government's initiative for modernising the police force while bringing about a change in the police culture.’ Having a diversified career of over 20 years in the police force, Mr. Khan has been instrumental in making the PSCA a reality. He holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University and an LLM from the University of London. Mr. Khan also has a BSc in Civil Engineering from University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore.

Mr. Khan invited guests to the headquarters of PSCA in Lahore, including Harvard alumni and faculty from universities of Pakistan. Around 25 people attended the event and engaged in an interactive session learning about the high scale and efficiency the project has achieved in a short period of time under Mr. Khan’s leadership.

Mr. Khan briefed the attendees with an audio-visual presentation on the various objectives of the project, delineating the sophistication and innovation with which the project was operating in Pakistan. Attendees were also taken on a guided tour around the facility to see firsthand the work PSCA conducts round the clock. Mr. Khan explained, “We have a grid of 8000 geo-strategic CCTV cameras knitted with a fibre-optics stretch of more than 2000 KMs. Initially, up to 300 interactive Emergency Panic Buttons or Phone Booths have been installed at strategic locations within the metropolis, enabling the public to resort to rapid police responses in case of untoward situations. He added, through this almost omnipresent surveillance mechanism we have been able to provide credible litigable evidence to Punjab Police in more than 700 cases. More than 15,000 suspicious profiles were spotted and assessed for harmful intentions or possessions, resulting in the prevention of a number of unfortunate events before the occurrence.”

Attendees also learned about the Police Dispatch Unit, Video Control Unit, Media Monitoring Unit and the PSCA insignia Cam-surveillance Operations Management Center that all combine to form the core structure of the PSCA project. The speaker series set a high bar with the inaugural session, which showcased an alum’s success in establishing an unprecedented integrated policing mechanism in Pakistan, employing advanced methods in information technology, surveillance and security with a highly competent workforce.

The event was organised by Dr. Mariam Chughtai, Director Pakistan Programs, Mittal South Asia Institute at Harvard, and Fatima Zahra, Program Associate, LUMS-Harvard Mittal Institute Partnership.