Dr. Marta Erdal (Research Professor) and Dr. Kaja (Senior Researcher), Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) visit CIMRAD

A meeting to discuss possible avenues for joint research projects with PRIO was held at CIMRAD, Lahore School of Economics on 05 March 2018. Director CIMRAD Dr. Rashid Amjad, Deputy Director CIMRAD Dr. Fareeha Zafar, Research Fellow & focal person for CIMRAD Ms. Rida Riaz and Dr. Marta Bivand Erdal (Research Professor) and Dr. Kaja (Senior Researcher), participated in the meeting.

Dr. Rashid Amjad Director, CIMRAD, welcomed the guests, and shared the research activities undertaken by CIMRAD over the last two years including the International Conference on the “Pakistani Diaspora: Linking Home and Host Countries” held in February 2016 which was followed by the publication and launch of the book The Pakistani Diaspora: Corridors of Opportunity and Uncertainty drawing on papers presented at the Conference.

Dr. Marta Bivand Erdal and Dr. Kaja proposed three thematic areas on which joint research could be undertaken:

1.      Islamic Finance in Nordic Countries and in Pakistan.

2.      Exploring the connections of Pakistani diaspora to the development of the home country including remittances, and development of charitable organizations.

3.      Overseas Pakistanis investment in real estate industry and their targeting by newly developers.

Dr. Rashid Amjad was of the view that Islamic finance in Pakistan as in other Muslim countries was growing rapidly as Muslims were looking for alternatives to interest-based banking. Profit based instruments such as Marahaba, or Shariah complaint banking finance that used markup as profit had gained prominence. Dr. Amjad expressed considerable interest in collaborating with PRIO on transnational connections of diaspora and their home country. He was also of the view that new investments by the diaspora in real estate and industry would be an interesting area to explore.

Dr. Fareeha Zafar presented her research proposal on ‘Return Migrants and Social Change in Gujrat district’, as Gujrat was a high migration district in Pakistan. Her focus was to explore the contribution of the return migrants to social and cultural transformation of a community. Dr Erdal was of the view that while an area of research interest for them also given that a large part of the Pakistani diaspora in Norway came from Pakistan it was a challenging field of research given that it is difficult to measure social change and that migrants are constantly on the move. Dr. Amjad suggested that it might be more useful to look at migrants and not just the category of return migrants, and also to adopt a comparative approach to analyze the transformation of districts by taking one high and one low migration district in Punjab. In addition, a cross-country comparison could also give insightful information on the mentioned theme.

The meeting ended with the possibility of a jointly funded project between CIMRAD and PRIO in the area of remittances and overseas Pakistanis investing in real estate.  It was also decided that CIMRAD would hold its second international conference on migration early next year for which proposals from PRIO on the theme of the Conference would be most welcome.