Safiya Aftab, Executive Director

Safiya Aftab has graduate degrees in Economics from Quaid e Azam University, Islamabad and the London School of Economics and Political Science; and Public Administration from Harvard University.

Ms. Aftab has had varied professional experience, including permanent staff positions with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the UN World Food Program (WFP), consulting (both as a freelance consultant and with international firms), and in research (with the International Food Policy Research Institute and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute). She has provided research and data analysis support on macroeconomic papers, many of which have been published internationally; undertaken consulting assignments on a range of economics and political economy related issues, involving primary data analysis in addition to review and analysis of secondary sources.

Her recent research interests lie in issues of political economy and governance, including economic governance and social protection, as well as human rights issues.

Azeema Cheema, Director Research and Strategy

Azeema Cheema holds degrees in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Affairs at Syracuse University, and in Political Economics from Bloomsburg University, Pennsylvania. She has over eleven years of experience working on issues across socio-economic development, democratic governance, and fragility. Her areas of expertise include elections, social cohesion, and strategic communications. In addition to long-term positions with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), Azeema has provided consultancy services (including analytical work and strategic advisory) to a wide range of institutions including multilateral and bilateral donors, private sector implementers, and INGOs. She has designed quantitative & qualitative research, as well as led political economy analyses, conflict analyses, and stakeholder engagement processes.

Azeema has taught post-graduate courses in public policy at the National Defense University Faculty of Contemporary Studies in Islamabad. She has also conducted trainings on political campaigns and communications with Parliamentarians and women candidates. Her current research focuses on the discourse of social movements and political actors in Pakistan and developing communications frameworks to strengthen community resilience.

Jamal Janjua, Director Research Operations

Muhammad Jamal Janjua holds degrees in Economics and Finance, and
Law. He has a diverse range of both private and public sector work
experience spanning almost 15 years, from working in banking and
financial services to working with research institutions and eventually
consulting. His areas of expertise include financial inclusion, governance,
conflict analysis, and minority rights. He is highly skilled in data collection
and analysis, both quantitative and qualitative, as well as in legislation

Shirin Gul, Director Policy and Research

Shirin Gul began her career in 2000 researching gender issues. Over the years, she has developed strong social research skills (theory, tools and application). Her areas of expertise include Governance and Social Protection. Shirin has led the design and management of projects in the area of local government, electoral support, parliamentary development, rule of law, social accountability and conflict sensitive governance.

Shirin’s work in governance, research and project management, is informed by a strong political economy and policy analysis perspective. Shirin has also developed an interest and experience in G2P payments, bringing together social protection and financial inclusion, by assessing and designing financial services for cash transfer recipients. As a researcher, Shirin continues to dabble with narrative research and discourse analysis.

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