IT IS DIFFICULT TO FOSTER INNOVATION AND CREATIVE THINKING IN LARGE BUREAUCRACIES AND PAKISTAN’S STATE INSTITUTIONS ARE NO DIFFERENT.
Within restrictive government and military service structures, even the brightest officers can achieve – at best – incremental improvements in their respective departmental bubbles. Such a system not only cultivates rather rewards mediocrity and conformity at a time when Pakistan’s security challenges demand radical rethinks and transformative leadership.
As an independent nonpartisan institute, we address this challenge by providing a platform for lateral thinkers to conceive bold policy recommendations outside the bureaucratic pressures of promotion culture, peer pressure and political interference.
The mission of NUR MARKAZ is to identify gaps in deterrence and provide robust solutions to address them, creating conditions for a morally, spiritually and intellectually enriched society that is capable of achieving, in the words of the Quaid, “Peace within and peace without.”
Umar Agha serves as NUR MARKAZ’s founding director. He has a deep appreciation for the structural challenges that affect Pakistan’s strategic and intelligence community after spending several years assessing deterrence robustness.
Umar brings to NUR MARKAZ a strong practical and academic grasp on various dimensions of defense analysis and assessment, political/substate violence, conflict management, strategic deterrence, special operations, unconventional warfare, intelligence and related issues.
Umar holds a BA from Columbia University, where he was the only undergraduate student to complete the requirements for the graduate International Security Policy concentration, and, after enrolling in a master’s program at Harvard University, is currently in Pakistan due to COVID-related academic format changes. In addition to his academic credentials, he has held several security clearances.