Thinkers Forum Pakistan: A Unique Think Tank
Thinkers Forum Pakistan is a platform (non-commercial) whose motto is ‘Better Pakistan’, and was founded in April 2007. In the past ten years it has done a highly commendable job in living up to that maxim.
The idea for the Forum was born under unique circumstances. Three people had assembled together to discuss some matter, they were: Mr. Navid Zafar (late), a Media Professional and academician, Mr. Sultan Bashir Mehmood; Nuclear scientist and engineer and Mr. Bakhtiar Hakeem; a retired Army Officer (who from the beginning to date is Secretary General and Editor). They had further 2-3 meetings during which they felt that they had one thing in common i.e. a great aspiration to really do something tangible for the country. Henceforth TFP emerged, the ideological foundation was of course Islam, and Quaid-e-Azam’s wish to make Pakistan a welfare state, while no distinction was to be made based on sect, caste or creed.
With every passing year the number of members has increased steadily. Today 107 individuals related to different walks of life such as retired Armed Forces Officers, Civil Servants, Teachers, Engineers, Intellectuals, Writers and Students make up TFP. Every member has been serving the country in his/her own right, and now are doing it collectively through the Forum as they share the same vision.
There is also a Board of Governors which consists of 7 members: a) Chairman b) Vice-Chairman c) Secretary General and four others as Directors. It was registered as a Trust in August 2008.
Following are some of the ways that TFP has been striving to make a Better Pakistan:
Thinkers Forum Pakistan: Monthly Meetings
The first step taken was to organize a monthly meeting, so that all members would get together and the issues concerning Pakistan could be presented and discussed. Thereby every month a speaker (who can be a member or even non-member) conducts a talk. It is followed by an interactive Q&A session. Until now 100 such meetings have been held. The primary focus of all topics has been of course Pakistan, while some have covered world affairs. The speakers are very knowledgeable, and so the audience is enriched with comprehensive facts and concepts. And many a times, activities of the Forum are also discussed here.
The Board of Governors (BoG) meeting is also held 2-3 times a year, to talk over important issues.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) is held each year, in March at The Islamabad Club. The yearlong events of the Forum are reviewed, and on this occasion multiple talks are presented. Each member can bring one guest. A total of 10 have been held.
Thinkers Forum Pakistan Newsletter: Better Morrow
A journal that began in August 2008 and so far 39 issues have been published. Till June 2015 it was printed quarterly, yet from issue no. 29 it became a bi-monthly newsletter. It is registered with the Press Information Department (PID) and is ABC (Audit Bureau of Circulations) Certified.
It consists of highly informative and thought provoking articles, both in English and Urdu. These provide insightful observations and suggestions, which are most beneficial for the readers. Mostly contributors are members themselves, while others are welcome to contribute.
Each member receives copies by post. The newsletter is also placed at the Army Central Library, Idris Book Bank, AWT Bank (all situated in Rawalpindi) and distributed by the Editor himself at the Jamia Masjid, Phase I, DHA.
It has a national outreach as it is sent to all the Chief Justices of Provincial Courts and Supreme Courts, and to all the Governors and Chief Ministers of the four provinces and that of Gilgit-Baltistan.Â Additionally it is sent to 28 consulates in the Capital. A few of which have warmly appreciated the content and the efforts that are seen in the shape of Better Morrow.
However it is much more than a mere publication, as many a times it is the reason why people have been inspired to join the Forum. For instance, Air Chief Marshall Kaleem Saadat became a member after reading it, and later on was also elected as Chairman. Furthermore it has also attained the trust of the people and persuaded them to donate for the worthy causes for which TFP has made contributions. For example, the owner of Idris Book Bank contributed Rs. 50,000 for the floods in Sind in 2011.
You can read the issues online here: www.thinkersforumpakistan.org/news_letters.php
Thinkers Forum Pakistan: Striving For a Better Pakistani Society
Since 2010, whenever the country has been faced by different calamities, TFP has always come forward with an ardent desire to help those in need. Even in normal circumstances it is actively engaged in social welfare. Following are the details in brief:
Amount Given (Rupees)
Floods in Punjab
A heartfelt campaign was launched to help the flood affectees. It was spread over six months (August to February 2011). Nine consignments were sent through various means which consisted of food, medicines, clothing, winter bedding as well as school bags and stationary.
Ifftar + Dinner for laborers
Floods in Sindh
Ifftar + Dinner were given to the laborers during the month of Ramazan at the Jungle Restaurant, Phase I, DHA I
Another campaign was launched to help the flood affectees. It was carried over two months (September to November). Three consignments were sent which consisted of food, clothing and bedding
Given to South Asian Pulse Relief Forum (SAPRF), whose chairman is a TFP member; Mr. Rana Abdul Baqi. He distributes quilts during the winters among the destitute families.
Contribution for the food rations that are distributed among the poor families, before the start of Ramazan, by SAPRF.
Given to SAPRF.
This was given to the Army Relief Fund as well SAPRF in three installments during August-September.
Contribution towards the food rations which were distributed in 4 villages located between the cities of Narowal and Pasrur in Punjab by SAPRF.
Given to Army Relief Fund of V Corps (the only Pakistan Army corps operative in the province of Sindh).
|Given to Army Relief Fund of V Corps.|
Contribution for the quilts which were distributed among the villagers of Manshera, KPK, by SAPRF.
|Urgent Treatment of a child|
Wall of Kindness
Contribution towards expenditure for plastic surgery required by severely burned little girl, who was admitted in CMH, Pannu Aqil.
Contribution for milk and biscuits that were distributed among Muslim, Christian & Hindu women and children residing in the desert village Depiyaar Taluqa Mitthi, in Tharparkar by SAPRF.
To pay a tribute the legendry humanitarian Abdul Sittar Edhi sahib, two siblings Miss Saba Stephen and Mr. Sarfraz Stephen made and donated two paintings of him. These were auctioned and the amount was given to the Edhi Home in Islamabad.
One of the Directors, Brig. Kaukab Aziz initiated the wall near his Petrol station (TK Mart). Here all kinds of items are being placed for people to choose from. Clothes, shoes, bags, dry rations, quilts, blankets, books, copies, prayer mats to name some of them. Five such installments have been made so far and the process is ongoing.
Thinkers Forum Pakistan & Education: Abdul Mateen Ansari Scholarship
Education is vital for any countryâ€™s development. Thereby in 2012, with the support of Mr. Kashif Mateen Ansari (a very successful entrepreneur, who is also greatly involved in philanthropy), the son of the late Abdul Mateen Ansari, TFP launched an educational scholarship program.
The aim is to provide bright and deserving students with partial or full monetary assistance so they could continue with their studies. A proper procedure is followed whereby the colleges/universities are approached. They short list the candidates, who are then interviewed by the Secretary General and selected.
In the past five years a total of 65 lacs have been given to 33 such students (which also includes a Christian) belonging to institutes such as Quaid-e-Azam University, UET (Taxila), Rawalpindi Medical College, APCOMS, HITECH University, COMSATS, Bahria University and a few others.
Thinkers Forum Pakistan: The Way Forward
It is evident that the Forum has set a splendid example for all such groups who are currently working in the same capacity, asÂ how to motivate people with the spirit of serving others especially the less fortunate, so that a cohesive and progressive society can come into being. It has shown that by simply making a commitment of doing something positive and then acting upon it, makes all the difference!
Would like to play a part in making Pakistan a better place to live in? Then join today! Just log on to www.thinkersforumpakistan.org.