Wednesday, December 9, 2015

URSP Student Zanib Cheema Researches Pakistani Response to the U.S. Use of Torture

The title of my project is, “The Pakistani Response to the U.S. use of Torture.” I initially was unsure of my role in this research, because my field of interest pertains to Medicine. When I had the opportunity to look more into the discussion behind the CIA torture report and the actions of the CIA I felt empowered to hold the CIA officials accountable that took part in the enhanced interrogation techniques. I have been fortunate to work with wonderful mentors and an awesome research team. The research team is based at Harvard Kennedy School. Although, I’m away from the rest of the researchers I know exactly what I’m doing. I have a mentor at Harvard and also one at Mason. They both have invested their time and efforts into helping me grow as an individual and moving on to bigger and better things. 

Through this research project I have learned that I genuinely enjoy conflict analysis. I have now decided to declare a minor in Conflict Analysis and Resolution. I’m unsure of wher my newfound passion will take me, but I’m glad to have learned about topics that gauge my interest.

On a weekly basis I am contacting representatives that know a lot about Pakistan and Pakistani-American relations. Part of this includes going to events where I can network or emailing key officials that can give more insight to the situation. There is also a survey that these participants can fill out so, that their responses can be recorded and analyzed. One thing that I have discovered this week is that Pakistan has always been an avid supporter of America. In fact post 9/11 they invested more into helping America in getting hold of those that were involved in the attack. Due to the amount of support present it’s unsure of if Pakistani officials knew about the torture within the CIA when it happened. 

Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a more interesting topic to work on with such amazing and dedicated colleagues.