The leaves streamed down, trembling in the Sun, they were not green; only a few, scattered through the torrent, stood out in single drops of a green so bright and pure that it hurt the eyes; the rest were not a colour, but a light, the substance of fire on metal, living sparks without edges.
Ayn Rand - The Fountainhead (1943)
My name is Ali Arsalan Pasha, I run The Oxford Atlas political consultancy and the Hey Lets Talk YouTube channel.
My work involves using data analytics to advise on political risk, particularly in South Asia. I have worked in public policy since 2012 and political risk since 2016, consulting for the governments of Pakistan, Turkey and UK. I also appear on ARY News UK to comment on Pakistan's Foreign Policy and write for the Express Tribune in Pakistan.
I graduated from Wolfson College, Oxford as a COSARAF scholar and researched on the politics surrounding Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons program. Previously, I have conducted a comparative political analysis of Islamabad and New Delhi as an ODTU Dean's Scholar. Alongside working with the public sector, I have also researched at the IISS
in London and been appointed strategic commentator for ARCHPRESS PK and STRAFASIA.
RESEARCHER - OXFORD INTERNET INSTITUTE
• As part of the research team for the Alternative News Networks project we advised the UK Home Office on communication strategy and identifying legislative champions for an up–to–date public affairs landscape.
• Using Python Slack Bot to utilise a web scraping architecture, we ran web–spidering scripts to produce a daily data aggregate according to audience engagement metrics, further refined through contextually–informed data wrangling.
• Employed data intelligence strategies on social media platforms and discourse analysis of current affairs to produce indepth analysis of narratives produced by media outlets in the UK South Asian diaspora community.
September 2019 - November 2019
POLICY RESEARCHER - INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR STRAGEGIC STUDIES
• Conducted indepth review of security conditions and FATF regulations to assist the Senior Fellow in advising Exxon and Energas negotiating with Tabeer Energy in Pakistan on $2 billion north–south gas pipeline investment
• Assisted in modelling threats and vulnerabilities in planning strategies for Pakistan’s 2025 vision, particularly in project efficacy, budget review and land–use allocation on Saudi Aramco’s $10 billion petrochemical complex in Gwadar.
• Prepared a detailed report on Pakistan’s efforts to improve transparency, preventive measures, anti–money laundering and counterterrorism policies to counter the FATF grey list placement and new bilateral struggles in Kashmir.
DIRECTOR - THE OXFORD ATLAS
Since Summer 2019 we have provided expertise on topics pertaining to political risk and national security. We are now stepping into the public policy framework and focusing on domestic politics, drawing from experience in strategic planning, research analysis and policy design to advise on local and international political affairs.
September 2018 - September 2019
FOREIGN POLICY ANALYST - ARCHPRESS PK
• Interviewed policy entrepreneurs and domain experts in the formulation stream of the policy window, evaluating compliance due diligence on their choice of policy instruments in the purview of agenda setting and influencing legislation regarding bilateral relations between Pakistan and the UK.
• Engaged in Track 1.5 Diplomacy regarding Pakistan’s Pulwama–Balakot security strategy, with governmental officials from India, USA, China and the UK, to promote global governance concepts and build confidence in Pakistan’s capacity • to receive aid and foreign direct investment.
• Appeared on UK–based Pakistani and Indian news channels to assess white paper advocating for security conditions in Kashmir, alongside publicly supporting Deputy Mayor of Oxford to raise awareness about Kashmir solidarity.
March 2017 - September 2018
PUBLIC POLICY ANALYST - ARCHPRESS PK
• Critically analysed Public Sector Development Programme’s $4.7 Billion Federal Budget by reviewing Weekly Status of Releases Public Notices in the purview of integrated energy, modernised infrastructure and private sector growth as sections of development policy for Vision 2025.
• Conducted efficacy program evaluation of $320 million Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan developed between City District Government Lahore and ISTAC and the decision to outsource it to Albayrak and Ozpak.
• Publicly advocated for transparency between special interest groups and policymakers with regards to indicative budget ceilings, especially in the scope of $310 million Islamabad Metrobus project and $2.4 billion budget for CPEC Power Sector and Gas Infrastructure Development Fund.
February 2016 - February 2017
POLICY CONSULTANT - TURKISH MINISTRY OF SCIENCE, INDUSTRY AND TECHNOLOGY
• Appointed as a projects consultant, I employed my training in urban planning to provide strategic end–to–end support to civil servants from the Ministry of Science in refining budget targets, conducting risk assessment and prioritising projects for detailed optimisation, leading to reduced capital expenditures by 11% for two healthcare projects in Ankara.
• Prepared compliance recommendations for officials from the Ministry’s EU and Foreign Affairs General Directorate, helping establish commissions and working groups on allocating $152 million budget for Ankara–Istanbul HSR.
• Analysed transport infrastructure subsectors and geographies of interest for the Minister of Transport, helping spearhead $1.2 billion Ankara–Sivas–Erzincan HSR project as part of Turkey Wealth Fund Strategic Investment Plan.
• Presented clear project–value proposition to advise commercial offices of VOITH–Turbo and Andritz–Hydro in developing bespoke project finance solutions and facilitating Integrated Project Delivery in the transport sector.
February 2014 - February 2016
GRADUATE RESEARCHER - MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY
• I assisted Turkey’s leading urban expert in preparing a comprehensive report on Ankara’s National Infrastructure Delivery Plan, using advanced analytics to identify CP&I requirements in Transport and Energy projects.
• Drafted white paper challenging the municipality encroaching Ankara’s green footprint and applied consensus–based strategies to propose improved sustainability and environmental performance on $3 billion infrastructure projects.
• Conducted data analysis and projection models to propose evidence–based legislation leading to a 13% reduction of overall carbon footprint to the mayor’s office for formulating regulatory policies by reallocating land–use attributes.
November 2012 - February 2014
URBAN PLANNER - GOVERNMENT OF PAKISTAN
• Assisted the General Manager of Planning in reviewing monthly tender notices and in developing forward–looking risk management strategies in feasibility and concept stages to produce risk informed front–end planning for PPP projects.
• Worked on Islamabad High Court and Islamabad Model Prison projects as part of the capital’s 2025 Vision, conducting land–use studies to aggregate risk indicators for National Infrastructure Assessment in housing and transport sectors.
• Reviewed Annual Procurement Plan and Annual Fiscal Budget put out by the Capital Development Authority and assisted in introducing risk management tools across value chain to implement a risk–profile framework.
September 2018 - September 2019
MODERN SOUTH ASIAN STUDIES - UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD
My dissertation studied the Politics surrounding Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons program, looking beyond defence arguments by highlighting ideational influences on foreign policy.
Activities and Societies: Speaker at The Oxford Union, Blavatnik School of Government and Said Business School. Vice President of The Oxford Guild, Treasurer of The Oxford Majlis Society, Communications Officer at The Oxford Forum, Associate Editor of The Mays Anthology and Elected Committee Member of Wolfson College.
October 2008 - February 2016
MASTERS OF ARCHITECTURE - MIDDLE EAST TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY
I completed my training in Part I and focused on politics, urban planning and digital modelling. During Part II, my research investigated the politics surrounding the masterplans of Islamabad and New Delhi, focusing on security strategy and urban segregation in a comparative analysis
Activities and Societies: Distinction for Top Score in Part II, Housing Research Scholarship, Research Assistantship in AOC Arastirmalari project to protect Ataturk Forest Farm, Research Assistant in Faculty Archives, Dissertation nominated for Thesis Award. Research Assistant Kerkenes Eco Village, Elected Studio Representative, Co-founder Conversationalist Society, Dean's Honour Roll.
CORRESPONDENT - THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE
I leveraged my expertise at Oxford and experience in the public sector to comment on foreign policy decisions in Pakistan. I addressed topics of cross-border engagement with India in the wake of Kashmir's renewed status after the revocation of Article 370, the country's decisions of border closure during the Coronavirus epidemic and subsequent decisions regarding quarantine and trade.
COMMENTATOR - OXFORD POLITICAL REVIEW
I was offered the position to provide coverage of foreign affairs in South Asia, where I opined on Pakistan's position vis-a-vis India after the revoked status of Indian-Administered Kashmir. Moreover, I discussed the country's geopolitical agenda and the risks associated with foreign policy decisions made by Imran Khan's PTI government.
BOARD MEMBER - THE OXFORD GUILD
Being recruited by the largest and oldest business society in the UK and Europe, allowed me to be involved in arranging speaking events and conferences. The position required detailed engagement with media organisations, guest speakers and venue arrangements around the University of Oxford. I helped raise £30000 in sponsorship, Co-founded and Organised Fintech & Blockchain Conference and hosted talk by billionaire Bhavin Turakhia, was involved in organising the Annual Global Female Leadership Conference and was appointed in-charge of hosting and managing Elif Shafak's women in literature lecture at the event.
COMMENTATOR - STRAFASIA
I was appointed as a strategic commentator to opine on Pakistan's domestic and foreign policy. Judging India's actions in the wake of Pulwama and Balakot, followed by the revocation of Article 370, my commentary reviewed Pakistan's strategic options and foreign policy agenda. I also discussed Pakistan's geopolitical obstacles, the economic stakes held by China and the deteriorating relationship with the US.