Photo montage of scholars for the Oxford Pakistan Programme

The Oxford Pakistan Programme (OPP) has announced the recipients of its second year of graduate scholarship awards, with 8 of the 10 talented Pakistani-origin scholars to be based at LMH.

The OPP was founded three years ago by Pakistani academics and alumni of the University of Oxford, seeking to generate academic opportunities for talented Pakistani-origin students and to promote closer academic engagement between Oxford and Pakistan. The OPP aims to support individuals who can act as catalysts for positive change, set new standards in ethical leadership, and contribute meaningfully to Pakistan’s development.

In its second year of scholarship awards, the OPP is supporting scholars from a broad spectrum of academic domains, with subjects including: Mathematics, Education, Development Studies, Climate Change, Music, Chemical Biology, Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Statistics and Computer Science. Through the combined financial support of the OPP and its partners, the OPP’s scholars will receive more than £450,000 of scholarship funding this year.

Find out more about this year’s scholars below.

Wajeeha Amir: MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation

Wajeeha Amir, is a high-achiever from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), where she graduated with honours in Political Science and Public Policy on a full scholarship and remained consistently on the LUMS honour list. Wajeeha will study for an MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation, based at LMH, as the OPP’s Malala Yousafzai Scholar.

Amna Baig: Master of Public Policy (MPP)

Amna Baig will hold one of two joint scholarships awarded by OPP and the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford for the Master of Public Policy programme. Amna hails from Gilgit Baltistan, and was educated in Dera Ghazi Khan, South Punjab and at Federal Government College in Rawalpindi. Amna is a career law enforcement officer with the Police Service of Pakistan and has studied at public sector institutions throughout her academic career. Amna will join LMH for the duration of her studies.

Abrahim Shah: Master of Public Policy (MPP)

The second of two joint scholarships awarded by OPP and the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford for the Master of Public Policy programme has been awarded to Abrahim Shah, an early career civil servant who placed third across the country in the Pakistan Administrative Service’s competitive civil service exam in 2018. Before joining the civil service, he pursued a double major in Economics and History from Cornell University. Abrahim has, as a civil servant, worked in some of Pakistan’s most remote and disadvantaged areas including Khuzdar and Quetta in Balochistan, and Skardu in Gilgit Baltistan. He will be based at LMH during his time at Oxford.

Ahmed Salman: DPhil in Cybersecurity

Ahmed Salman, co-supported by OPP and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan, will conduct doctoral research on cybersecurity. He has worked in the public sector in Pakistan for several years in the field of communications and cybersecurity and as a communications specialist, participated in two disaster relief operations in Gilgit Baltistan.

Rabia Ali Khan: DPhil in Oncology

Rabia Ali Khan, a British Pakistani, is a public health professional and an Associate Director in the Oncology Outcomes research team at AstraZeneca. She will pursue her doctoral research in Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Statistics at Oxford, based at LMH.

Ahsan Mashhood: MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation

Ahsan Mashhood will read for a MSc in Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation. Ahsan graduated from Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in 2022 with a high distinction in Economics. He maintained the Chaudhry Nazar Muhammad Scholarship for Economics during his undergraduate years for consistently scoring in the top 1% of his class. Being raised by a single mother in Karachi, Ahsan has actively engaged at the Research Lab at the Legal Aid Society in Karachi.

Jabir Ali: DPhil in antimicrobial resistance

The 2023-24 class of OPP scholars also includes Jabir Ali, the son of a farmer from the village of Kundal Khokhran in southern Jhang, Punjab. He received his matriculation and intermediate (FSc Pre-Medical) from Government Higher Secondary School Garh Maharaja, and Layyah College of Science Layyah, respectively. Later, he went to the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad for his Bachelor of Science (Hons.) and Master of Philosophy degrees in Microbiology. He will be studying for a doctorate on Antimicrobial Resistance as the OPP’s Oxford Tareen Scholar (not based at LMH). 

In addition to the new scholars joining in the new academic year, the OPP will continue to support two scholars from the inaugural class: Usama Salamat (MSc in Development Studies) and Ajmal Mughal (DPhil in Music). 

Alongside its partnership with LMH, the OPP has also received support from: the Malala Fund, Kellogg College, Linacre College, the Blavatnik School of Government, the Commonwealth Scholarship Programme and the High Commission of Pakistan. Through the generosity of individual and institutional donors, the OPP is able to offer a range of scholarships for talented students of Pakistani origin.

While announcing this year’s awards, the OPP’s co-founders, Professor Adeel Malik, Dr Talha Jamal Pirzada and Mr Haroon Zaman, thanked the myriad supporters of the OPP’s graduate scholarship programme who, through their generous donations, have afforded a life-changing opportunity to talented young Pakistani-origin students. Commenting on the significance of the scheme, the OPP’s co-founders highlighted the need to support the aspirations of Pakistani youth who feel growingly marginalized due to a lack of opportunities and coherent long-term policies in Pakistan. They also emphasised the importance of investing in the aspirations of the British Pakistani community, which remains underrepresented and socioeconomically deprived.