On August 9, 2013, Pakistani Senator Afrasiab Khattak spoke to RFE/RL journalists about the rocky transition to democracy in Pakistan, the progress made thus far, and the difficulties that still lie ahead.
Senator Khattak has a distinguished career spanning over four decades as a political activist and human rights campaigner, and is the chairman for the Senate's human rights committee. As the peace envoy for the provincial administration, Khattak played a leading role in responding to the complex problem of extremism in the provinces.
While speaking at RFE/RL, Khattak explained what he sees as the historical origins of contemporary sectarian violence in Pakistan, saying that the gradual shift in the Arab world from secular Arab nationalism to Islamic nationalism beginning after the 1967 Arab-Israeli War had a major impact on Pakistan.
Before entering politics, Khattak was imprisoned and lived in exile for years because of his opposition to military regimes and his campaigns for freedom and democracy. Now, as a senator, he serves the Kohat Division of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province of Pakistan.