Initiative Exchange Program of Afghan-Pak Civil Society Organizations
In order to enable civil society actors from Afghan-Pak to engage in dialogues on issues of mutual interest, including peace building, reconciliation and trust building; Counterpart’s I-PACS team organized an exchange visit on the month of May for Afghan youth civil society leaders to Pakistan and in continues to the Afghan side visit, last week a team of 16 Pakistani civil society delegates visited Afghanistan. During five-day visit participant from both side Af-Pak were able to discuss opportunities, challenges, and strategies pertaining to youth participation in the peace and reconciliation process. Identifying opportunities and developing strategies for supporting meaningful participation.
As a result of initial discussions it was quickly ascertained that there remains significant misconceptions from both parties and that these misconceptions continue to fuel many of the problems that exist between the two countries. Awareness raising and trust building sessions were arranged as an ice-breaking opportunity and to challenge some of these negative stereotypes. Throughout the five days, numerous workshops , interactive question and answer sessions and sight visit from civil society organization, Afghanistan parliamentarian and cultural events were facilitated, participants were invited to present their personal experiences and perception from role of civil society and youth through, interviews and talks via live programs on TVs and FM radios, during an interviews of Pakistani delegates with The Afghanistan express newspaper they mentioned their thoughts as follow :
“Sadaf Liaquat” delegate of Pakistan civil society activist mentioned her perception during weeklong exchange “Since Afghanistan and Pakistan shared good relationship in the past, unfortunately last two decades we are suffering from bad relationship because of the politics two nations have and suffer as we have similarities in our culture, religious and benefits from economic point both Pakistan and Afghanistan dependent on each other and these are the stepping stones again building and strengthening relationship.
And apart from this I can say media of both side has a tremendous job to do and will be resulted for trust building by tow nation.
She added this exposure gave me a lot of learning’s, the hospitality and they provided me a space to learn and interact the way I should and it was really nice, and looking forwards to coming back to Kabul, and the type of exposure with parliamentarian, youths and media it was tremendous and want this network should be strengthen in future and keeping in touch.
Hospitality and impression a foreigner is going to get is the intensity you get is hospitality and are very warm welcoming and not able to explain in words.
Another delegate “Saima Tufail” shared her perception and added “ interact with civil society activist and youths changed my perception as well people to people contact of civil society can bring a positive understanding between the nation and these exchange have good result for solving problems of extremism, terrorism, and also third factor involvement problems and the major problem I find out is trust deficit between both countries we try to overcome through civil society role, we have same religion, same culture if we couldn’t overcome to this deficit we can’t move or go forwards peace and stability and I am asking the two government authorities to stop the blame game for moving towards a brotherhood nations “
“Anikah Khan” said: We are deeply thankful to our afghan brothers and sisters for their heart touching hospitality and openness towards dialogue, may we attain eternal peace together. ( The Daily Afghanistan Express)