Perception survey on reconciliation in Malakand Division

Perception survey on reconciliation in Malakand Division

Publication details

  • Monday | 14 Apr, 2014
  • Mome Saleem, Safyan Kakakhel
  • Research Reports,Project Publications
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Executive Summary:

Perception survey on reconciliation in Malakand Division was conducted in March and April 2012 by the SDPI in collaboration with the UNDP. The survey was conducted in 06 districts of Malakand Division including; Buner, Malakand, Lower Dir, Shangla, Swat and Upper Dir.

The survey was aimed at providing data analysis, impacts and perception about reconciliation among the indigenous population of Malakand Division. The objective of the survey is to inform and support development agencies, government and other stakeholders to develop and implement informed programme in the areas focusing around reconstruction, conflict prevention and building sustainable peace. The methodology of the survey included both quantitative and qualitative tools; 2000 households' survey and 180 key informant interviews. Instruments for the survey were developed through rigorous consultation with the concerned stakeholders including academia, civil society, district government officials, NGOs/INGOs representatives, religious leaders etc. The survey report comprises of four chapters that encompasses background and methodology, literature review, findings from the field, analysis and recommendations. 

The second chapter presents a review of the existing literature on conflict, peace building, reconciliation and short history of Swat; specifically focusing on Malakand region in context of the recent conflict. The chapter sets a tone to understand the nature and dynamics of the conflict. In the light of different scholars and sociologists, class and social discriminations are the basic under lying factor behind the conflict within a society. Moreover, scholars also believe that religion plays a significant role in bringing about a conflict; where a group fight with the state over establishing specific religious traditions and rule in the state. The reasons for conflict in Swat also revolved around the same concepts where social disparities increased after the merger of princely state into Pakistan; hence giving conducive environment to the external forces to fulfill their interest. Religion was highlighted as the key objective of the conflict by the militants who later resorted to looting and killing of innocent people and spread terror in the society.  

The third chapter focuses on the findings of the field survey.  It explores the local understanding and perception of the people regarding the underlying reasons of the militant conflict, impacts that conflict has generated and the perception about reconciliation and sustainable peace within the society. It further understands the local dynamics of conflict gauged through the field assessment and tools that will help building peace in a social setting. The findings from the field illustrate that the external forces were able to exploit the already unstable socioeconomic state of the people of Malakand Division. Female and poor were denied the right to quality education. Moreover, the low level of education and understanding of religious dynamics led to flourishing of several fundamentalist ideologies. The quality of health suffered due to  lack of staff in the public hospitals; such as doctors and lady doctors for women. Justice was expensive, prolonged, and unreliable due to corruption; where rich and powerful influenced the decision. Traditional Justice System such as Jirga was prevalent in the area where women did not get enough representation. Reconciliation is perceived to be arbitration among the two groups, however in case of Malakand Division the counter party for reconciliation is missing as the insurgents were not native and the land of Malakand was used to fulfill their interest and the interest of those who backed them. However, to reduce the vulnerability of people and to sustain peace in the region, respondents indicated the dire need to address the socio- economic problems of people who were suffering before the conflict and bore the aftermath of the conflict.  Poverty alleviation and access to speedy justice were some of the main issues highlighted by the respondents in all districts. 

The final Chapter deals with the analysis of the findings; hence indicating how the conflict arose and led to a volatile situation. Now that the conflict has transformed, there is a need to address the issues that can lead to future conflict. This chapter recommends the programme and those involved in the reconstruction, rehabilitation and reconciliation in the region to address issues pertaining to social disparities. These included ethnic and class differences, improving quality of education and health, provision of livelihood patterns especially for youth and women, giving rights to the marginalized such as women, social, economic and political justice, individual and social security for all, awareness raising about religion and ethical values, and giving opportunities to the youth for constructive use of their strengths.