Disputes around land/water in newly merged districts, mediation on conflict resolution on land and water
issues, learning from land and water diplomacy projects, promoting Peace through better resource
governance, and culture as a soft tool for promoting sustainable peace.
Islamabad, March 21, 2023, Helvetas Pakistan in collaboration with FRD hosted/organized the Youth &
Mediators Convention under the LAND AND WATER Diplomacy (LWD) PROJECT at Marriott Hotel
The Land and Water Diplomacy (LWD) project was Funded by The European Union and successfully
implemented by Helvetas Pakistan and FRD in four merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa including
Bajaur, Mohmand, Khyber, and Kurram with a particular focus on Social cohesion for peace and stability in
tribal communities of Newly Merged Districts (Ex-FATA) strengthened through the engagement of local
authorities and CSOs in confidence-building measures and dialogue around land and water.
At the youth convention, around 160 participants gathered from different backgrounds including
government officials, diplomats, development sector professionals, beneficiaries, and other stakeholders.
At the beginning of the convention, the country director of Helvetas Pakistan Dr. Arjumand Nizamani shared
her views about the purpose of the Youth & Mediators Convention and the learning from the LWD Project.
She said, “LWD project was a unique approach to resolve land and water disputes among communities.
Under the LWD project, we have trained 100 mediators including 80 men and 20 women in which most of
the mediators are young and are playing an active role in creating social harmony. I am hopeful these
mediators will play an active role in resolving disputes through an alternative resolution to maintain peace in
society. I believe that alternative dispute resolution is the fastest justice system. Alternate dispute resolution
is not only applicable in the merged districts of KP, but it is also applicable all over Pakistan and the world
to ensure the fastest justice.”
A project documentary was screened by Irshad Ali, Samira Qazi, Dr. M Asad Salim, and Owais K. Khattak
which showed that the LWD project impacted 25,922 people’s lives including 8,018 women, 17,674 men
and 230 Persons with Disability (PWDs).
Furthermore, different seminars, training, sports and cultural events, and stakeholder dialogue were
conducted under the Land & Water Diplomacy project to enhance the capacity of CSOs and local leaders in
the mediation of land and water resources-based issues.
Ex-Deputy Commissioner Kurram Wasil Khan Khattak said that with the help of Helvetas Pakistan, we
resolved many disputes in the Kurram districts.
The Alternate Dispute Resolution System can resolve complex community disputes to sustain peace and
development in a society; however, it needs to be improved in many aspects to make it more pragmatic and
Helvetas assisted us in the district of Kurram where they trained mediators and ensured the participation of
all stakeholders to resolve disputes regarding our Land and Water.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s first woman provincial ombudsperson Ms. Rukhshanda Naz highlights that
“Feudalism is not just limited to rural or tribal areas. It is rather the name of a certain mentality that is not
limited by geography. A feudal mindset can be found in cities like Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi too. The
important thing is how you control and manage the power dynamics that are typical of a patriarchal society
and how you decide the code of conduct for people that is reflected in their behavior”.
Dr. Jawad deputy director Helvetas Pakistan said that the Land & Water Diplomacy project addressed many
issues through alternative dispute resolution as Pakistan has an agriculture-based economy; so, it is essential
to resolve land and water disputes immediately to avoid the escalation of issues into violent conflicts.
Adil Saeed Safi, Director General Sustainable Development Unit Planning & Development Department
(SDU P&DD) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said, “What I liked most about the LWD Project is that they have filled
the governance gap which arises due to failed service delivery. This gap expands with time if the
government does not cope with it and gives birth to disputes.”
Project Coordinator Mr. Munawar K. Khattak highlighted the challenges of LWD. He said, “When we talk
about newly merged districts, one of the major challenges is security issues. In this context, implementing
projects by involving soft components like capacity building, peace promotion, etc. instead of hard
elements like physical schemes, are also a challenge. Considering all these challenges, we
implemented a water diplomacy project under the financial support of the EU Fund in the merged Districts
of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over the past 3 years.
Project Manager FRD Mr. Faheem Khan shared the key achievements of the LWD project. He said, “This
the project plays a key role in bringing people together to resolve disputes around water and land to sustain
peace in the society.”
A youth Mediator and Journalist from Distract Khurram, Fatima, said, “Women can play a crucial role in
conflict resolution. They can play their role as mediators in family and neighborhood. In the past when the
elders were building homes they were supposed to fix three hooks in the wall. One for the gun, 2
and for the lamp (laltain), and the third for the turban (Pagri). Now, this mindset has been changed with the help of
women. Women are pushing their men to educate their children they are forcing their men to avoid guns and
violence to live a peaceful and prosperous life. So the number of hooks has been reduced to two i.e. one for
the lamp and the other for the turban”.
A woman mediator from the Christian community shared her views about the beauty of the diversity of
Parachinar. She said, “We are living together with the Muslim community sharing different cultural values,
practicing separate religions but celebrating our festivals together. We the women are committed to resolving
our community issues to sustain peace in our society.”
Ghazal Mohmand, mediator and a representative of Mohmand Adabi Tolana said, “Literature has always
played an essential role in promoting peace and development. The LWD project provided our local
community with an opportunity to organize literary events which were really helpful in resolving conflicts
and strengthening social cohesion”.
He shared his views on peace and war in his poetry like this:
جنګ د بال اوخوري او اور د په ټوپک اولګي۔
صلح د ناوي شي پر مخ د ورته چک اولګي۔
“Curse on war the gun should be set on fire; And peace should be loved as a new pretty bride”.
څنګ به د ناپوهه پښتنو میاندې هوښیارې کړم
“I always desired if could convert all pickets on these hills into schools, and inspire Pashtun mothers to send
their children to those schools.”
Sajid Khan Youth Mediator from District Khyber reflected, “Through sports, people from various
communities meet each other and take part in activities which can lead to the breakdown of different
stereotypes. People understand each other when they partake in activities that can play a vital role in
building peace. We utterly need a lot of such activities in merged areas as such activities can bring out
talents from such regions.”
The closing segment of the convention was about promoting peace through culture in which local musicians
from Parachinar entertained participants with musical performances. The speakers summarized, “Music
connects communities and cultures. We believe that music is a soft tool for promoting peace in society.”