Ambitious proposal: Plans for peace building institute in K-P hit a snag

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A proposal for the establishment of the Institute of Peace and Conflict Management (IPCOM) in Peshawar could not materialise due to the bureaucratic hurdles and lack of will on part of the provincial government.

The scheme was taken up by the provincial government, which had termed it an ‘excellent idea’, in July 2009 to deal with issues of peace and conflict in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. However, the scheme is yet to be implemented despite the passage of over three years.

The Centre for Public Policy Research (CPPR), a partner of USAID and UNDP, has been facilitating the provincial government in designing the institute as a centre for higher learning and research on peace building and conflict resolution in the region.

A senior official of the provincial government refuted the notion that lack of will on the part of the government was key cause of the delay. He said that the plan had been approved by the provincial cabinet in May 2012 and is still on the cards. However, he admitted that it would take more time for the implementation of the scheme due to the procedural intricacies.

The proposal was aimed at establishing a new educational and research organisation to overcome unrest in the province and adjoining tribal belt.

“The idea was to educate university level students, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Fata and to counter the increasing trend of terrorism and violence with peaceful methods and without force,” an official familiar with the plan said .

The provincial cabinet, while approving the proposal, decided that the IPCOM should be introduced either as an optional subject in the Peshawar University or in any other university as a separate subject.

A huge piece of land was also allotted for the establishment of the institute in Hayatabad and was to be called the Peace Zone. It was also decided that funds for the academic and research would be obtained from national and international donors.

The scheme was included in the Provincial Annual Development Programme in 2009-10. A committee, constituted by the cabinet, had made its recommendations for the implementation of the scheme.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 23rd, 2013.