Pakistan civil society representatives visited Afghanistan as the continuation of the previous visit hosted in Islamabad. In April 2013 members of civil society of Afghanistan visited Pakistan 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. So that together they could learn from each other and work for better future relationships.The visit was organized by SPADO from Pakistan and Counterpartinternational from Afghanistan.
There are misconceptions and misperceptions from both parties and that these continue to fuel many of the problems that exist between the two countries. An awareness raising and trust building sessions were arranged is Islamabad to break the ice and to challenge some of these negative stereotypes. While in Kabul during the five days, interactive question and answer sessions and numerous workshops were arranged to further strengthen the ties and to break prejudices and stereotypes. Afghanistan parliamentarian and civil society activists were invited to express their personal experiences and explain the role of Afghanistan civil society and youth.Participant from both sides were able to discuss opportunities, challenges and strategies pertaining to youth participation in the peace and reconciliation process.
Afghan civil society specifically young people has been meaningfully engaged with formal and informal institutions including government, duty bearers, traditional and religious leaders with support and assistance of international community to effectively contribute to the decision making processes and hold power holders responsive and accountable towards citizen rights and demands. The main strategy enabled them to came through with was building solidarity and unity between people from community to national level throughout mobilisation and trust building approach.
Vibrant youth activists of Afghanistan are acting as facilitators of peace processes as they can play decisive role in conflict transformation and become peace ambassadors. They are trying to reduce the tensions between the people of the two countries. The new generation of both countries are reluctant to continue conflict. Youth activists agreed that this important meeting could be a step stone towards future cooperation between Pak-afghan youths and civil society.
The participants met with Afghan civil society groups, youth activists, think tanks, Afghan Parliamentarians, and other relevant bodies to discuss issues, challenges, and the opportunities to develop immediate and long term interventions for fostering greater civil society engagement in the peace building and reconciliation process.