Pakistan – Ensuring newly elected parliamentarians have the tools they need to promote democracy and human rights; the focus of a DRI event in Peshawar
For the first time in Pakistan’s history, nearly five million residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas were given citizenship rights, including the right to vote, when these areas were integrated to the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) last year. This was a major development for a region that had been governed under colonial legacy laws and mired in conflict for decades.
These new Members of the Provincial Assembly (MPAs) of KP have no experience in parliamentary work and no established practices in their areas. To help assess their needs and overcome these challenges, DRI organised an event in Peshawar on 28 August 2019 for twenty MPAs, including two women and one Christian member. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the provincial assembly also attended.
Clarification on the role of parliamentary committees, support in legislative work and the formation of a special committee on local reforms were some of the needs identified by the participants. Participants also noted the need for technical support in dealing with parliamentary business, particularly in prioritising democratic and human rights reforms. DRI will support these newly elected legislators, especially the nominated members of the human rights committee, by providing them with technical support and enabling them to uphold the agenda of human rights reforms in the province.
This event was part of the “Consolidating Democratic Stability in Pakistan” project funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, through which DRI helps strengthen human rights and local governance structures in Pakistan.