I am Ibrash Pasha and this page belongs to me. I live in Timergara Dir Lower, Pukhtunkhwa Province in the north-west of Pakistan. This is a border district. I an engaged in social development sector here, mainly work for female education. Beside this I am working for peace in this area. As there is unrest here, due to its political, social and geographic reasons. Millions of people displaced from here. Me too along with my family and friends suffered due this situation. I would like to develop this page, I’ll highlight my activities here.
Any comments, query and suggestion would be welcomed.
I born with the parents in a mountainous Dir district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, located on the north west of Pakistan, alongside Afghan border. My family is known for the social services rendered for the low income, poor and neglected people specially the women in Dir. Dir was an ex-princely state, which was recognized by British rule as a state, later on it was formally merged into Pakistan in 1969. This ex-princely Dir state is governed as part of Provincially Administered Tribal Area – PATA/ semi tribal territory under the special provision of the constitution of the country under article 246 and 247. During the ex-state times, there were no educational or health facilities for its citizens nor there were freedom of expression or democratic culture existed. The development indicators in the area are still very low specially, the education, literacy, health and other basic necessities.
Due to my family’s involvement in social development sector, I was engaged in different activities with them. I also choose to work for the development of my area and was involved in various voluntary services. In 1998, I formally joined girl’s education project of Khwendo Kor, an NGO working for women and children in the area. After a few years, I was selected for a higher position in the organization to manage that project. Later on, I was promoted to manage a region and I expanded the region both programmatic and geographic wise, to other districts and tribal agencies. In the programs, I designed and launched several projects on health, human and women rights, women economic empowerment, livelihood and relief and rehabilitation.
During the course of time, I got interested in policy advocacy work, which was very new concept in the whole area at that time. I was the founding member of the a national level Pakistan Coalition for Education- PCE and I was selected to perform the role of Provincial Coordinator of PCE in Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Province and Federally Administered Tribal Area- FATA. This gave me a very good insight to the policy issues, involvement of the stakeholders, influencing the policy processes and campaigning skills. This developed my passion for policy and governance related studies and I completed a post graduate course in Public Policy and Management- PPM as part time/ online student from the renowned; The University of York- UK.
My native/ working area being located on the Pak Afghan border was a hot spot during Soviet Afghan Jihad (holy war). Hundreds of Muslim religious madrassas (seminaries) were founded and supported by the foreign aid and local charity to help the jihad. Thousands of the local fighters joined the jihad and hundreds were killed. During this time in late 80’s a local cleric Sufi Mohammad demanded the Sharia/ Islamic Law in the Malakand division to replace the Provincially Administered Tribal Area- PATA regulation. In Feb 1990, Peshawar high court nullified the PATA regulation
In the 2008 general elections the secular and liberal forces came in power but at that time the situation was out of their control. At last the government released Sufi Mohammad from jail in 2008 and authorized him to make a deal with Taliban in Malakand region (Dir and Swat). The Nizam Adal Regulation 2009 was promulgated and a deal was made between the government and Taliban, while ignoring the main stakeholder, the citizens of the Malakand region. But soon Taliban refused to lay down the arms and continued blasting the girl’s schools and threatening and attacking the peace, human rights and workers of other social services. They banned music, hair dressers, stopped the women to move out of the homes. They started their own FM radios and preaching their version of Islam and threatening the people. They publically executed people and punished with lashes .Later on government started a military offensive in May 2009 in which more than 3 million people displaced.
During these times, I was also threatened severally, when I started work on mobilizing and sensitizing against the blasting of the girls schools and banning the girls education. Being the provincial coordinator PCE, I diverted the media and civil society attention to these important issues and arranged a high level provincial seminar in Peshawar in August 2008. This seminar was attended by the girls students from Swat, Dir, the teachers, the private school owners and various political parties representatives.
In April 2009, I along with my family was displaced to Mardan district for 7 months. During that time I worked for the other displaced persons and managed various projects like food and non food aid, medical facilitation and running of hospitals. At that time I realized the importance of peace. I along with some other like minded people initiated a national level Pakistan Peace and Solidarity Council and I was selected as Secretary of this organization. We hold various activities under its banner and mobilized the youth and common people to know the importance of peace, democratic values, pluralism and freedom of expression. After our return to Dir in October 2009, I started implementing a project on the title ‘Girls Back to School in Conflict Areas’ in which we brought back 3500 girls of the 10 destroyed schools. We also provided psycho social support to teachers and students. We educated the students to keep an eye on their environment and showed them the pictures of various kinds of unexploded ordinance- UXOs. If they find any suspicious thing or toy keep themselves and others away and inform the relevant authorities.
After passing through the conflict and violent situation from the past several years, I got interested to learn further analyzing the conflict and violence. I am sure after completing the study on Violence, Conflict and development, I’ll be able to work for the betterment of the violence and conflict affected areas locally and globally. This will help me in understanding and analyzing the causes of conflicts, its impacts on the population and mitigating the bad affects of the violence and conflict by designing and strategizing the interventions for the vulnerable segments in the conflict areas. The interaction with other peer students of the conflict areas will further broaden the understanding of the situation and the effects on people and their engagements. I shall continue to work for the human rights and rule of law in my area and in the similar other areas where needed. My expertise in policy advocacy will help me in sensitizing the policy makers to adopt pro people, pro poor and inclusive policies by involving broad range of people for promotion of peace and engage the youth and women in peace building process.
During the course of time I started writing articles in English daily on educational and peace issues. I got lot of encouragement from the people and these articles are shared widely on the social media as well. I have participated in various national and international forums related to education and peace. My services are being recognized by the community, civil society and different organizations. I have been given the following awards/ recognitions due to my efforts in social and voluntary sector for the betterment of mankind.
• I was selected best team member of the organization by Khwendo Kor.
• In 2009, given award by Khwendo Kor for my decade longstanding efforts for the women, children and human rights.
• Awarded with a Certificate of Merit in July 2006 by Aurat Publication and Information Services Foundation (Aurat Foundation- AF) for my active participation towards 2005 citizen movement for women’s leadership in local government.
• Awarded for my performance in the ‘Girls Back to School Project in Conflict areas’ by the Gender Justice and Protection Project/ UNDP 2012.
• Working as focal point for the Dir Rights Protection Committee a network of the civil society in Dir and address the human rights issues in the district.
• Member of the People’s Rights Network- PRN an active network of the rights based, civil society organization and individuals in Dir.
• Nominated as Co-Lead of the District Protect Working Group (DPWG) Dir lower working with the Protection Clusters established after the operation in the area to assist the district government in protection related issues.
• Member of the renowned Human Rights Commission of Pakistan –HRCP.
• Member of the Interagency Network for Education in Emergency – INEE and often host meet up events in my areas.
• Member Global Coalition to Protect Education from Attack – GCPEA.
• Member of the Committee ‘Hurmat’ to develop the guidelines for the Protection of Dignity and Rights of the Survivor of Violence.
• Member of the District Voters Education Committee nominated by the Election Commission of Pakistan for 2013 General Elections.
• Selected as Development Reporter from Pakistan for the Global South Development Magazine.