State–citizen relations in Pakistan

Last month International Alert organised a series of training workshops for members of the formal justice and security sectors in Jacobabad and Kashmore districts in Sindh province, Pakistan, to strengthen their knowledge of the key fundamentals of human rights, the rule of law and conflict-sensitivity.

The training was based on a recent ‘peace effectiveness review’ commissioned by Alert, which looked at the effectiveness of security and justice services in the two districts. The review revealed gaps in both the delivery and degree of access of the services in Jacobabad and Kashmore.

Based on the findings of this review, training workshops were developed to help improve the skills and training capacities of the formal justice and security sectors on important issues such as the protection of victims, the rights of suspects, the current circumstances that are limiting human rights and the legality of these, and conflict analysis and conflict-sensitive decision-making.

Participants engaged in various group activities on topics including public grievances against the police, rights of victims and suspects, and interpersonal and intergroup conflicts. In the group activity on interpersonal and intergroup conflicts, participants were divided into groups and asked to think of examples of both types of conflicts and build scenarios on how the conflict could escalate into violence, and then how it could be managed peacefully.

The participants, which included officers from the police, judiciary and prosecution departments, were enthusiastic about sharing their professional experiences with each other around these issues and learning about how they could do things differently in future.

Based on both the findings of the peace effectiveness review and the learning outcomes from the trainings, Alert then developed a ‘conflict-sensitive value framework’ for both districts, to explore new ways that the formal justice and security sectors could increase their efficiency and improve the rule of law in the two districts.

The frameworks will also help us hone our own work, which ultimately aims to build healthy state–citizen relations around formal justice and security systems in Sindh province, and in doing so strengthen peace in the region.

This work is part of Alert’s project on strengthening the role of the business sector in supporting the conflict-sensitive social integration of migrant communities in Pakistan, with a particular focus on access to security and justice, which is funded by Development Alternatives Incorporated’s (DAI) Enhanced Democratic Accountability and Civic Engagement (EDACE) project.

You can find out more about our work in Pakistan here.