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paxUnited Mediation Techniques Used to Solve Problems in Dangerous Pakistan Region  

Tuesday, July 5, 2011 11:24:55 AM

By Matt Kennedy
Research & Grants Specialist

He left Pakistan with great apprehension. He arrived in America just five days after the death of Osama Bin Laden, a story that captured the world’s attention. He expected to be greeted with a wave of hostility because Pakistan was suspected of providing safe harbor to the Al Qaeda terrorist leader. Instead, Rasheed Ahmad Mohmad, a human rights lawyer from Peshwar, Pakistan, said he and his human rights protection team were greeted by great hospitality. 

paxUnited had the honor of visiting with Mohmad’s group, the Tribal Reforms and Development Organization (TRDO), upon their arrival in Dallas. This was one of several events that paxUnited has assisted in at the request of the U.S. State Department. In addition to treating TRDO graciously and making them feel welcome, our mission was simple, to teach them conflict resolution techniques that have a universal language and know no border.

paxUnited has always believed that the power of mediation is so strong that it can be used to fix problems anywhere, at any time. That belief came to fruition soon after Mohmad’s return to Pakistan. He relied on the power of mediation to reach peaceful settlements on longstanding property disputes between two warring tribes in a remote “frontier” region of Pakistan called FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Area), which is located along the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.

Mohmad described the FATA region as dangerous. He said it is one of the most neglected and backwards areas in all of Pakistan and is directly affected by the war in Afghanistan. FATA is remote but it is quite populous with a population of over 3.5 million people. The region is governed by a dictator-like leader called a “Political Agent.”

“People’s fundamental rights are not protected and there is no concept of the separation of power,” Mohmad said.

In order to settle the tribal property disputes, Mohmad used lessons paxUnited taught him. He said he didn’t impose his will on the disputants and merely acted as a facilitator to let the disputants come to an agreement themselves in a “friendly environment.”

Mohmad was excited about the agreement, but he realizes there is more work to be done. He said that people like him that work towards reform in the FATA region are subject to the constant danger of being kidnapped, tortured, or killed.

“I hope that one day we will be able to get rid of menaces like militancy and terrorism which have taken the precious lives of our fiends, elders, relatives and native towns,” Mohmad said.

While concerned about continued violence in the FATA region, paxUnited is excited about progress that came through mediation and share Mohmad’s hope for continued collaboration between our organizations. As tensions continue to build between the governments of Pakistan and the United States, we hope that mediation will continue to be considered as a solution to lasting peace.


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