LAHORE: The Seeds of Peace-Pakistan will be organising a mock Afghan parliament, the second to be conducted in Lahore by the organisation, in the last week of November at Forman Christian College.
Seeds of Peace, an international youth based organisation established in 1993, aims to empower young individuals from conflict areas to help bridge differences. Aiming to create a better understanding amongst the youth to work towards ‘co-existence’ and ‘reconciliation’, the organisation was the brainchild of American journalist John Wallach. The first such programme involved about 50 young participants from the Arab-Israel conflict zone who were invited to the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine, USA.
Fahad Ali Kazmi, the joint secretary of Seeds of Peace-Pakistan, said the basic aim here is to incorporate the voice of youth in conflict areas. “We started the mock parliament last year to sensitise youth in conflict areas to help appreciate the counter narratives of global issues,” said Kazmi, who ‘graduated’ from an international camp in 2002 and returned to Pakistan as a ‘Pakistani Seed’.
Seeds of Peace came to Lahore in 2001, the same year it opened its offices in Mumbai and the next year in Kabul. Every year 10 to 12 young individuals from Pakistan and India are invited to the United States for the 250-day camp where they interact with youth from across the world.
Seeds of Peace-Pakistan’s first mock parliament session was held last year, aiming to acquaint the youth in conflict areas of India and Pakistan with a political understanding of issues on both sides. Last year, a mock Indian parliament was held in Pakistan by the Seeds of Peace-Pakistan and a similar event was held in India whereby Indian Seeds engaged in a mock Pakistani parliament. The concept, said Kazmi, is to eradicate prejudice and build bridges to better understand one another.
This year, Seeds of Peace-Pakistan will organise a Mock Afghan Parliament, whereby Pakistani youths will be educated about the workings of the Afghan parliament and also assigned roles and positions to take. “With Afghanistan and Pakistan engaged in a political conflict, we thought of engaging Pakistani youth in understanding the Afghan perspective,” Kazmi said.
Teams from across Lahore will participate in the event. Between 25 and 30 young people from different schools across Lahore including Beaconhouse School System, Divisional Public School, Lahore Grammar School and Crescent Model High School are participating in the event.
A workshop will be conducted by the Seeds of Peace-Pakistan on November 20 to educate the participating youth about the Afghan constitution and the dynamics of the Afghan parliament.
“The Pakistani Seeds are working in close collaboration with their Afghan counterparts to understand the political dynamics of the Afghan parliament,” said Kazmi while talking about the workshop which precedes the mock parliament that is to be held later in the month. At the end of the workshop a three-day mock parliamentary session will be convened for which three to four major areas of debate will be identified and a sample Afghan parliament formulated. The three-day mock parliamentary session will end on November 27.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 11th, 2011.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misspelt Forman Christian College. The correction has been made.