The SEPLAA (Seeds of Education, Policy & Legal Awareness Association) Foundation CEO Mrs. Ammara Farooq Malik presented her paper on ‘Challenges to Promoting Peace building through the Development of Social Enterprises: A comparative study of Pakistan and Sri Lanka’, at the National Conference on Challenges of Peace Building in South Asia, held at the Punjab University.
The conference brought together scholars, researchers and analysts from all over Pakistan. Several key issues were highlighted as the challenges to sustained regional peace in South Asia.
Ms. Malik spoke about the correlation of sustaining the economy with strategies affecting regional politics of peace and vice versa. She spoke about the project that the SEPLAA Foundation conducted in South Punjab on promoting peace through the development of social enterprises and discussed the causes of the challenges faced there.
She also compared the challenges with those faced by organizations doing similar work in Sri Lanka. On a comparative note, it is difficult to sustain a model that begins its footing on development funds. Regional models of peace should therefore focus on developing social enterprises that create self sustained youth entrepreneurs. Lack of funding to start a social enterprise is however the parallel challenge to developing one with the objective to build regional peace.
To a question on why NGOs should be supported when it seems that they have failed, Ms. Malik responded that there are several kinds of organizations that are working in the social sector and not all have failed. Some work as social enterprises but are still registered legally as NGOs as there is no specific law to regulate these entities in Pakistan.
This conference session was conducted by Dr. Rana Ejaz Ahmad and other speakers included Dr. Rasheed Ahmad Khan, Dean Social Sciences , Sargodha University who spoke about ‘Pakistan India Peace Process: Some Lessons for future prospects.’; Prof. Dr. Nazir Hussain from the Department of International Relations, Quaid-e- Azam University who spoke about ‘Terrorism as an obstacle in Peace and Development in South Asia’; Dr. Saif ur Rehmad Malik from National Defence University Islamabad who spoke on ‘Rising Indian Extremism: A threat to peace and security in South Asia’; Dr. Hussain Shaheed Soharwardi from the University of Peshawar who spoke on ‘The US Engagement of India: Lessons for Pakistan’ and Dr. Rehana Saeed Hashmi from the University of Punjab who read her paper on ‘Pakistan- India Economic Ties: A way forward for Peace Building’.
The conference was an excellent effort by Dr. Umbreen Javed, Chairperson Department of Political Science and her team at engaging the students, faculty and visitors in a day of analysis, introspection and sharing of new ideas relating to building peace in South Asia.