CPEC Awareness Campaign
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) is one of the deprived provinces of Pakistan. The activists of this province worked in many movements and campaigns for the betterment of their people but face challenges due to lack of education and awareness in the public. The activists lack support because people don’t have the idea that campaigns are working for their rights. Some activists in KP founded Pakhtunkhwa Ulasi Tehreek (Pakhtunkhwa People’s Movement). In February 2015 they started a movement on China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which was previously planned to pass through the western part of Pakistan. For long this part has been a conflict zone and the people made great sacrifices for the peace of the region. The campaign advocated to include the western part in CPEC, and to be developed as in other parts of the country.
The campaigners realized that the people of KP are unaware of the project and potential benefits. Promoting this was given to the youth of the movement, led by Tariq Afghan.
To make the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA aware of the importance of the CPEC Project.
To convince the parliamentarians and legislators of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Fata to raise their voice in the legislative sphere and do their part for deprived people of this province.
To play the role of watch dog on the progress of the project and its components.
To engage with, motivate and mobilize the youth about their role in this campaign, as responsible citizens and future leaders.
To raise the issue to take it from grassroots to national level, for justice and to ensure an equal share in the project.
HOW THE OBJECTIVES WERE ACHIEVED
The awareness campaign for the people was done in more than 10 big districts of KP & Fata, e:g Peshawar, Mardan, Swabi, Charsadda, Dargai, DI Khan, Noshehra, Lakki Marwat, Mohmand Agency, Swat and in Quetta, Zhobb and Drazanda. After having sessions with High Courts, bar associations and parliamentarians, the Provincial Assembly of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa passed three unanimous resolutions in favor of the western route of the corridor and supported the campaign at the national level. As a watch dog this campaign, time and again, did research, published pamphlets and updated their data on the progress of the project.
70% of the population of this province comprises of youth and after having sessions and meeting in educational institutions, most of the youth took part in all the events, such as demonstrations, press conferences, seminars/ presentations and distribution of pamphlets and awareness programs on street level. Now National Assembly formed a committee to find out the consensus.
This campaign has an innovative approach as Tariq and his team uses all the possible ways to make this campaign more effective and results-oriented.
Use of social media, Facebook, and Twitter to reached a bigger chunk of the people.
General discussions with people in their community fora like Hujras and Betaks (a community common room).
Multimedia presentations for parliamentarians, lawyers, traders and students.
Pamphlets are in three languages for officials in English, for students in Urdu and in Pashto for common people. So from an academic approach with research to a published pamphlet in local languages and the use of social media, this campaign is a complete package of an awareness program on the issue.
The impact of the campaign is visible now as the issue was raised in small groups at grassroots level and from there it moved to the big cities and districts. The campaign worked and journalists wrote articles and parliamentarians asked campaigners to present to their colleagues. After being convinced they passed three unanimous resolutions on the issue in the assembly. The Chief Minister took an interest and asked for a detailed briefing and due to his involvement the media took it as important issue and raised questions on the project’s progress from the federal government. The federal government then formed a Parliamentary committee to look into the issue. It's an important issue since in Pakistan the big provinces get everything and the small provinces face difficulty in receiving their share in developmental projects.
The campaign itself is a challenge as we are fighting for the rights of those who are not even aware of their rights. These people were always kept ignorant regarding their rights and possibilities of getting their share of the developmental projects.
Another important challenge is that this campaign is not funded but we use money out of our own pockets and collected money for travelling and publishing of leaflets and doing research.
Another important issue here in Pakistan is that when one starts advocating for rights, especially for the smaller provinces, the people in the federal government start calling the activists traitors and agents. Tariq and his team is well aware of the fact and know about this but still they are hopeful that with a positive campaign they can add more people and can make it more effective. The power of the common man can't be underestimated.
Tariq and his team realized as campaigners of the movement that awareness can't be done with one method or medium. So they used different media, including social media, community outlets, lawyers' chambers, and assemblies.
Campaigns require hard work plus strong commitment. When you want great change you have to start it from grassroots level and include all stakeholders without discriminating on the basis of caste, creed, color, or religion, so all can get involved in your campaign. Communication skills and patience are other important aspects of an effective campaign.