Growing intolerance for diversity and limited state capacity to prevent, manage and resolve conflict in Pakistan have led to increased violence and extremism in the country. The U.S. Institute of Peace supports a network of local organizations in testing the use of media, arts, culture, and education as tools of engagement for peacebuilding. The Institute also works on police and judicial reform, supports initiatives to strengthen democratic institutions and governance, and promotes women’s voices in security sector policymaking. Evidence-based research and analysis provides guidance for policymakers and practitioners.
Learn more in USIP’s fact sheet on The Current Situation in Pakistan.
At midnight on the night of February 24-25, 2021, India and Pakistan reinstated a cease-fire that covered their security forces operating “along the Line of Control (LOC) and all other sectors” in Kashmir, the disputed territory that has been at the center of the India-Pakistan conflict since 1947. While the third anniversary of that agreement is a notable landmark in the history of India-Pakistan cease-fires, the 2021 cease-fire is fragile and needs bolstering to be maintained.
Days after Pakistan’s February 8 general election, the Election Commission of Pakistan released the official results confirming a major political upset. Contrary to what most political pundits and observers had predicted, independents aligned with former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) won the most seats at the national level, followed by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). No party won an absolute majority needed to form a government on its own. The resultant uncertainty means the United States may have to contend with a government that is more focused on navigating internal politics and less so on addressing strategic challenges.
Surprisingly, candidates aligned with former Prime Minister Imran Khan won the most seats in Pakistan’s elections. But while voters “have shown their faith in democracy,” the lack of a strong mandate for any specific leader or institution “doesn’t necessarily bode well for [Pakistan’s] stability,” says USIP’s Tamanna Salikuddin.
Built upon the belief that youth bring significant and unique insight to peacebuilding, the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) provides a mechanism through which USIP experts can benefit from youth perspectives and expertise. The YAC enables USIP staff to engage youth as partners, experts, and practioners while elevating youth voices and experience to the international level. The YAC contributes to USIP’s vision for an inclusive approach to peacebuilding. The Youth Advisory Council meets regularly to bring together youth thought leaders and peacebuilding experts committed to the Institute’s mission and activities.
Beginning in June 2021, USIP convened a group of senior experts to assess concerns that recent geopolitical and technological trends increasingly threaten the tenuous stability of Southern Asia. Over seven virtual plenary sessions, the senior study group assessed the changing capabilities, doctrines, threat perceptions and crisis response behavior of the main regional nuclear actors. Their final report summarizes those findings, considers U.S. policy options and identifies priority recommendations for the resolution or mitigation of core disputes, the enhancement of regional strategic stability, and the management of potential future crises.
The U.S. Institute of Peace supports programs and research that contribute to the mission of promoting enduring peace in South Asia. The institute provides analysis, capacity development and resources to individuals and institutions working to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict. In Pakistan, USIP awards funding in three categories, ranging from projects that test new, experimental ideas to supporting local and international organizations on policy relevant research.