The Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), in partnership with its Afghan counterpart organization DURAN Research and Analysis (DRA) and sub-national partners Foundation for Integrated Development Action (FIDA) is currently implementing a unique Pakistan-Afghanistan Track 1.5/ II initiative titled: “Beyond Boundaries” as part of its efforts to help improve relations between the two countries and enhance people to people contacts.
The Beyond Boundaries track comprises two working groups; Regional Security Group, Civil Society Group and involves an unparalleled series of seven meetings – three each for the two groups alternately in Islamabad and Kabul – and the last one in Islamabad as the culmination of this unprecedented initiative. Both governments are also on board for this crucial endeavor that got underway at a very critical time for the bilateral relations.
Beyond Boundaries not only involves workshops of the two groups with eight delegates from each side for every group but is also an attempt to reach out to maximum number of influential stakeholders in both countries to discuss and highlight themes that are central to the bilateral relationship.
The working groups on regional security and civil society through these consultative workshops will address varied themes that are important for promoting peace, enhancing people to people contacts and increasing cultural exchanges between Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The key objective of the initiative is to expand the “peace constituency” through regular contacts among members of parliaments, ex-government/security officials, civil society, media, and cultural entities.
Other objectives include networking of influential people from both sides for peace-building, encouraging dialogues at various levels through official and unofficial communication channels, and disseminating results from the dialogue i.e. strategic communication through public fora and various forms of media.
Beyond Boundaries brings together influential government and non-governmental stake-holders who can help lessen tensions, address misconceptions, revive bilateral confidence building measures, and eventually nudge both governments and key stakeholders away from the confrontational towards a collaborative engagement in favour of regional peace, trade and development.