In Revenue Village Daid Shahani of Union Council Kachi Shahani, two tribes; Baloch and Khawaja, are living. Due to certain old rivalries, both the tribes are at daggers drawn with each other.
The PACE-PD Project, in order to engage youth in development by arranging co-curricular /recreational activities planned Women Youth Engagement Activity in Basti Baloch but women from Khawaja tribe bluntly refused to participate in the activity. They told us that there was an enmity between Baloch and Khawaja tribes so that they would not participate in the event.
It was a challenge for us to conduct the activity successfully in a sense that women from both tribes should participate in the activity. In the male dominating society, especially in the tribes, women are not allowed to take their own decision.
Hence we decided to hold meeting with the tribal heads of both tribes. We met Mr. Malik Sona from Khawaja Tribe and Mr. Sana Ullah belongs to Baloch tribe. We held a meeting with them in the Govt. Primary School Basti Baloch, Head Teacher Mr. Saleem Azad also participated in the meeting and played the role of mediator. Head teacher played a vital role to mediate. We mobilized them that it is a recreational activity and everybody should participate in it.
Initially both the tribes were adamant to sit together but after long negotiation and making them to realize that it is not meant to disgrace someone’s ego but the objective is to involve the female in some healthy and recreational activity. Both the tribes came up with lot of reservations and threats from each other. After prolong discussion, there was some difference of venue. None of them was ready to go to other tribes place. The Head Teacher proposed that he can offer some common place which was his school. This offer cooled down the rift and they agreed to allow their females to participate in the function.
Eventually they agreed to participate in the activity. Women from both the tribes participated in the event and it was a successful activity.
Later on, during a follow up visit in the community, it was found that the partition between both the tribes is gradually being bridged and both the tribes are rebuilding their relation with each other.
Apparently it may not look as a big achievement, yet if we look into deep rooted customs/traditions of the tribes, the conflict/rivalries remain prolonged and at times the enmity is dragged to the next generations.
Similar was the case among Baloch and Khawaja tribes to the extent that none of them, especially the females, would visit or participate in others functions like; marriages, deaths, religious festivals etc. (sort of social boycott). Both the tribes were not even on speaking terms with each other. Engaging women youth in recreational activities was an endeavor to bring them together for certain collective action. Taking it as challenge, our field team made repeated visits to motivate them. Both the tribal heads were reluctant to allow their females to jointly participate in any gathering. Finally the Head Teacher Mr. Saleem Azad, who enjoys lot of respect in the community, played pivotal role and convinced the tribal heads by saying, ”Any development project like; health, education, WASH etc. will benefit all of us provided we stay united”.
It was successful in the sense that one of the objectives of the PACE-PD Project is to bring the exclusive segment of community into main stream. Ignoring almost half of the households in a village was contradictory to the project objective. After agreement between the two tribes we achieved our objective.