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NDI

The National Democratic Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government.

Pakistan

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NDI has been actively engaged in the process of democratic development in Pakistan for over 20 years, working with political parties and civic groups seeking to improve democratic institutions. In March 2002, NDI opened an office in Islamabad and launched a program to assess the state of political parties in Pakistan. Subsequent assistance focused on increasing the skills of political party members and helping parties to engage in local governance.

The Institute has been supporting programs to help Pakistan’s political parties become modern and inclusive political organizations, strengthen parties at the local level, and advance political reform in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). NDI has been working extensively with women and young party activists to help them develop party building skills and advocate for greater inclusion at the decision making level. In addition, the Institute has conducted election observation missions, trained polling agents and worked with partner organizations on media, communications and advocacy issues.

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Strengthening Political Parties

Currently, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), NDI is working to strengthen Pakistan’s political parties’ ability to develop policies that respond to the concerns of grassroots political party members. This program is designed to give voice to local leaders and activists. NDI is helping parties to engage grassroots members and citizens in the policy development process, develop party training and research units and strengthen internal party structures. This program is being conducted through subgrantee partnerships with the International Republican Institute (IRI), the Institute for Public Opinion Research (IPOR) and the Strengthening Participatory Organization (SPO).

With support from the Norwegian government, the Institute is currently initiating programs to promote the participation of women and young political leaders in the lead up to the 2013 national and provincial elections. NDI is providing participants with the opportunity to develop skills and experience required to make a significant contribution to their parties’ election planning and campaign execution.

With funding from the Dutch Government in 2008, NDI implemented programs to help reform party secretariats. The Institute worked with members of women and youth wings to develop and implement advocacy strategies to promote their inclusion in party decision making and policy development. This program also helped increase political skills among women and young people in campaign organizing, fundraising, internal and external communications, member recruitment and retention, the development of work plans and advocacy for greater leadership roles within the party. As a result of this program and the women’s wing advocacy campaigns, some parties have agreed to reserved seats on the parties’ decision making bodies for women.

NDI conducted programs to strengthen women and youth participation in parties in June 2004 and April 2006. With its local partner, the Centre for Civic Education (CCE), the Institute initiated a program in 2004 to enhance political parties’ ability to undertake internal party reform.  This pilot project based in the North West Frontier Province, now Khyber-Pakhtoonkhwa, supported the emergence of reform-minded leaders from parties committed to a democratic political system.  The program expanded into a multi-year program, supported by USAID, to assist political parties nationwide.

Promoting Political Reform in FATA

Since 2007, NDI has been conducting programs to engage political parties and tribal representatives on policies for political reform in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). NDI partners with the Shaheed Bhutto Foundation (SBF) in supporting these programs. More than 300 tribal representatives and 10 political parties participated in a series of regional consultative workshops to determine reform priorities. In January 2009, over 100 of these representatives presented their recommendations directly to President Asif Ali Zardari. This event contributed to the President’s announcement on August 14, 2009 of a FATA reforms package.

Further meetings and roundtables convened by NDI throughout 2010 led to the creation of the Political Parties Joint Committee on FATA Reforms. Under this body, mainstream political parties adopted a resolution in March 2011 calling on the president to implement the reforms announced in August 2009.

On August 12, 2011, President Zardari signed two orders that authorized key political and administrative reforms – the extension of Pakistan’s Political Parties Order of 2002 to the tribal areas and the amendment of FATA’s Frontier Crimes Regulation, the first reforms in FATA in 100 years. Under the new orders, political parties are permitted to form and operate in the tribal areas, fielding candidates in FATA under their party banners for the first time. With funding from the British Government, NDI is continuing to work with political parties, parliamentarians and FATA citizens to promote public awareness campaigns on FATA reforms and to identify additional reform priorities and areas of consensus.        

Supporting the Electoral Process

NDI has been actively involved in supporting the electoral process in Pakistan. The Institute organized international delegations to observe the national and provincial elections in 1988, 1990, and 1993. In 1997, NDI sponsored a pre-election delegation to assess election preparations. In advance of the 2002 general elections, NDI organized nationwide trainings for over 1,200 party poll watchers. The Institute also produced and distributed over 550,000 party poll watching manuals, which were widely used on election day. In May and October 2007, NDI organized pre-election assessment missions in advance of parliamentary and provincial elections. The Institute implemented a program that trained approximately 45,000 party polling agents to monitor polling stations on election day. NDI also worked with political parties to provide advice on the design and implementation of a communication system for the collection and analysis of election results and complaints.

For further program materials, press releases, and communications on NDI’s programs in Pakistan, please see the “Related News and Publications” section.

Recent Publications Available in English and Urdu

Contact Information

For more information about these programs, use our contact form or contact:
Islamabad
Sandra Houston, Senior Resident Director
shouston@ndi.org

Washington, D.C.
Raissa Tatad-Hazell, Washington-DC Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan Programs
(202) 728-5653

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Published Publication Title Author
08/28/2013 The 2013 National and Provincial Assembly Elections in Pakistan: Final Report
Report
National Democratic Institute, Asian Network for Free Elections
05/13/2013 Preliminary Statement of the National Democratic Institute-Asian Network for Free Elections International Election Observation Mission to Pakistan
Statement
National Democratic Institute, Asian Network for Free Elections
12/21/2012 Statement of the NDI Pre-Election Delegation to Pakistan
Assessment
National Democratic Institute
03/09/2011 Nine Political Parties Join to Move FATA Reforms Forward
Press Release
Political Parties Join Committee on Fata Reforms
01/26/2009 Pakistan: Report on Mainstreaming the Federally Administered Tribal Areas
Report
Shaheed Bhutto Foundation
01/15/2009 Pakistan: Win With Women National Action Plan
Training Materials
National Democratic Institute
12/01/2008 NDI Reports: A Review of the Activities of the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs
Newsletter
National Democratic Institute
12/20/2007 Testimony of Former Senator Tom Daschle Before the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs
Testimony
National Democratic Institute
10/21/2007 October Statement of the NDI Pre-Election Delegation to Pakistan
Statement
National Democratic Institute
05/17/2007 Statement of the NDI Pre-Election Delegation to Pakistan
Statement
National Democratic Institute
01/01/2006 Making our Institutions Work For Us: Strengthening the capacity of Political Parties at the Local Level
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute
01/01/2006 Strengthening the Capacity of Political Parties at the Local Level
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute
12/01/2005 NDI 2005 Annual Report
Report
National Democratic Institute
01/01/2005 Supporting Women Political Leaders in Muslim South Asia, Participant's Manual
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute
02/28/2004 A Guide to Organizing Public Forums
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute
01/01/2004 Trainer’s Manual on Increasing Opportunities for Women within Political Parties
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute
12/01/2003 Why Can't You Exercise Your Right to Information?
Manual|Handbook
Center for Civic Education
07/31/2003 Workshops for Journalists on Legislative Reporting
Report
National Democratic Institute
07/31/2003 Public Forums on Good Governance
Report
National Democratic Institute
12/01/2002 Election Day Manual for Polling Agents, Monitoring Elections in Pakistan
Manual|Handbook
National Democratic Institute