DOI: 10.12924/johs2023.19010053 |Publication Date: 12 December 2023

Post-conflict Rehabilitation: Understanding the Role of Civil-Military Cooperation in Supporting Child Protection Units (CPUs) in Newly Merged Districts (NMDs), Pakistan

Muhammad Makki 1, * and Aleena Khalid Sandhu 1
1 Centre for International Peace and Stability (CIPS), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan
* Corresponding author
Abstract: Several studies have examined the humanitarian Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) in post-conflict environments. However, there has been limited focus on establishing and making available an institutional setup for child welfare, which harnesses CIMIC experiences in the post-conflict rehabilitation phase. This paper aims to address this gap in the Newly Merged Districts (NMDs) of Pakistan, where the local population experienced a series of crises in the form of terrorism, subsequent military operations, and conflict-induced internal displacement, making children, in particular, extremely vulnerable. In doing so, the paper outlines the underreported vulnerabilities related to the children of NMDs and further identifies the related institutional dynamics of CIMIC in the immediate post-conflict environment. The key findings encompass the delineation of direct and indirect vulnerabilities and the identification of a lack of distinction between child welfare and protection for adequate redressal policies. Regarding the pre-existing institutional infrastructure, the study confirms the prominent role of national and international development organizations and further validates the discord between relevant government departments in providing child welfare services. Furthermore, this research argues that the Pakistan military deployed throughout the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) effectively utilized the pre-existing social-tribal hierarchy to provide protection and development services. The research suggests that the Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA), specifically through its Gender and Child Cell, collaborates closely with the Social Welfare Department, which is responsible for providing child protection and welfare services in the post-merger environment. The objective of this collaborative effort is to facilitate the effective and practical implementation of Child Protection Units (CPUs) in the NMDs.

Keywords: Child welfare; Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC); Newly Merged Districts (NMDs); Pakistan; vulnerabilities


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