The program started in February 2002 aims to support the democratic and electoral process in Pakistan to build a strong public demand for sustainable and genuine democracy in Pakistan. The program is being implemented by a consortium of NGOs, under the leadership of South Asia Partnership Pakistan. The program is contributing to re-establish people’s confidence in institutions and electoral processes and increase people awareness and participation in the electoral process. Three target groups have been identified: (i) media and journalists, (ii) political parties and candidates and (iii) minorities. Two cross cutting issues of utmost importance in Pakistan, gender and young people, have been mainstreamed in all activities being undertaken within the context of the project.
Taking place throughout the country, activities include sensitization of political party leaders and members, promotion of public debates, advocacy for the redaction of a political party code of conduct, training of journalists, media monitoring and sensitization of minorities.
The program takes in account benchmarks spelled out in the government’s “roadmap to democracy” announced on August 14, 2 001. Through its various activities, outreach strategies and networking, the program is contributing to re-establish confidence in democratic institutions and electoral processes and increasing people’s participation in the general elections 2002 at provincial and national levels.
The general elections 2002 marked the beginning of a yet another phase of democracy in Pakistan. The analysis done by some independent sources revealed that although a majority of traditional power brokers came in this electoral process yet some signs of new leadership and representation from marginalized and disadvantaged sections were noticed.