10th Baragali International Conference on "The Importance of Regional Connectivity in the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border Region"

  • -
  • 9:00 am
  • Baragali Summer Campus, UoP

Historically, the Pakistan-Afghanistan region has been characterized as one of the turbulent landscapes induced by regional power dynamics, internal conflicts and external invasions. These geo-political factors have been responsible for a perpetual conflict in the region with no foreseeable resolution. Notably, many stakeholders have been active in the past to alter and (re-)demarcate boundaries in order to inscribe and integrate the region into modern-statehood. The colonial practice rigidified border management, thus, complicating the process of boundary delineation and frontier management. Resultantly, the extension of centralized control over ‘peripheral border spaces’ further aggravated the social condition. In addition, relative deprivation and lesser attention to the development in these areas constructed their spatial identity in discriminatory discourse. With the emergence of extremist ideological movements (in response to the ethno-national activism), the borderland was reshaped with new and sharpened conflict zones. In other words, the existing political challenges which were based on ethno-nationalism were replaced by extremist narratives and fundamentalist ideologies.  Thus making the region more volatile to conflict and violence.

Now as these challenges were met with force and military solutions on both sides of the border, it has created new waves of violence, trauma, and displacement of people which has been (on a macro-level) completely undermining the structure of local businesses, trade, and other economic institutions. At the same, (on a micro-level) it has been affecting the everyday life of common people by the emergence of gender inequality in public spaces, marginalization of minorities, youth radicalization and economic disparity and thus imposing a dystopian imaginary on socio-psychological level. Meanwhile to address the macro-level challenges, various governments and stakeholders have started initiatives for regional political and economic integration such as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and other bilateral and multilateral agreements. However, in order to embark upon these projects it is necessary to take into account the regional cross-pressures, social and economic problems which have been created in recent decades.

In addition, in order to address the micro-level political and social injustice, the government of Pakistan has merged the FATA region with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Consequently, creating a tremendous opportunity for the ‘democratization from below’ on socio-political and institutional level. However, the politicized re-emergence of border demarcation in the form of widely visible forts and fences symbolizes new forms of power structure. Beside this, the sources of knowledge in the form of oral and traditional codes of conduct conducted the social life for the Pakhtun tribes in the border areas for centuries. These ecologies of knowledge of the socio-cultural setup in the region is an often-neglected subject for academic research. The informal institutions of governance interact with and play upon the formal state institutions. Therefore, such hybridity of the formal and informal is paradoxically promoting and at the same time impeding state building processes in the region. The mainstreaming of the Newly Merged Tribal Districts (NMTDs) is a very challenging new dynamic of the region.

In order to gain a more holistic and updated view of the regional connectivity in the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, the Department of Political Science, University of Peshawar and the Hanns Seidel Foundation Pakistan have been jointly organizing a series of international conferences since 2011. The Department and HSF invite proposals for the 10th International Conference to be held in Baragali, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 15-17 September, 2021.


The 2021 international Conference explores the following major questions:

1. What are the new economic and political challenges that should be investigated and what are the ways through which these challenges can be turned into opportunities?
2. How political developments such as merger of the FATA can address the challenges as well as opportunities, especially when it comes to Pakistan-Afghanistan regional connectivity through their shared border?
3. How is the state building process along with new economic initiatives unfolding in the regional integration? And what are the ways in which hurdles to the regional connectivity can be addressed?


A further division of the areas of interest might be the following:

  • Democratic Governance and Public Space
  • Economic Transformation and Development 
  • Trade & Economic Integration 
  • China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – Economic Dividends/Politics of CPEC 
  • Governance Reforms in FATA: Mainstreaming and Challenges of Merger with KP 
  • Changing Electoral/Political Trends 
  • Theoretical Engagement of the Borderland 
  • Globalization, Con?ict and Local Economies 
  • Migration, Diaspora, Refugees, and Internally Displaced Persons
  • Borders and Transnational Mobility 
  • Ethno-Nationalism 
  • Youth and Radicalization 
  • Periphery within a Periphery? Non-Pakhtun Ethnicities on the Border 
  • Politics of Identities
  • Law, Human Rights and Gender Rights   
  • Art, Sports, and Politics of Aesthetics 
  • Sub-National Governments and Governance 
  • Border Management/ Border Control 
  • Social Networking and Political Mobilization: Online & O?ine 
  • Power Contestations, State Institutions and Spaces of Governance 
  • Reconciliation and Changing Geo-Politics of Afghanistan and its Impact on the Region 
  • Development Narratives: Donor Fatigue (on both sides of the border) and the Question of Sustainability
  • Democratic devolution – An Answer for Afghanistan’s Governance Problems?
  • Peace Building in Afghanistan – Peace Agreements, Successes and Failures-with impacts across borders.

We request abstracts of no more than 120 words from academicians and practitioners by 15th August 2021. Please also send in a short biography along with the abstract. Abstracts should include a title, research question, information about potential methodological and theoretical frameworks, and a conclusion of the main argument. The selected paper presenters will be contacted after the scrutiny of abstracts. The ?nal date for the submission of complete papers is 30th August 2021.

The paper presenters will be provided with accommodation, food, and transport. We intend to print the conference proceedings and may compile selected papers into an edited book to be published later by a reputable publishing house.


For any further details and abstract submission please email us:


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Conference Coordinators:

Dr. Sami Raza
Department of Political Science University of Peshawar.

Dr. Muhammad Ayub Jan
Department of Political Science University of Peshawar.

Conference Secretary:

Mr. Shehzad Ali
Department of Political Science University of Peshawar.

Hanns Seidel Foundation Islamabad

Email: islamabad(at)hss.de

Note: If it becomes difficult to organize the conference at Baragali Campus due to University’s guidelines about Covid-19 situation then the conference will be organized online.