The Political and Electoral Violence Education and Resolution (PEVER) project is one of the projects being implemented as part of the Democratic Governance Program, which monitors and studies political and electoral violence in 150 of the 272 National Assembly constituencies across Pakistan. The goals of the project are to enhance public awareness about the nature of, and reasons for, political and electoral violence, and to support the prevention and resolution of violent conflict.
The methodology and analysis for PEVER research is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development, through a grant from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems. FAFEN’s field monitoring presence is supported by The Asia Foundation. PEVER defines political violence as “any act or threat of violence – be it physical or psychological, explicit or implicit – that is aimed at any person or property involved in the political process.” This includes violence that targets state institutions or infrastructure; violence motivated by ethnic, religious, tribal, ideological, or other identities; violence based on organizational or professional affiliation; and violence based on political party affiliation.
Owing to the stereotypical classification of political violence as violent conflict that takes place between political parties and ‘power-players’, questions may arise in the reader’s mind about how certain types of violence mentioned above are political in nature. It may initially confuse some, for example, that PEVER records violence between or within tribes as political violence. The reason this violence is political is that in regions such as Sindh, Balochistan and FATA, the political system is analogous to the tribal system.
Similarly, ethnic violence is a representation of the dynamics between different groups in a community, and therefore a representation of the community’s politics. Violence perpetrated by or among influential groups such as gangs and mafias is recorded as political violence because such groups are largely interwoven into the political culture in Pakistan.
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