Religious Leadership Approach to Conflicts Resolution: Examples from Pakistan
This research study deals with the role of religious leaders resolving local community conflicts. A sample size of 361 respondents was selected in district Dir Lower Tahsil Maidan Pakistan through random sampling technique. Chi square X2 statistics was used to determine the association between independent and dependent variables, beside sample frequency distributions. Majority of respondent (56.0%) stated that community has more trust in religious leaders; similarly, most of the respondents (62.3%) argued that community involves religious leaders in conflict resolution and mediation of their disputes. More than two third of respondents (66.2%) opined that People relay on the decision taken by religious leaders. Likewise, most of the respondents (62.6%) were of the view that religious leaders play a key role in promoting Cohesion and solidarity among people. Furthermore, at bivariate level people at community level following the teaching of non-violence of their religious leaders (P=.027) was found highly significant with conflict resolution. Similarly, people relay on the decision taken by religious leaders (P=.009), people give more importance to involve religious leaders in mediation and reconciliation in dispute settlement (P=.040), people are more likely to follow their religious leaders and seek the solution of their problems in light of their divine guidance (P=.030), religious leaders increasingly became the voice of excluded segments of the society (P=.009) had significant association with conflict resolution. The study concluded that religious leadership among Pashtun had always contributed positively in conflict resolution. Community intentionally involved them in their disputes because they were considered as honest, their soft power resources could bring a long lasting peace in the area. The study recommend that government should give more attention to involve religious leaders in conflict resolution and peace building process, this needs to integrate all sort of leadership at community level which would boast their level of understanding regarding each other.
Key words - Community, conflict, religious leaders, Pashtun, mediation