BARGAD was established in 1997 by a group of students from Lahore with the aim of youth development in Pakistan. The organisation engages with young people across the country in colleges and universities, both secular and those affiliated with religious seminaries. BARGAD works at the grassroots level with the support of over 800 volunteers throughout the country.
The organisation knows the value of networking with other relevant organisations and institutions, and therefore it has institutionalised links with more than 57 universities and higher education institutions as well as with the Ministry of Youth Affairs in Pakistan. Through events such as the the celebrations of 'International Youth Day', BARGAD claims to have been a principal force in the mobilisation of young women in Gujranwala, Pujab.
BARGAD is one of the most prominent organisations working with young people and peacebuilding in Pakistan. Their 'peace and youth cooperation' programme builds peace by encouraging young people to cooperate the good of thier academic institutions. The basic understanding behind this programme is that "it is more likely that in absence of viable platform of interaction, mutual cooperation and connection for common good, the organised youth may turn violent instead of resorting to procedural activism with campuses".
Starting in 2003, BARGAD is involved in a pioneering effort to launch a "youth track" of peacebuilding in South Asia, primarily in Pakistan. So far, 57 universities in Pakistan, three universities in India and two in Afghanistan have collaborated with the peacebuilding programme of BARGAD. The programme has been very effective, engaging more than 8,000 students, faculty members and citizens. One of the key features of the programme has been an annual “Regional Peace and Youth Cooperation Dialogue”.