As Punjab government prepares to unveil its first youth policy, some non-government organisations working with the youth remain anxious about its effective execution.
Muhammad Shahzad Khan, executive director of Chanan Development Association, said he hoped that the government refrained from limiting it to a politically motivated document. He told The Express Tribune he was looking forward to the announcement. He said there had been “comprehensive consultation”.
However, he worried about the challenges the government might face in incorporating the recommendations from the stakeholders.
One of his apprehensions was that the final document might not address the problems faced by the minorities, particularly the transgenders.
Recalling earlier consultation for formulation of the national youth policy, he said, “At times, terms like sexual health and reproductive health are altogether removed from such documents.”
He also said he was not sure that a single department of sports, tourism and archaeology department and the youth affairs was a good idea. He said ensuring that the four divisions worked harmoniously might prove quite a challenge.
Fasahatul Hassan, the Youth Advocacy Networks chairperson, said it was encouraging that most of the consultations were accessible by the youth including meetings organised at the Punjab assembly.
“The great thing is that the youth had a chance to participate proactively in the process,” he said.
Bilal Ahmed, the Youth Parliament of Pakistan executive director, had a different take. He said that in the absence of a developed institutional structure, execution of any policy, however good, would be uncertain.
“A policy document is a secondary requirement,” he said, adding, “We have to create a meaningful engagement for the youth and not limit their definition to just sports and cultural activities,” he said. He also said there should be a national coordination council for youth affairs.
Imtiaz Ali, director of Revival of Heritage, a youth mobilisation network, said that the consultative process was flawed.
Ali said that volunteers from several youth rights movements would be sending him their recommendations. He said these recommendations would be forwarded to the Sports, Youth Affairs, Archaeology and Tourism Department secretary.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 20th, 2012.