The Punjab government must hold local government elections as soon as possible to give young people a chance to participate in governance and serve their countrymen, said Governor Sardar Latif Khosa on Tuesday.
“Local body elections are essential for the political training of the young,” Khosa said in a speech at the concluding ceremony for the 4th Pakistan Youth Congress (PYC) here at the Punjab Assembly.
He said that he had written to the chief minister urging him to hold local government elections, as this was his constitutional duty. He said local polls were not just good for young people, but also helped communities by giving local representatives a chance to let their voices be heard at the highest level of government.
He said that the term “revolution” was grossly misunderstood as a sudden and destructive process. “On the contrary, revolution can actually be an honest change which creates a social change,” he said.
The governor said that there was a lack of jobs for young people. The number of unemployed was projected to go up to 36 million in coming years. “Can any government provide that number of jobs in constrained time and resources?” He said policymakers should seek to foster job creators in Pakistan.
He said that the government needed to better control the supply of illegal drugs. “These drug barons are high and mighty,” he said.
He urged the chief justice of Pakistan to take notice of the killing of Naveed Younis, the founder of the Drug Free Pakistan Foundation, who was killed in 2010 after having received several death threats over his work in curbing drug smuggling.
A short documentary on Younis’s work was screened. The participants then paid their respect to the deceased with a standing ovation.
Farheen Naveed, Younis’s widow and DFPF director, said that the organisation offered free counselling and rehabilitation for drug users across the country.
She said this was the first time the PYC had been held in Lahore and it had been the most successful congress since the fist one in 2009.
Punjab University Vice Chancellor Prof Mujahid Kamran spoke about the dangers of sheesha, which he said was popular among young people. He said the government must put a check on all sorts of drugs, particularly heroin, which was often a fatal addiction.
“Keep busy with healthy and positive activities instead of engaging in harmful activities,” he said.
Shahnila Tariq, a lecturer at the PU Department of Applied Psychology, said that the PYC should be held in cities across the country rather than just Lahore and Karachi.
“We hope that the PYC comes to Punjab again next year,” she said.
Paulus ‘Bobby’ Hartanto, a popular trainer with the Colombo Plan Drug Advisory Programme from Indonesia, said that from what he had seen in Pakistan, young Pakistanis were very keen on working to improve the situation in the country. He said if young people took the lead role in drug prevention, the menace would soon be eradicated.
“There is a lot of energy but also a lot of aggression in the youth of Pakistan’, said Dichen Choden, programme officer at the CPDAP, which organises the annual Asian Youth Congress. She said the energies of young people should be directed towards social change.
The four-day 4th Pakistan Youth Congress ended earlier with the 300 or so participants presenting their plans for social action projects over the next six months.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 5th, 2012.
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