There is no scarcity of talent in Pakistan and one such example is National Youth Assembly member Hanan Ali Abbasi, who has the privilege of being the first Pakistani to reach Commonwealth Youth Awards finals for Excellence in Development Work.
Belonging to a village near Abbottabad, Abbasi made the cut from a long list of candidates aged 15-29 from 36 countries. Organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat’s Youth Affairs Division, the nominations came forth back in February.
“I dedicate my award to the country’s rural youth who are sitting at home due to lack of opportunities,” he said.
Abbasi has also received a grant of GBP 1,000 (Rs155,000) to sustain his development work and will receive guidance from the Commonwealth Youth Programme.
“After the Youth Affairs ministry’s devolution under the 18th amendment, there is no federal body working for the youth,” he said.
According to the United Nations Development Programme, 63 per cent of the population falls under the age of 25 and due to poverty are deprived of their basic right to education and health.
“A large portion of our youth want to play their part in the country’s development. They are frustrated and are getting involved in the wrong activities,” Abbasi said.
His past achievements include bagging the National Youth Award 2010 and being the youngest ever nominee for Pakistan’s highest civil award, the Pride of Performance.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2013.