KARACHI: When it comes to youth issues, Sindh is one of the most neglected provinces. This is something that the representatives of all the parties agreed upon; but when it came to finding a solution, the blame game started.
Civil Society Support Programme, a non-governmental organisation, had organised an all parties’ conference at Pearl Continental Hotel on Tuesday to discuss the issues of the youth of Sindh and the current status of Sindh Youth Policy. The policy was drafted by the Sports and Youth Affairs Department of Sindh in collaboration with Bargad, an NGO working for youth development, and the United Nations Population Fund in 2012 but has yet to be enforced.
Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) Faisal Subzwari told the conference how helpless he was when he drafted the youth policy in their last tenure but could never get it approved by the chief minister. Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) Sindh president Muhammad Aslam Ghori responded that the MQM enjoyed the government and later complained that they never had any say.
While Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Naz Baloch criticised every political party for their failure in implementing a youth policy, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) senator Aajiz Dhamrah continued to hurl counter allegations at the PTI.
Subzwari told the audience that Sindh’s population has been divided into two segments. One, according to him, resides in rural areas while the other lives in urban areas. He said that the youth of Larkana and Karachi can have the same way of thinking and this was only possible through education.
Pakistan Muslim League — Quaid representative Haleem Adil Sheikh said that it would not be less than a miracle if the recommendations of the civil society and the opposition parties are reflected in the youth policy draft. Levelling allegations at the Sindh government, he said that thousands of schools in the province were in poor condition. “It was your job to address that,” he said.
Almost all the political parties accepted responsibility for having destroyed the youth. Shaikh said that the political parties have limited youth to only guard their political processions and shout slogans. “Some political parties have given them guns while some have provided them suicide jackets to explode,” he said. “And the so-called youth’s political party, PTI, has rigorously involved them on social media.” Shaikh suggested that youth need to be involved in policy-making and parliament. “This change won’t come about by doing conferences in five-star hotels,” he added.
The head of Litigation and Research of the Legal Aid Office, Prisons Programme, Professor Mohammad Akmal Wasim, said that policies should be based on empirical and demographic studies. According to him, the needs and requirements of the youth of Tharparkar were ignored in the current youth policy drafted by the Sindh government. “Priorities of the youth of Thar are different from those of Jacobabad,” he explained. “Strategies should be drafted in order to distance youth from violence.”
Meanwhile, Dhamrah spent most of his time criticising PTI instead of sharing PPP’s vision on the policy. He said that PTI was the ruling party of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, yet it has not come up with its youth policy. “They have seven senators and not even one is below 50 [years of age],” he said, while carefully dodging the allegations levelled against PPP and pinning all the blame of Sindh’s failure on military governments. According to him, the country has experienced anti-society, anti-labour and anti-youth governments, due to which the youth has been destroyed. “When missing people will be the youth and their mutilated corpses will be thrown on roads, they will never visit libraries,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 15th, 2015.