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Naek Calls for Greater Role of Youth in Democratic Process Addressees Concluding Session of Annual Parliamentary Hearing at United Nation Headquarter

New York: Chairman Senate Mr. Farooq H. Naek while addressing the concluding session Annual Parliamentary Hearing at the UN Headquarters, New York underlined the need for reintegration of youth in economic, social and political activity as they are the agents of change, prospective leaders, and decision makers.

He said that the issue at hand was how to ensure effective participation of youth and how to rethink the concept and modalities of participation of youth in the democratic process. In some parts of the world, the participation of youth in elections and political parties is declining and in some other countries youth is at the forefront of political reforms.

Mr. Naek pointed out that there is no one-size-fit-all solution to the problems faced by youth. The problems are different in developed and developing countries and different needs and levels of problems require different solutions, he added.

The Chairman Senate observed that in order to find workable solutions to problems different countries are facing, political leaders must not only involve the young in the decision making processes but they must build partnerships with the young.

Mr. Naek opined the establishment of Youth Parliaments as nurseries of future parliamentarians was a very interesting and far reaching idea forwarded by some delegations. He acknowledged that electronic media particularly TV channels exclusively focusing on enhancing the participation of youth in political life would go a long way in improving the quality of democratic process in many of our countries.

The discussion raised a number of practical steps that can be taken to increase traditional forms of political participation among the youth, the Chairman Senate said. It was suggested that compulsory voting may encourage the young to be more involved in politics.

Parliamentary quota systems are yet another way of increasing the number of young MPs, which in turn may lead to greater motivation among the young to be involved seeing that the parliament is not only responsive but also accessible. However, it was noted that parliament as an institution is not the most appropriate platform for change, but that young participation must start within parties to create a different political culture.

The Chairman Senate further said that to achieve greater involvement of the young it is not enough to just open the doors to them and invite them into the existing process. “As long as the institutions that led to the exclusion of the young remain in place, political inclusion will remain nothing but a token and cannot lead to real change”, he observed. Political leaders need to step outside the given framework and learn to understand the language and processes that are used by the young.

Practical steps that were suggested were e-voting and for MPs to use blogs to communicate with their constituents and especially the young more effectively. Politicians must focus on those issues which were of interest to youth.

Politicians must visit colleges and hold discussion and participate in citizen education programmes. Change should come through power of ballot and not through violence, the Senate Chairman stated.

Farooq H. Naek said that provision of employment and giving a sense of social justice to youth would make their contribution more credible, predictable, and useful.

He termed the second session on challenges and opportunities for youth participation in the democratic process as a very productive in terms of proposals presented during it and it was timely in terms of changes sweeping across the world.

For more information, contact:
Public Service Obligation to Chairman
Syed Hasnain Haider
Senate of Pakistan
Tel: +9251 920 4564 534
Fax: +9251 920 5703
H.No.7, Cat-II, G-8/2,
Web: www.senate.gov.pk
E-mail: senate@comsats.net.pk

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