01 January, 2011

Opportunities for youth crucial for a peaceful Balochistan

Published in Pakistan Observer (1 Jan. 2011)
Sana Jamal

ISLAMABAD: “Employment opportunities and youth participation in policy making is imperative to have peace in Balochistan”, this consensus was reached at a press conference at Islamabad Press Club on Friday. The conference was organized by Chanan Development Association (CDA) a national youth lead organization, in collaboration with Action-Aid Pakistan.

The youth representatives of Baluchistan at the conference demanded that youth, media and civil society organizations should make a coordinated mechanism to promote peace in Baluchistan. “The youth of Baluchistan is deprived of many of the fundamental human rights and facing a lot of problems including unemployment, lack of participation in policy making, and social injustice, while poor law and order situation is adding to the frustration of the youth of Baluchistan”, explained Kamran, a youngster representing the youth of Baluchistan province.

The speakers noted that Baluchistan comprises 43% of Pakistan’s territory while it has an estimated population of Seven Million, which is almost 5% of the total population of Pakistan and youth comprises of almost 35% population of the province, i.e. around 2.5 Million.

Ms. Uzma Tahir, representative of Action-Aid Pakistan talking to the media said that “Action-Aid Pakistan is committed to the issues of youth in Baluchistan and encouraging youth organizations like CDA to harness the potential of youth for a peaceful and prosperous Pakistan particularly Baluchistan.”

Young people also recommended that youth unemployment needs to be urgently addressed by the public and private sectors and merit should be ensured in government jobs. Secondly, the young people should be meaningfully involved in policy making as youth has better understanding of the problems of youth and can suggest best solutions. Youngsters believed that only when the identities of young people are recognized and their fundamental Human Rights are respected, only then they can work towards a better future.

“The issues of youth in Baluchistan should be addressed as only youth participation in the policy making can bring peace to the province” stated Muhammad Shahzad Khan, Executive Director of CDA. “Chanan Development Association (CDA) and Action-Aid Pakistan has initiated Interactive Dialogues for Peace in Baluchistan between youth and parliamentarians and is now going to conduct Baluchistan Peace Forum here in Islamabad on 11th January 2010”, Shahzad said. The objectives of these initiatives are to provide an opportunity to youth and parliamentarians to identify real youth issues in Baluchistan and come up with recommendations for policy gap to address these issues, he added.

At the end of the press conference, youth representatives of Baluchistan urged the Government of Pakistan and Provincial Government of Baluchistan to give due attention to the youth issues in Baluchistan.