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> Youth Parliament is the ideal forum for Political Grooming of Young Pakistanis: Sherry Rehman
   Youth Parliament Pakistan 2008-2009 meets for its First Session

September 17, 2008
Hotel Margalla, Islamabad


Islamabad, September 17, 2008: The Youth Parliament Pakistan, which formally began its 1st Session in Islamabad for the batch of 2008-2009, was termed by Sherry Rehman, Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting, as the ideal forum for the political grooming of the young Pakistanis.


Speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural session of the Youth Parliament of Pakistan she said that the only way forward for sustainable democracy in Pakistan was to increase political awareness of the Pakistani youth as future leaders of the country. She praised the role of PILDAT as the institution devoted to strengthening democracy and democratic institutions in the country and said that PILDAT’s efforts and support for the country’s real Parliament and Parliamentarians were greatly appreciated as well. Ms. Rehman said that standing committees formed backbone of parliamentary democracy and this system should be strengthened. “These committees play an important role in transparency and accountability,” she said. In talking to young members of the Youth Parliament, Ms. Rehman said that accommodating viewpoint of the opposition was essence of democracy and marathon stamina was required for parliamentary debates as bulldozing legislation was against the spirit of democracy. She said Pakistan People’s Party and other political parties worked with civil society in the past and now the PPP wanted to involve these NGOs in law making process. The minister said the present government had for the first time allowed live coverage of parliamentary proceedings and similar coverage of parliamentary committees would also be allowed in the future. She lauded PILDAT for preparing would-be parliamentarians through establishment of Youth Parliament. The members of Youth Parliament were future of the country and the nation had great expectation from them, she said.


Earlier, in the Parliamentary Party meetings of the two parties, Blue and Green Party, the members finalised their nominations for different posts and filed nomination papers with the Youth Parliament Secretariat. The two parties are advised by Dr. Donya Aziz, MNA (PML) and Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan, MNA (PML-N).


In his welcome address, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT formally welcomed the distinguished guests and the second batch of Youth Parliament Pakistan. Mr. Mehboob said that Youth Parliament has 60 members and two mock parties: the Blue Party (Liberal) and the Green Party (Traditional). The Blue Party (Liberals) has formed a majority in the Youth Parliament and will be forming Youth Government while the Green Party will form a shadow cabinet. He also informed that for the first time 15 members of the Youth Parliament will visit the UK Youth Parliament and the UK House of Commons on a week-long study tour through the support of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The idea behind setting up and facilitating a Youth Parliament is not just to put Pakistani Youth through a mock exercise of what Parliament does and how it should work but to inculcate in them the values and culture of democracy as central to effective governance in any society, he said.


As the Chairman of the Youth Parliament Steering Committee responsible for country-wide selection of young members, Senator S. M. Zafar, inspired new Members of Youth Parliament by describing to them the most revered and respected parliamentary role and posture adopted by the likes of Jinnah. He said that it was an honour to be part of the selection and grooming process of the bright youth of the country.


Mr. Wazir Ahmad Jogezai, Former Deputy Speaker National Assembly and Speaker for First Session of Youth Parliament said that Youth Parliament will provide Youth with an opportunity for political and leadership training and understanding. He said that Youth Parliament, was in effect, a Parliament-in-waiting and expressed his faith in the capabilities of the young leaders.


Earlier, an orientation session for the Members of Youth Parliament was held by PILDAT in which members were briefed about their roles, responsibilities and Youth Parliament Rules of Procedures that are to govern the functioning of Youth Parliament Pakistan.


The two parliamentary parties, Blue and the Green Party, are advised by Dr. Donya Aziz, MNA and Engr. Khurram Dastagir Khan, MNA, respectively.