First session of 17th Youth Parliament Pakistan successfully concluded: Eminent scholars call for revival of Students’ Unions; urge Youth to be tolerant to difference of opinion; use ballot power to usher change


February 20, 2022: In an interactive session on Youth, Pakistan & Challenges of 21st Century, distinguished guest panelist Dr. Arfa Sayeda Zehra, a prominent educationist, shared her aspirations and expectations for the members of the 17th Youth Parliament Pakistan. She stated that a larger percentage of Pakistan’s population is considered part of the youth. “But this group finds itself lost; it doesn’t understand where to go. The Youth needs opportunities to engage, to thrive.”

She further stressed on the importance of establishing unity rather than indulge in factions. “It is very easy to divide into groups with individual interests. But once divided it is extremely hard to unify for a common cause.” Expressing her opinion on protests as a form of activism she added:

نعرے گونجتےتو بہت ہیں لیکن ہوا میں اُڑ جاتے ہیں. آہستگی میں کی گئی بات دل میں اترتی ہے بشرطیکہ اس میں دلیل شامل ہو

Joining her was Dr. Adil Najam, Dean at Boston University & writer of UNDP’s Human Development Report on Pakistani Youth. He presented a statistical view on the topic, highlighting how the youth should harness its power, as they will be the deciding factor in all future elections until 2045.

He further correlated youth with human development: “Pakistan is the second youngest country after Afghanistan in the South Asian region and stands at 152 on the Human Development Index. Emphasizing the need to focus on the three E’s: Education, Engagement & Employment he stated “The induction of these three aspects on its own is not enough, it has to be quality education, practical engagement and meaninful employment for the youth to genuinely prosper.”

An interactive question & answer session was then conducted with the Members of Youth Parliament, shedding light on how youth’s contribution will shape the future and the implications youth and its development will have on Pakistan’s relations and its overall standing in the world.

Earlier, the 19 Youth Standing Committees held their virtual meetings to decide upon their areas of focus. While the first plenary session has ended, all committees will continue their work on preparing their reports until the next session is convened.

The Youth Parliament of Pakistan is a project of PILDAT and has been running for the past 17 years. The 17th YPP is supported by the Jang/Geo Group, Bank of Punjab, Interloop Limited, Islamabad Serena Hotel, FES Pakistan, University of Lahore and Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi.