Youth Peace Conference 2017

LAHORE:25 December:Wherever there is student politics on campuses in Pakistan, it must be delinked from political parties and violence. This was the crux of views at the Youth Peace Conference 2017 on Friday. Concluding a technical session on a new foundation of student politics, all the speakers and participants unanimously demanded that the mainstream political parties should sign a charter for keeping themselves away from campuses so that a new student politics is revived that is pro-peace, student-centered, women-friendly and is only focused to creating an environment to enhance competencies and skills of students and nurture their personalities through debates, drama, music, quiz and other positive co-curricular and social activities. The two-day mega youth conference was organised by Bargad at the Government College University Lahore in collaboration with the Punjab Higher Education Commission, Population Association of Pakistan, Oxform and Right Here Right Now. Pakistani student honoured by Seoul University Punjab Minister for Youth Affairs Jahangir Khanzada chaired the first technical session of the conference attended by 400 students from different districts of the country, including Multan, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, DI khan and Peshawar. Youth from district Layyah launched a “Clean and Green Pakistan Campaign” at the conference for mitigating climate change in Pakistan. The session on student politics was addressed by PHEC Chairman Dr Muhammad Nizamuddin, Burgad Chairman Dr Kaiser Bangali, eminent journalist andradio host Aamir Riaz, former Punjab University Head of Philosophy Department Dr Sajid Ali, GCU Vice Chancellor Dr Hassan Amir Shah, youth development consultant Iqbal Haider Butt, IBA Karachi Director Public Affairs and Communication Dr Huma Baqai and student representatives from different universities including LUMS, GCU and PU. The majority of panelists also recommended there must be well-defined eligibilities for candidates wishing to be part of student unions. They appreciated student representation system of GCU through its societies. GCU Vice Chancellor Dr Shah said that given the extremism and violence around us, the question of student unions and politics should be approached very cautiously, as this may expose students to armed extremist groups. A separate session on climate change was addressed by, Western Sydney University, Australia Director Academic Programs Prof Dr Awais Piracha, Individual Land Program Manager Farhan Khalid, Agriculture University Peshawar student Kashif Islam and Syed Ali Hussain, a student from Layyah. Political worker among five suspects held in Karachi raids During the session, results from a survey with 150 Union Council local officials of Lahore were also shared regarding awareness of officials about climate change. Almost half of the respondents of the survey (53 %) were not aware of the phenomenon of climate change. Almost half of the local officials who claimed to be aware of climate change knew nothing beyond the phrase climate change. Punjab Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports Jahangir Khanzada termed the cell-phones digital cocaine for youth, saying that they were sweeping their youth away from healthy sports and co-curricular activities. PHEC Chairman Dr Nizamuddin said there was a need for government to prioritise youth in all its polices and initiatives, saying that as per the recent census, 43% of the country’s population is below the 20 years of age, and Pakistan has no other option except to harness its youth bulge. “We need structural changes in our system to address emotional, social, psychological, physical and economic needs of youth; they need decent jobs, education and playing grounds.”Published in The Express Tribune,

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