With 64% of the total population and 47% of the registered voters below the age of 35 years ,its now pretty obvious that the result of this next elections and probably the fate of this nation lies in the hands of youth. The question however one tends to ask is that if Youth was that important a player, why over all these years it had been neglected by our governments? Why they have never shown interest in investing in this stupendous human resource? The Governments will spend billions on some useless scheme and project but never did they make any serious attempt to empower our youth.
In the last decade or so ,we have seen that it was only Imran Khan who had been stressing upon the importance of youth in general and especially in politics while others were of the view that Imran is wasting his time in his efforts to politicize them .However when other parties realized that PTI has been able to give voice to this silent majority and youth, they too jumped in and since then has been trying hard to impress this youth element with various gimmicks .However the challenges and problems faced by youth today are grave ones and “Lollipops Schemes” may help in getting some votes but will never bring any long lasting change in the current scenario. In such desperate times for Youth it was necessary for Imran Khan and PTI to announce their policy for the youth so that one could know that whether this Youth Mantra by PTI is just a rhetoric slogan or PTI does really have any intention to bring a Youth Revolution
On 4th November 2012, PTI presented its youth policy in an electrifying Youth Convention. The Youth Policy was made by a Youth Task Force consisting of some of the brightest youth members of PTI. The Policy was presented by 4 youth representatives in front of the top PTI leadership and thousands of enthusiastic PTI supporters. Overall PTI Youth Policy seems to be a plan that will possibly empower youth on permanent basis .
It was announced that at least 25% of the parliamentary tickets will be allotted to youth which is a remarkable step for political empowerment of youth. Two seats will be reserved in every Union Council and Village Council (1 male and 1 female)who will be called as Youth Councilors .Youth Parliament will be an elected body and it will serve as the nursery to groom future leadership for Pakistan.
In order to ensure equality among all socio-economic classes, it was announced that uniform education curriculum will be introduced throughout Pakistan. Education budget will be increased from 1.8% of GDP to 5% of GDP. The number of youth to benefit from vocational training to be increased from 300K to 2 million per annum. Similarly 2 million new jobs per annum will be created for the youth so that by end of 5 years term at least 10 million new jobs will be there to solve the unemployment problem.
A new autonomous institution “National Youth Foundation” linked with ministry of Human Resource will be established and it will work for the betterment of youth . Jawan Markaz will be formed at both Tehsil and Union Council Level. Jawan Markaz will have a comprehensive data of their region and they will deal with all problems of the youth at their local level.
The announcement of youth policy is definitely a peerless and timely step by PTI but it has also brought forward a few challenges not only for its opponent political parties but also for PTI itself.
It’s a definite challenge for PPP and PML_N as both parties havent been able to provide the youth with any direction. For PPP the name of Bhutto wont work for this youth as been born in post Bhutto era, most of them doesn’t relate themselves to ‘bhutto’ or ‘anti-bhutto’ phenomenon.. For PML-N this youth policy will also pose a challenge as till now Punjab Govt has been more interested in political gimmicks of Laptops and 3 months paid internships schemes than giving any serious thought on issues of education and job creation.
The Challenge for PTI is also huge. Being young alone can never be a criteria for getting a ticket and unless one is competent enough nobody can be awarded ticket just for the reason that he/she happens to fall in the age group of 24-35 yrs. The commitment that at least 25% of tickets will be awarded to youth will mean that PTI will have to work extra hard in finding brilliant and consummate young guns who have got some sort of electability too. Its true that Imran Khan has succeeded in politicizing the youth and today youth is highly enlightened about politics. However what is yet to be seen is that have we reached the stage where this Youth is also willing to come forward in constituency politics and risk their lives and professional careers for an honest political career.
Last but not least there is an intriguing challenge for youth too that will they be able to deliver to the expectations that PTI,Imran khan and this nation have developed with them or they will disappoint everyone by repeating the mistakes that their elders have made in last three decades. The first test for the Youth will be the next General Elections where their voting trend for various political parties will show how bright or dim our future may be. .
As Hervert Hoover said and I quote:
“Older men declare war. But it is the youth that must fight and die”
The War against corruption and injustice may be declared by Imran Khan but in order to win it,its the youth that has to fight alongside him.Youth has to realize its potential and should try to avoid any kind of egocentric attitude. Its time for youth to forget self-interests and should work for the collective good of the society as its their future that is at stake here.