ISLAMABAD - The Youth Parliament provides an ideal forum to learn and accept that there exists different prisms, ethnicities, languages and cultures in Pakistan. It is a tremendous privilege to represent fellow citizens and this privilege should not be maligned.
These views were shared by speakers at the launching ceremony of PILDAT's 6th Youth Parliament Pakistan (YPP) 2014. The 60 young selected candidates from across the country attended the event.
Khurrum Dastgir, Federal Minister of Commerce, Jesper Moller Sorensen, Ambassador of Denmark to Pakistan, Faisal Karim Kundi, Patron Youth Parliament Pakistan, Wazir Ahmed Jogezai, former Deputy Speaker National Assembly, Murad MNA Saeed were present at the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Dastgir said that illiteracy on democracy is lacking worse than general illiteracy and PILDAT, through the Youth Parliament, as with other initiatives, is contributing to removing this illiteracy.
He said that the first lesson that he learnt in Parliament was that there exist other perspectives and prisms on Pakistan other than those coming from Punjab. The mere tolerance of other ethnicities, language and cultures is not democracy but accepting these as legitimate is the first lesson of democracy, he asserted.
Addressing the young leaders, the Danish Ambassador said that the YPP aimed to provide the young members with numerous opportunities to understand, to engage in and also to question the process of democracy.
Ambassador Sorensen stated, "Democracy starts when we learn to listen to others and give space to opinions which may differ from ours. And this is more important than ever, as the global economy is connecting us more than ever."
Speaking on the occasion, MNA Shaza Fatima Khawaja said that the young members must make the most of this experience as such an opportunity was not available to MNAs like her before entering politics. She advised youth that youth must strive to achieve integrity in public life. She also said that Parliament and politics though are much maligned terms in Pakistan, these are the best mediums for public service.
In his remarks, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, said that Pakistan needs to strengthen its democratic institutions and inculcate democratic culture in the society.
"We need to discourage extremist tendencies and lack of tolerance for others' beliefs and views and strengthen the rule of law," he said.
The 6th Youth Parliament Pakistan (2014) will have an enhanced role as the Youth Standing Committee will be focused on reviewing critical policy issues and be tasked with developing cogent policy alternatives for the Parliament and the Government of Pakistan.