'Awards denied to deserving youth'

ISLAMABAD-The alleged nepotism practised in removing the names of some youth representatives from the National Youth Award 2008-9 list as well as replacing them in the delegation that visited China last month has left the deserving youth with no option but to unite against Youth Ministry. Although regarding youth projects the high-ups of the Ministry of Youth Affairs have always claimed that great transparency was undertaken in selecting youngsters purely on merit and on the laid down eligibility criterion yet TheNation has reliably learnt that violation of set rules was practised in removing the youngsters from the National Youth Award 2008-9 and youth delegation, which visited China from 19th to 27th April this year. According to a deprived youngster, 14 youngsters names were deleted from the list of NYA 2008-09 while 37 were replaced from the list of China visit. The Ministry had invited applications from Pakistani nationals including those from AJK to participate in the National Youth Award 2007-08 on May 31st 2008. The sources said that preliminary committee, headed by Senior Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and comprising Deputy Secretary (Admin), Computer Trainer and experts in relevant fields had a series of meetings from 3rd to 14th July 2008 to scrutinize and shortlist the nominations for recommending at least three persons in each category. The shortlisted nominations were published in the Working Paper for the Selection Committee. About the final selection, deprived youth told TheNation that they had already been informed one day earlier of the formal announcement of award to remain in the city, but the changes were made at the eleventh hour. Commenting on the issue, Muhsina Karamat who has done outstanding achievements in the field of culture told TheNation that two months after applying, she was contacted by the Ministrys official and informed that she stood in a good position. They also demanded some additional record of achievements, she added. Later, she continued, when a private TV channel contacted her for commenting on her replacement issue only then she came to know about her selection. Being a girl, I could not investigate, still I and my father at numerous times called and sent mails to Ministry, but with no response, she noted. Another deprived youngster Sajjad Nisar said that around four days before announcement, he was informed by a third party about his selection for the fist prize in the field of Science and Technology. But the announcement of award was really shocking for me as my name was not in the list of winners, he added. After that, Nisar described that he managed to obtain the official document of jury decision, which was a 100-page document with names and profiles of participants and comments of a jury. Another deserving youngster Naveed Khan of NWFP said that inquiry must be conducted for probing the matter of unjust favouritism of the Ministry. Besides that the Ministrys alleged favouritism deprived the deserving youth from the China delegation. While talking about replacement issue, Anis-ur-Rehman, a youngster who had been dropped from the list of the delegation informed that when the visas were stamped all the participants had been chosen by the Ministrys official to submit their required documents. Following the instructions, we had submitted documents to the Ministry in the beginning of April, but at the eleventh hour, 37 delegates were deleted from the list, he alleged. Arif Malik, PRO Ministry of Youth Affairs, completely rebutted the allegations levelled against the Ministry by some youths and said that all awards had been given on merit and there was no nepotism or favouritism in the selection process. If 400 youngsters apply, definitely 399 would be rejected while only one in the specific category would succeed in getting the award. The unsuccessful applicants allege such baseless things against the Ministry while the jury decides award winners strictly following merit and transparency, he added.

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