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KARACHI: Experts in economic, social, educational and political fields on Tuesday called for enactment of long-awaited Sindh youth policy with drastic changes in the existing draft lying with the government.

In a workshop convened by the Civil Society Support Programme (CSSP) at a hotel, the experts critically reviewed the youth policy.

Technical experts weighed the draft in the context of economic development, social empowerment, political and civic engagement of youth and institutional mechanism for policy implementation and set numerous recommendations to improve it.

Noor Bajeer of the CSSP said the youth policy was drafted three years back by the Sindh government but since then there had been no progress on its implementation. He said youth development and empowerment was central to his organisation which was focusing on political and civic education of the youth.

Barrister Zamir Ghumro said the policy needed to be reviewed in the context of the constitution to protect fundamental and democratic rights of youth.

Experts also set forth recommendations. They said disabled and those youths engaged in formal and informal sectors should be focused in the policy through mechanisms to protect their social rights and provide them with adequate opportunities in job market.

They called for linking youths with the job market by establishing close links between educational institutions and public-private sectors.

Establishing micro-enterprise development, youth artisan support programme, life-skill trainings and ensuring youth participation in decision-making forums could adequately develop young population in economics, they said.

In the context of social empowerment, the technical experts added that interfaith harmony and organising religious festivals in schools could enhance tolerance and ensure peace in society.

Introducing cadet courses and scouting at the level of primary grades could be helpful in promoting volunteerism and the role of youth in community services, they added.

They said exposure visits of young people would also ensure their participation in healthy activities.

The experts in political affairs called for the restoration of student unions which had been banned since Gen Ziaul Haq’s regime. They suggested that youth councillors be made focal persons to promote youth-focused activities at the union council level.

They also suggested that the election commission bind political parties to ensure political education within their youth wings and that an awareness campaign was made part of the policy regarding raising awareness among youths of right to information.

Faizullah Korjeo, senior superintendent of police, Karachi South, Kashif Bajeer of the Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, and Iqbal Detho of the Save the Children suggested that a youth development commission be established at different levels and close liaison among different departments such as education, social welfare, law, culture, local government, sport affairs and women development was ensured.

They said that the age of youth should be redefined as 17 to 25 in the Sindh youth policy.

Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2015

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