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The Express Tribune

Published Date: Feb 24, 2015

Discussing democracy: ‘Ban on student unions a major impediment’

ISLAMABAD: Lack of trust in
the political system and political parties, a ban on student unions,
unimpressive youth programmes and depoliticisation are major impediments
in the promotion of democracy in the country.

This was the crux of speeches made at a seminar titled “Youth and
Democratic Development in Pakistan”, organised here on Monday by the
Sustainable Development Programme Institution (SDPI) in collaboration
with Centre for International Private Enterprise.

Awami National Party Women Wing Vice-President Bushra Gohar said that
though the youth remained involved in politics from day-one, the ban on
student unions placed by the Zia regime forced them out of the
political process, causing a dearth of young political leadership.


“Democracy has not flourished in Pakistan and democracy is the name
of some values and norms. Simply entering politics does not equal
democracy,” Gohar said, adding that as a nation, “We are confused about

“We are in a fix whether to run the country democratically or make it
a security state. Our syllabus does not teach the Constitution of
Pakistan and the youth know little about the basics of our democracy,”
she said, adding that the narrative of dictatorships and security were
scaring people, and the media was playing a negative role.

Pakistan Peoples Party Senator Osman Saifullah said that there was
little democracy within political parties. He said he was not in favour
of student politics at school and college levels, emphasising the need
to improve the quality of education first.

Muttahida Qaumi Movement MNA Dr Fauzia Hameed supported student
politics, saying that 43 per cent of the country’s population fell under
the youth category and prosperity would only come by involving them.

SDPI Senior Research Associate Shakil Ramay and other also spoke at the event.

Source :