Published Date: Sep 30, 2014
Discussing democracy: Role of youth should be enhanced, says Asad Umar
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s Asad Umar sees little youth
activism beyond the boundaries of political parties. He says the youth
is informed about events but they are uninformed about ideas, history
and ideologies. "I don’t see youth-based movements in Pakistan."
Umar, along with Lt Gen (retd) Talat Masood and Dr Farzana Bari of
the Awami Workers Party (AWP) were sharing their views during an
‘intellectual debate’ at a seminar tilted ‘Democracy, Development and
the Role of Youth’ held at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute
The PTI lawmaker was of the view that making the youth think, read
and learn instead of just raising slogans should be the priority and
more youth voices should be included in the process of ‘change’.
“We have 35 percent reserve seats for the youth in the
Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Assembly and the party funds were only given to the
youth.” There should be a quota in the parliament for them as well the
way we have reserve seats for women and minorities, he added.
While commenting on the first nexus of the topic, Umar said priorities were not consistent with the needs of people in Pakistan.
Non-democratic attitude of the political parties was another problem,
he said. “Without the devolution of powers, there won’t be any
democracy and development.” While answering a question, Umar said that
local body elections could not take place in K-P because of delimitation
Masood, while giving an overview of history, said strengthening
political parties and departing from dynastic politics was the need of
the hour. “At the moment, dynastic parties will never introduce a
merit-based system in their parties.” He was of the view that we needed
to strengthen all the institutions and the army should play an important
role in doing so.
He emphasised that the civil-military dialogue must continue to
dismiss the perception that it was army weakening the government, adding
that strengthening democracy meant making institutions strong enough so
they start delivering. “No accountability makes the system weak.”
Democracy cannot be reduced to holding elections in the country, said
Bari. The non-democratic attitude of the Chaudhrys, Makhdooms and
tribal and feudal lords was a problem in the way of development, she
said, adding that we have not yet reached to the stage where we have
freedom of choices. She was of the view that there will be no way for
the poor to reach to the assemblies in the absence of land and electoral
Among other things, the age limit for becoming a member of the
assembly was also discussed. To the question why a person was not
allowed to contest elections at the age of 18 when he or she has the
right to elect someone, Umar concluded that the age limit should be
challenged in the court as there should not be any restriction on a
person for becoming a parliamentarian when the same person was old
enough to die for a country and choose an MNA and MPA of their choice.
Source : http://tribune.com.pk/story/768901/discussing-democracy-role-of-youth-should-be-enhanced-says-asad-umar/