PESHAWAR, Nov 14: The draft youth policy would be presented to the provincial cabinet within a month for approval that would provide a framework for devising a strategy to empower youth of the province, said Youth Affairs Secretary Syed Jamaluddin.
“We will try to finalise the policy formulation and present it to cabinet for approval,” said Mr Jamaluddin. He added that it was an effort to empower youth for the benefit of the province.
The policy calls for economic, political and social development of youth.
The first draft of the policy, formulated after consultations with youth of the province, was submitted to the standing committee on youth affairs in Oct 2012 while the second draft of the policy was opened for getting feed back from civil society at a consultation held here on Wednesday.
After devolution of powers under the 18th Amendment, the provinces are supposed to have their own policies. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa youth policy is being drafted at a time when the province is going through tough times as population of youth is increasing and security situation is volatile.
Speaking on the occasion, Sabiha Shaheen, executive director of Bargad, said that 220 organisations took part in the consultation process for the policy in 25 districts of the province.
The function was organised jointly by sports, tourism, archaeology and youth affairs department; Bargad, a non-governmental organisation, and UNFPA.
During the process, in-depth interviews of youth, including those in jails, transgender and students of seminaries were conducted. The youth called for peace as well as their financial empowerment, she added.
Ms Shaheen said that her organisation also helped Punjab government to formulate youth policy and was holding the exercise in Gilgit-Baltistan and other provinces.
“Mostly the problems and needs of youth are the same. However, youth in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa seem concerned about insecurity besides unemployment. They want peace,” she said. She added that the policy would ensure employment opportunities for youth.
Provincial Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain said that the youth of the province were diverted towards extremism and terrorism as the syllabus was changed intentionally to instill intolerance in their mind.
He said that the old generation failed the youth and youth should give their views on what they wanted in the policy.
Mr Hussain admitted that youth were not provided with a system in which they could get education and live their lives according to their potential.
He said that government despite challenges set up eight universities and launched Bacha Khan Khpal Rozgaar Scheme worth Rs3 billion to encourage youth for self-employment by providing them with interest-free loans.
The minister said that youth should remain careful and shouldn’t be influenced by extremists.
He said that they should differentiate between extremists and progressive people while voting them to power.
Mr Iqbal Haider But, a consultant, who played key role in formulating youth policy for Punjab and also the new policy being formulated for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said that during interviews with youth including marginalised groups, the issues faced by them were identified.