The Platform

Young Pakistani women. (Tahsin Shah)

Pakistan’s youth are slated to move the country forward politically.

The Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 as a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people enjoy some level of peace and prosperity. Pakistan ranks 129 out of 165 countries in a recent Sustainable Development Goals ranking, with an overall score of 57 percent, thanks to its progress on climate action.

Since its independence, Pakistan’s political system has fluctuated between civilian and military rule, mainly due to political instability and corruption.

Aitzaz Ahsan is a well-respected barrister, veteran politician, constitutional theorist, and the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate. In an interview in 2015, Ahsan said the best way to strengthen democracy is through good governance. As long as a corrupt government is in power, democracy will continue to remain weak. The only way forward is to establish an incorruptible government that is accountable.

Speaking at an institute in Lahore, Ahsan said that democracy is the legal right of every Pakistani and our responsibility is to serve it by participating. He explained that democracy will prevail when every segment of society respects one another.

Ahsan discouraged a system in which the lower class is not treated equally. He went on to suggest that the rule of law has no power until it is reflected in our way of thinking, in our attitudes, and in our personalities. He also accepted the fact that we have to ensure a better Pakistan for future generations. Political stability requires that every individual participates in the democratic process.

To their credit, Pakistani youth have exercised their political rights in past general elections. A study by Unleash Hacks identified youth participation in democratic practices and political activities. The study introduced a new theory of “Youth-Inn” which indicated continuous youth participation and involvement in community problem-solving.

The study looked at the present political scenario of Pakistan and youth participation in building political structures. The study was quantitative in nature and data was collected through random sampling techniques. Hundreds of respondents participated from two provinces, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The objective of the study was to highlight the performance of youth activists, their contribution to political participation, their role in political parties, and their interest in political and social matters.

The findings of the study suggested that youth in Pakistan are increasingly participating in democratic, social, and political activities, which are their most basic and core responsibilities.

Pakistani youth comprise 27% of the country’s population, while 63% of young people are literate and 49% are employed. Youth in Pakistan hold an enormous quantity of energy that can be used to move the country forward. Now is the perfect time for the youth of Pakistan to be more productive and creative but the government must provide them with the tools to contribute to society.

I dedicated this article to my beloved Aunt Rabbea Anwar, Barrister Aaitzaz Ahsan, and to my mentor, Advocate Usman Sheikh.

Laiba Imran is a law student at the Pakistan College of Law. She is also a social worker. She currently works with Youth General Assembly as a deputy-secretary general.