Good Governance and Youth Leadership

Date: 15 June 2021

Summary: Transparency International Pakistan organized a Webinar on “Good Governance and Youth Leadership” on June 15, 2021.

The webinar was attended by 25 participants from different civil society organization and the general citizens. The webinar started with a brief introduction of Transparency International Pakistan. Ms. Faiza Mubarak, Assistant Project Coordinator – TI Pakistan gave an overview about the role of TI Pakistan and highlighted its key projects of past and present. After that Mr. Kashif Ali, Program Manager – TI Pakistan gave a presentation on the “Role of youth in Fostering Good Governance”. Mr. Kashif highlighted the importance of youth and their role in building the society with democratic values. He shared that according to Human Development Report of United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), more than 60% of Pakistan’s population is youth that is within the age bracket from 15-29 years. It shows their potential and their possible impact on the society. Mr. Kashif pointed out that TI Pakistan has been working on Youth Engagement through various programs and seeking to sensitize youth about harmful effects of corruption and fostering good values such as honesty, integrity, transparency, ethics and social responsibility. He said that TI Pakistan wants to see young generation emerging as agents of change through maximum participation against corrupt practices at all levels, and to promote transparency and accountability. Mr. Kashif also pointed out the depleting freedom of civil society in Pakistan which is preventing our youth from playing a key role.

Next, Mr. Ashfaque Ahmed, Project Coordinator – TI Pakistan gave a detailed presentation on the rationale behind access to information laws in the country, and the challenges being faced in their implementation. He said that despite all the four provinces including the federal government have improved RTI laws which are instrumental in fostering transparency and accountability, however, the implementation has been a challenge. The main implementing hurdles are weak public awareness about these laws, discouraging response by the public bodies in addressing RTI requests, budgeting issues, and delaying tactics adopting by the public bodies in processing RTI requests. Mr. Ashfaque highlighted that many departments have not even appointed their Public Information Officers (PIOs), and their work has been assigned partially to others. He stressed on the need of collaborative efforts by the civil society organizations for the effective implementation of RTI laws so that the citizens could bear its fruits.

After the presentations, the forum was opened for discussion. One of the participants, Mr. Haider Ali pointed out that rural areas should be given priorities when organizing such awareness sessions. Particularly, post COVID, the youth of rural areas have been very hopeless now. They do not have proper access to education, and their chances of getting any job or starting their own business are very low. He also pointed out that student Unions should be set up across all the universities to politically aware our youth. This approach will weaken Ancestral/family politics and provide strength to our institutions. Youth despite its large numbers, is unable to have political representation in the National Assembly and Parliaments of Pakistan. He highlighted that youth should be engaged in active politics by including them in the local governments.

Another participant, Ms. Azra Jamal highlighted youth unemployment is a key issue. She was of the view that youth should explore other venues of business despite just applying for government jobs. She said that they are wasting their time and energies because the government cannot provide jobs to everyone.

Mr. Iftikhar pointed out that the youth should break the dangerous trend of spreading fake news on social media.

While Ms. Fatima emphasized on the importance of enhancing media literacy among the youth. She said nowadays, anyone who has a smart phone has become a journalist. The capacity of the youth needs to be enhanced in media literacy and understanding.

Towards the end, TI Pakistan appreciated the active engagement of youth and their recommendations. It was highlighted that TI Pakistan will continue this engagement with youth through various platforms with an aim to hear their voices and collectively draft recommendations for enhancing the role of youth in the decision making.

The participants also praised TI Pakistan efforts for such an interactive and informative session, and requested that these interactive sessions should be held frequently.