Role of Youth in building inclusive and democratic society is critical: Dr. Qibla Ayaz

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Council of Islamic Ideology (CII), Islamabad Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) in collaboration with Institute of Regional Studies (IRS) organized a one-day conference on Engaging Youth for Inclusive and Democratic Pakistan in Islamabad.

The purpose of conference was to recognize the efforts of alumni youth representing diverse religious groups (engaged under PEF’s democracy program) by highlighting their contribution for inclusive and democratic society which is essential to sustain such efforts in future. Ambassador Nadeem Riaz (President – IRS), expressed in his opening remarks that youth is facing challenges of integration in democratic system, nationally and internationally.

Azhar Hussain (President PEF) expressed that youth should play a role in building ethnic and religiously inclusive communities.PEF also organized a panel discussion to move forward with academic discourse on ‘Youth Integration in Democratic Process-Prospects and Way Forward’ with experts from relevant field and institutions including Zafarullah Khan (Former Director, Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services), Ms. Shaheera Jalil Albasit, (Youth Activist leading Youth Election Quota Campaign in Pakistan) Dr. Shams-ur-Rehman (Chairman, Interfaith Studies Department, Allama Iqbal Open University) and Dr. Nadeem Abbass (Religious scholar and faculty member, NUML university). Zafar Ullah Khan expressed his views that youth participation in democracy is always perceived as a challenge which needs to be changed by mobilizing their potential. Ms. Shaheera also shared her journey of passing the bill for youth quota election campaign in Pakistan that youth is always said to be the future of the country but they are excluded from the present. Dr. Junaid Ahmed the guest of honor emphasized on giving direction and orientation to youth. Dr. Qibla Ayaz (Chairman Council of Islamic Ideology) emphasized that youth must be prepared to carry the legacy, often we systematically suppress their potential and talent by not valuing their opinion.

Diverse youth groups from religio-political groups and parties and university also joined the event. Civil society and government representatives also attended the conference and appreciated PEF’s efforts in engaging youth for inclusive and democratic Pakistan.

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