August 12, 2020

                                          By Haider Kaleem



In 1999, the General Assembly endorsed the recommendation made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth (Lisbon, 8-12 August 1998) that 12 August be declared International Youth Day.

International Youth Day gives an opportunity to celebrate and mainstream young peoples’ voices, actions, and initiatives, as well as their meaningful, universal, and equitable engagement. The commemoration will take the form of a podcast-style discussion that is hosted by youth for youth, together with independently organized commemorations around the world that recognize the importance of youth participation in political, economic, and social life and processes.

2020 Theme: Youth Engagement for Global Action

The theme of International Youth Day 2020, “Youth Engagement for Global Action” seeks to highlight the ways in which the engagement of young people at the local, national and global levels is enriching national and multilateral institutions and processes, as well as draw lessons on how their representation and engagement in formal institutional politics can be significantly enhanced.

The ruling party’s promise

The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) had promised to focus on youth and their whole election campaign was entirely focused on the Pakistani youth. They made many claims and promises in their election manifesto for the General Elections of 2018.

PTI will strengthen the labour market and create 10 million jobs over 5 years in key sectors: Small-medium enterprises, housing, ICT, health, education, green economy and tourism. Article 38 of the constitution states that the “state shall provide for all citizens, within the available resources of the country, facilities for work and adequate

Livelihood”. Approximately two million additional youth enter the labor force each year, which totals to 10 million over the next 5 years. We believe Pakistan’s youth can become its biggest asset. However, if we do not take action, the youth dividend can also become our biggest challenge and lead to drastic economic and social consequences.

Pakistan: Hopes & Dreams spoke to young citizens in the provincial capitals of Pakistan to bring their voices forward during the critical times under the global pandemic. We have observed that most of the youth feels to have been ignored and betrayed by the governments. This situation has pushed them towards demanding a new political reality to achieve a new social contract with the state which guarantees them opportunities for the future and protects their rights.

As the youth is rising for peace, justice, and organizing for climate action globally, it has also created an impact on the Pakistani youth by changing their political consciousness resulting in a push to work more for socio-political causes on a local and national level.

The reason to focus on the urban centers is that most of the youth aspire to settle in cities like Lahore, Karachi, Quetta, and Peshawar to live a fast-paced life and more career-building opportunities, especially from the peripheral areas of Pakistan.

Most of the young folks shared their concerns related to the rise in unemployment, downsizing and pay cuts, and the silence of the responsible stakeholders over the matter despite several promises with the youth.

But the government’s claims have so far have not turned into reality, in fact, the pandemic has added more worries for the youth of Pakistan. Here is our conversation with the youth and their expectations.