Inaugural Session Summary (June 23, 2014 to June 27,2014)

Day 1 : June 23, 2014

The Orientation

Islamabad, June 24; The inaugural session of 6th Youth Parliament Pakistan 2014, began this Monday and will continue over the course of five days until June 27, 2014.

Facilitated by PILDAT, the Youth Parliament Pakistan is patterned after the National Assembly of Pakistan. Its membership is drawn from young Pakistanis aged between 18-29 years from Balochistan, KP, Punjab, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan, AJK and FATA.

The 6th Youth Parliament Pakistan (2014) will have an enhanced role as the Youth Standing Committee will be focused on reviewing critical policy issues and be tasked with developing cogent policy alternatives for the Parliament and the Government of Pakistan.

A total of 2081 Expressions of Interest, a record high compared to the previous 5 batches, were received for the 6th Youth Parliament Pakistan (2014). 93% of the applicants were male while 7% were female. Geographically, most of the EOIs received were from Punjab (49%), the rest of the distribution is as follows: Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 20%, Sindh: 14%, Balochistan: 7%, Azad Jammu and Kashmir: 4%, Federally Administered Tribal Areas: 3%, GilgitBaltistan: 2% and Islamabad Capital Territory: 1%.

The total membership of Youth Parliament is 60. There are 16 female (27%) and 44 male (73%) members of the 6th Youth Parliament Pakistan (2014). The Blue Party commands a majority with 78% of the seats, whilst the Green Party holds 22% of the seats.

28 seats are allocated to the Punjab province, 13 to Sindh, 7 to Khyber Pakhtinkhwa, 4 to Balochistan and 2 each to Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT), Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Azad Jammu & Kashmir (AJK) and GilgitBaltistan (GB).

Only those young Pakistanis who were between the ages of 18-29 years on January 01, 2014 were eligible to apply for membership of the Youth Parliament Pakistan. The average age for a member of the 6th Youth Parliament is 22 years and 3 months. The merit based selection process for the 6th Youth Parliament has been led by an independent Steering Committee.

 

Day 2 : June 24, 2014

Following an orientation for new members, the Youth Parliament session officially began with oath-taking of the members today. While Mr. Wazir Ahmed Jogazai, former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan, has graciously agreed to chair the Youth Parliament Pakistan as its Speaker, election to the office of the Youth Deputy Speaker will be held during the first session. The agenda of first session also includes ascertainment of the Member who commands the confidence of the majority of the Members as Youth Prime Minister. The Opposition benches will also choose a Youth Leader of the Opposition. Standing Committees of the Youth Parliament Pakistan will also be elected during the first session, along with the Committee Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Secretaries.

An Orientation session was held for Members of the 6th Youth Parliament in which they were briefed on their roles and responsibilities.Mr.Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, shared with MYPs the key changes in the YPP model centred around strengthening the role of YPP Standing Committees. MYPs were shown a roadmap enunciating the rules and guidelines for the committee reports with explaining the nature of the committees with tentative deadlines for entire parliamentary year 2014.

The day concluded with the first meetings of the six Youth Standing Committees, namely: National Security; Foreign Affairs; Finance, Economics Affairs and Planning; Transport; Education and Youth Affairs; and Energy.

 

Day 3 : June 25, 2014

Presentation by MTBF consultant Nohman Ishtiaq

June 25: Budget deficit due to discrepancy between accumulated revenue and Government's expenditure is one of the reasons of failure of meeting the set fiscal targets of successive Governments, said Mr. Nohman Ishtiaq, on the third day of the inaugural session of the 6th Youth Parliament Pakistan (2014).

Mr. Nohman Ishtiaq, Management Consultant with the Ministry of Finance, gave Members of the Youth Parliament Pakistan an informative presentation regarding budget and its aspects like budget in brief, annual budget statement and estimates of the foreign investment. He shed light on the role of Parliament in budget scrutiny and accountability of elected Governments in overseeing performance and commitment in achieving the targets outlined in the budget.

He stated that due to article 84 of the Constitution, Government is the sole entity in determining the direction of budget which makes the budget less immune to public scrutiny hence giving Government a free hand.

In the penultimate section of his presentation, Mr. Ishtiaq briefly analyzed the Federal Budget 2014-2015 presented by the incumbent Government of Pakistan and shared facts and figures about the current percentage of the GDP, Annual Investment Rate, Annual Revenue Accumulation and the prospects of a steady rise of national GDP. Identifying the causes of a shallow economy of Pakistan, he maintained that the primary reason which international agencies and financial institutions have identified about the failure of Pakistan to meet the fiscal targets and budgetary goals stem out of corruption, mismanagement of resources and bad governance only to be followed by poor security and law and order situation of the country.

Following the adjournment of the plenary session, the MYP’s held political party meetings. The Blue party after a general and subsequent run-off election selected Mr. Aqeel Ahmed (YP14-KP02)as the leader of the blue party while Mr. Muhammad Shahzar Illahi (YP56-SINDH09) emerged as the leader of the green party. Ms. Filza Marri (YP52-SINDH05) from the Blue party after general and runoff election was elected as Blue party contender for the post of Deputy Speaker Youth Parliament.

 

Day-4 : June 26, 2014

Islamabad, June 26;


The formal elections of the Youth Prime Minister Youth parliament held during a short plenary session on the 4th day of the 1st session which was followed by the identification process ofthe Youth Deputy Speaker. As per the results Mr.Aqeel Ahmed (YP14-KP02) was elected as the Prime minster and Ms. Filza Marri (YP52-SINDH05) was elected as deputy speaker Youth Parliament Pakistan.

 

The Inauguration

Youth Parliament provides an ideal forum to learn and accept that there exist different prisms, ethnicities, language and cultures in Pakistan. It is a tremendous privilege to represent fellow citizens and this privilege should not be maligned. These views were shared by Speakers at the launching ceremony of PILDAT’s 6th Youth Parliament Pakistan (YPP) 2014.

The 60 young selected candidatesfrom across the country were welcomed by Honourable Engr. Khurrum Dastgir Khan, MNA, Federal Minister of Commerce, H.E. Mr.Jesper Moller Sorensen, Ambassador of Denmark to Pakistan, Mr. Faisal Karim Kundi, Patron Youth Parliament Pakistan and former Deputy Speaker of National Assembly of Pakistan, Mr. Wazir Ahmed Jogezai, Former Deputy Speaker, National Assembly of Pakistan, Ms. Shaza Fatima Khawaja, MNA, Mr. Murad Saeed, MNA, among others.

As a model Parliament for young people, the Youth Parliament Pakistan is patterned after the National Assembly of Pakistan. The Government of Denmark has through its development assistance been supporting PILDAT’s Youth Parliament Program since 2010 with the aim to promote democracy in Pakistan, especially among the youth.

Speaking on the occasion, Honourable Engr. Khurrum Dastgir Khan, MNA, Federal Minister of Commerce, thanked the consistent support of the illustrious Standing Committee of Youth Parliament in making successful what he termed as the “tremendous endeavor of the Youth Parliament Pakistan.” He especially thanked the Danish Ambassador the support and contribution of the Danish Government for the Youth Parliament initiative. Mr. Khan said that illiteracy on democracy is lacking worse than general illiteracy and PILDAT, through the Youth Parliament, as with other initiatives, is contributing to removing this illiteracy.

Democracy is an understanding with the citizens to take them along towards greater public good. He said that the first lesson that he learnt in Parliament was that there exist other perspectives and prisms on Pakistan other than those coming from Punjab. He hoped that this lesson will be learnt by MYPs as well that there exist different prisms of looking at this country that we call home. The mere tolerance of other ethnicities, language and cultures is not democracy but accepting these as legitimate is the first lesson of democracy. He said that in democracy and governance, taking everyone along is the first challenge. He said that Parliament, at its foundation is a contest of ideas. It is a tremendous privilege to represent fellow citizens and to sit at a table where decisions are made. This privilege should not be maligned. He also said that in public service, good intentions alone are not sufficient. A consistent effort is required both in reforms and in taking people along. He also said that fruits of democracy never automatically fall in your lap; democracy requires sustained and tireless effort. He also quoted AmartyaSen by saying that it is incorrect to think that a country does not deem to be fit for democracy, it has to be made fit through democracy. Pakistan’s present and future prosperity is tied to the sustainability of representative democracy.

Addressing the young leaders,Danish Ambassador, H.E. Mr. Jesper Moller Sorensen said that the YPP aimed to provide the young members with numerous opportunities to understand, to engage in and also to question the process of democracy. Ambassador Sorensen stated that “Democracy starts when we learn to listen to others and give space to opinions which may differ from ours. And this is more important than ever, as the global economy is connecting us more than ever.”

In his remarks, Ambassador Sorensen talked about the youth as the driver of change. “The future is always somewhat uncertain – but what is certain to me is that it will be the young people of Pakistan who determine what the future will be”, he said.

He also encouraged the young parliamentarians to get the most out of the program to the benefit of their country. “I am strongly convinced that you cannot talk about democracy or civil empowerment without engaging the youth. This program is therefore a great opportunity for you to learn about civic responsibility, team work, tolerance and respect for other people’s opinion.”

Mr. Faisal Karim Kundi, Patron of Youth Parliament Pakistan and former Deputy Speaker National Assembly of Pakistan, thanked the Danish Embassy for providing support to continue an important initiative such as Youth Parliament aimed at Pakistani youth’s leadership skills.

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Shaza Fatima Khawaja, MNA, welcomed the PILDAT initiative of Youth Parliament and said that the young members must make the most of this experience as such an opportunity was not available to MNAs like her before entering politics. She advised youth that youth must strive to achieve integrity in public life. She also said that Parliament and politics though are much maligned terms in Pakistan, these are the best mediums for public service.

Mr. Murad Saeed, MNA, congratulated the young members on their selection and advised them to use the opportunity of learning and leadership skills to the fullest.

Ms. Maleeka Bukhari, Advocate, appreciated PILDAT’s contribution towards Pakistani youth’s development and advised young members to focus on the critical review of both existing policies and legislation in order to improve the lives of the citizens.

Welcoming the Honourable Guests and members of Youth Parliament Pakistan, Mr. Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, President PILDAT, said that PILDAT has completed 5 cycles of YPPs in 7 Years, adding that initiating an idea is the most important test of the success of an idea. The 6th Youth Parliament marks a new phase in the life of the institution. A record 2000 Expressions of Interest were received for this batch. The steady rise indicates increasing interest and trust from the Youth of Pakistan in the Youth Parliament Pakistan. He said that in this batch, there is a further strengthening of the six Standing Committees is envisioned. These Committees will examine 12 key policy areas of the Federal Government over one year term and will come up with substantive policy recommendations representing the youth perspective on such diverse subjects as Foreign Policy, National Security, Education, Economy, Constitutional and Legal Reforms. These recommendations will then be shared with the Government, the Parliamentary Committees and eventually the media. Mr. Mehboobsaidthat Pakistan needs to strengthen its democratic institutions and inculcate democratic culture in the society. We need to discourage extremist tendencies and lack of tolerance for others’ beliefs and views and strengthen the rule of law. Through initiatives such as the Youth Parliament, we hope that open and informed debate in the YPP on issues facing the society will promote the cause of democracy in Pakistan.

 

Day 5: June 27, 2014
Announcement of OfficeBearers


Islamabad, June 27: The concluding day of the first session of the 6thYouth Parliament Pakistan (2014) saw Youth Prime Minister announcing the Youth Cabinet. The Cabinet includes Ms. SakinaGulab (YP19-KP07) Youth Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Mr. Asmatullah Asmi (YP04-BALOCHISTAN02) Youth Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Syed Muhammad Abdullah (YP07-FATA01) Youth Minster for transport, Mr. Muhammad Furqan Khan (YP55-SINDH08)Youth Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning, Mr. Ajab Khan (YP05-BALOCHISTAN03) Youth Minster for Energy and, Mr. Jahanzeb Baloch (YP03-BALOCHISTAN03), Youth Minister for National Security. The Youth Cabinet was sworn in by Youth Deputy Speaker Ms. Filza Marri (YP52 –SINDH05).

The Leader of the opposition announced Shadow Cabinet. The following shadow portfolios were allotted to the members; Syed Muhammad Modassar (YP60-SINDH12), Youth Shadow Minister for National Security, Mr. Junaid Iqbal (YP33-PUNJAB14), Youth Shadow Minister for Energy, Ms. Samiya Mujtaba (Y42-PUNJAB23) Youth Shadow Minister for Education& Youth Affairs, Mr. Saffi Hassam (YP41-PUNJAB22) Youth Shadow Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning and Mr. Ali Shan Khan (YP13-KP01) Youth Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Following the short plenary session, the Standing Committees met and selected their Committee Chairs. As per the election results, Ms. Anum, Tariq Khan (YP27-PUNJAB08) was elected as Chairman Committee on Energy, Mr. Mizghan Mehboob Kirmani (YP54-SINDH07) Chairman Standing Committee on Education and Youth Affairs, Ms. Maria Malik (YP35-PUNJAB16), Chairman Standing committee on Transport, Mr. Daniyal Alvi(YP50-SINDH03) Chairman Standing Committee Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Sohaib Saeed (YP02-AJK 02) elected as Chairman Standing committee on Finance, Economic Affairs and Planning. Thereafter, the Committee members discussed their options for policy review and planned their activities for the parliamentary year.

The Standing Committees of 6thYouth Parliament Pakistan (2014) are tasked with developing policy reviews and present those to the Parliament, Government of Pakistan and media.

 
Youth Prime Minister Aqeel Ahmed (YP14 KP02) and Leader of Opposition Muhammad Shahzar Illahi (YP56 SINDH09) present souvenirs to the Danish Ambassador to Pakistan H.E. Mr Jesper Sorenson and to Federal Minister of Commerce Khuram Dastgir Khan.
 
Members of Youth Parliament sign up for Orientation on Day One of the First Session.
 
Standing Committee on National Security discussing areas of focus for the Committee.
 
MYPs cast the ballot for election of the Youth Deputy Speaker.
 
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