ISLAMABAD -

Young people dominate electoral demography of the country and hold the key to unlock rusted governance on May 11, said Zafarullah Khan, Executive Director of Centre for Civic Education at Youth Festival arranged to encourage youth participation at Department of History, Quaid-i-Azam University.

"About 48.45 per cent voters in new electoral rolls are below 35 years of age, whereas the total turnout during the last election was 44.55 per cent," he mentioned and opined that only young segment can change the democratic destiny of the nation if they vote prudently. He urged the youth to actively participate in electoral process and choose representatives of their choice on the basis of their programmes and manifestoes.

The event was jointly organised by the Center for Civic Education Pakistan and Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan (IUCPSS) in connection with the Voter Awareness Campaign-2013. The National Endowment for Democracy supported the initiative. The main objective of the weeklong advocacy campaign was to equip university students with the necessary civic knowledge and skills to make an informed choice at the polling booths.  Khan said that university campuses have always been hub of ideas and change. Therefore, democratic debates and discussions at campuses will act as a catalyst to determine the future of Pakistan. He also emphasized the young participants to engage in a democratic dialogue with their parents, friends and neighbors and vanguard their right to be governed democratically.

Prof. Dr. Razia Sultana, Chairperson Department of History, and focal person IUCPSS at QUA, appreciated the efforts of CCEP for undertaking number of useful and informative awareness programs among the youth, a major proportion of population of Pakistan. On the occasion, stalls were also displayed for disseminating information and distribution of printed material on election and democracy. The students took keen interest in the activity and vowed to play their due role.  A participant voiced to allow postal ballot facility for students studying in various parts of the country.

The Center and Inter University Consortium for Promotion of Social Sciences Pakistan have earlier organised similar youth festivals at the University of Gujrat and University of Haripur. Addressing on these occasions, Prof. Dr. Muhammad Nizanuddin, Vice Chancellor University of Gujrat/Chairperson IUCPSS and Dr. Nasser Ali Khan Vice Chancellor University of Haripur highlighted the importance of vote.  "Pakistan was created on the strength of vote and can survive and progress through the same route," said the speakers at these festivals.

They also highlighted that after recent constitutional reforms the country has an independent Election Commission and neutral caretakers to facilitate the first-ever civilian to civilian transfer of power and that should be a reason to celebrate.