LAHORE - The British Council Thursday launched its report titled “Next Generation: Insecure Lives, Untold Stories” in Lahore at a global conference in which political leaders lent their support to its recommendations.

The launch of the report, which seeks to understand how conflict and violence shapes the lives of young Pakistanis, was made in the inaugural session of the conference presided over by the Punjab Education and Youth Affairs Minister Rana Mashhood.

The conference was attended by the youth from Northern Ireland in the UK, Myanmar, Philippines, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Jordan, Bosnia Herzegovina, Nigeria, Uganda, Afghanistan, Burundi, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Pakistan and several other nations who have also confronted the legacy of conflict, violent crime and domestic violence.

Rana Mashhood said the present regime realised potential of Pakistan’s young people. “Not just political violence is a binding constrain but criminal and domestic violence also starve young people of opportunities and make it harder for Pakistan to benefit from the demographic dividend that could transform its future,” he added.

He claimed that the situation in this regard was not so alarming in Punjab, the largest province of Pakistan as compared to the other provinces due to the effective youth friendly policies of the Punjab CM Shahbaz Sharif.

The minister urged the need for a large scale programme to address the mental health needs of survivors of violence and the families of victims and to have a similarly ambitious programme to tackle the behaviors of those who perpetrate violence.

“If political will and international support come together, Pakistani community can make a turn around as it has deep reserves of resilience and this resilience can be harnessed in pursuit of a more peaceful future,” he added. The minister said increasing level of conflict and violence across the globe are posing a serious challenge to both the psychological and physical health of youth people.

“Sexual abuse, domestic abuse, land and family disputes, bullying, harassment, honour crimes, use of weapons combined with systemic inequalities and other turbulent situations of conflict in a male dominated society who should be addressed in a proper manner to redress the aftermath of these social evils on the personalities of our young generation,” Mashhood added.  Advisor to the Sindh Chief Minister on Youth Affairs Faisal Sabzwari said we would have to support those who were struggling to eliminate violence from the society.

Earlier, Secretary Youth Affairs Government of the Balochistan Hafiz Abdul Basit, American Research Scholar David Steven, Prof. of Liverpool Hope University, Northern Ireland Prof. Neil Ferguson, Member Next Generation Taskforce Fasih Zaka and Country Head British Council Pakistan Peter Upton expressed their views about the British Council’s landmark report on conflict and violence resolution and suggested a voluntary code of conduct developed by and for the media, to moderate the coverage of violent events.

 The students of LCW University presented a mime “Dawn of Hope” on the occasion.