LAHORE  -   The Progressive Youth Alliance (PYA) held its second annual convention titled ‘Economic, Social Cultural Changes and the Problems Faced by Youth’ at Bakhtikhar Labour Hall on Saturday.

PYA, a political union of students from across the country, was supposed to arrange its two-day convention at Aiwan-e-Iqbal. However, the venue was changed to Bakhtiar Labor Hall at Lakshami Chowk as the district administration cancelled its no-objection certificate at the eleventh hour. A spokesperson for the district administration said he was oblivious of the issue. “I don’t have any information of the matter,” the official said

An organiser of PYA, Adeel Hassan Zaidi told The Nation that they approached District Intelligence Committee, whose convener is the DC. “We inquired about the reason for cancelling the NOC but to no avail,” he said.  He condemned the act, describing it as at “an attack on democratic right of youth”.  He claimed PYA waited for the official concerned for three hours but returned without response.   Students from various educational institutes participated in the convention. They raised the demands for restoration of students unions. They also presented music, poetry with traditional dances. The resolutions adopted at the conventions included provision of free education, end to class-based education system, demand for restoration of student unions, representation of students in all decision-making bodies of education institutes, strict action against harassment, notable representation of girl students in unions, nationalise private educational institutes and awarding of allowance to unemployed youth. Speaking on the occasion, newly-elected chairperson of PYA Umar Riaz said the rulers had spent billions of rupees to influence unionism to attain their political benefits. Arooj Mansha from National College of Modern Sciences highlighted the issues of girl students in small towns.  Khalid Mandokhel from Balochistan University stressed for raising voice for students’ rights. Amir Yaqub of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Law College, Malir Karachi; said the problems of all the poor students of Karachi were same but the ruling elite had divided them over ethnic basis in Karachi.

The participants also rally from Bakhtiar Labour Hall to Lahore Press Club.