KARACHI - PPP government in Sindh, almost near completion to its term, has announced to establish a Youth Development Commission and a Venture Capital Fund for bulging population of youngsters.

Provincial Minister for youth affairs, Abid Hussain Bhayo addressing the launching ceremony of the province’s first ever youth policy said Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) headed by a young and charismatic leader and with sizable number of young members is fully conscious of the needs of youngsters.

“Five percent seats will also be reserved for young people in local bodies,” he said mentioning that youth will be involved in decision-making at the municipal and provincial levels while community-service and volunteerism would also be promoted. Through youth-led campaigns, inter-faith harmony will be encouraged, said the minister for youth affairs.

He on the occasion also announced that student unions will be revived and remodeled under the newly announced policy so as to promote pro-peace, women-friendly and student-centered activities on campus.

Bhayo claimed that seriousness of the PPP government in formulating the policy could be well gauged from the fact that technical support of reputable organizations was procured for its formulation.

The minister thanked NGO Bargad and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) along with Oxfam, RHRN and Civil Society Programme (CSSP) for the needed assistance.

He also expressed his gratitude to a number of other civil society, youth organizations and government bodies for spearheading the effort with specific reference to take-on board youth leaders from across the province.

Bhayo reiterated that government being cognizant of the fast growing number of youngsters in the province as well as the country was therefore working towards radical changes that would transform their potential into a driver of growth for the province.

Secretary for Youth Affairs Department,  Dr Niaz Ali Abbasi on the occasion referred to Sindh e-Rozgar scheme that was aimed at creating job opportunities for youth without any formal education. Efforts were said to be also underway to encourage youth entrepreneurship through training at incubation centers, market linkages and partnership with educational institutions.

The event was also addressed by Bargad Executive Director Sabiha Shaheen who claimed that a comprehensive framework has been developed for social, economic and political empowerment of the youngsters.

The activist mentioned that over 5000 youth participated in the consultative process related to policy formulation, between 2012 to 2015 and that it was in light of their suggestions and needs.

“There was a clear roadmap, time-bound strategies, quantified targets and potential partners,” she said. Oxfam Country Director Mohammed Qazilbash said that harnessing the energy and strength of young women and men to become active citizens is core to Oxfam’s goal of transformational change.

Young people in Sindh, he said face multiple forms of inequality and grapple with challenges inherited from previous generations.

This policy ensures youth have the necessary skills and opportunities to define the future for themselves and their province, said Qazilbash.

The ceremony was also addressed by Dr. Kaiser Bengali, Noor Muhammad Bajeer, Chief Executive Officer of Civil Society Program (CSSP), National Coordinator for RHRN, Faisal Shabbir and Abdul Bari, a representative of youth.