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CF member mobilizes fellow Pakistani youth to stand up for freedom and democracy at election time

by Hayley Lapalme on 14th May, 2013 at 12:46 PM CEST

CF member mobilizes fellow Pakistani youth to stand up for freedom and democracy at election time

by Hayley Lapalme with an interview from JawadNazir

Earlier this week, Pakistan made it first transition from one democratically elected government – it’s first ever - to another.  Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister (for the third time) in a relatively smooth transition of power.  It was a disappointment for many Pakistani youth who turned out to support Imran Khan, the runner up and the former cricket star who promised to rid Pakistan of corruption if he were elected.  JawadNazir is a CF community member from Rawalpindi and Pakistani youth who not only turned up at the massive Imran Khan rallies attended by youth-led crowds, but also spent the weeks running up to the May 11th election working to mobilize youth in the election.

Roughly two-thirds of Pakistan’s population consists of youth.  It’s a population that Nazir says “can drive this country either to the horizons of success or darkness of night.”

Nazir’s goal was simple: to advance freedom and civic engagement in Pakistan.  “In our society we do have the right to vote, but we do not realize the importance and significance of vote.”  Nazir’s approach to this problem was to organize a three-day workshop called “Principles of a Free Society” in order to bring youth together to sensitize them to their potential power, and to discuss their ideas around civil society, democracy, and freedom.  The three-day event was hosted by PRIME Freedom Academy in Murree, north of the capital city Islamabad.

Nazir explained that there is a gap between the freedom Pakistanis want and the freedom they have.  And this freedom, he explains, is contingent on democracy.  “Although it [the last government] was a democratic regime [it was] known to be the worst democratic setup in the history of Pakistan. Corruption charges, convictions, illegal appointments and number of like issue stayed the headlines on TV channels for the past 5 years.”

Instead of the status quo, Nazir is advocating for young Pakistanis to help create part of the solution for a freer, democratic society.  For himself, Imran Khan is the symbol of renewal Nazir wants to see in his government.  “Pakistan has been ruled by status quo for past 67 years since its formation. Today we have an emerging leader Imran Khan who is the symbol of youth in Pakistan. His inspirational and consistent life is the key element that is not only motivating me but a major portion of youth to bring real and bright change in Pakistan.”  He wants to see his country’s rocky history transformed into a vision of Pakistan where “Pakistanis will one day have all their basic rights fulfilled, [they will be] aware of their rights and duties and [the nation will become] a symbol of tolerance, harmony and peace.”

“Principles of a Free Society” brought together twenty likeminded people from different universities of Pakistan, including Foundation University Rawalpindi Campus (FURC), Lahore University of Management (LUMS), Lahore School of Economics (LSE), and the National University of Science and Technology (NUST).  Nazir sees a strong connection between what he is doing and what Challenge:Future is doing.  He describes it as giving people a platform, “[Somewhere where people] are given a chance to speak about their initiatives, ideas, concerns and plans …. this platform for youth is all about bringing better ideas, innovative solutions [together] and setting high standards in community work.”

JawadNazir’s initiative to empower fellow youth signals that Pakistan’s youth are not satisfied with more politics of the same.  The workshop offers a clear message to Pakistan’s new government that their youth expect greater accountability from their governments.  Whether Imran Khan won or not, the youth of Pakistan have claimed a victory of their own, in consolidating their voice and turning up to ask their government for better.

Voter turnout on election day in Pakistan was 60%, the highest it’s been since 1977.

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Faisal  imtiaz

Faisal imtiaz

Jawad You shared my feelings :) It is difficult to digest that unfortunately Imran Khan lost the federal elections but don't forget to share that he won the provincial elections in one province, We are hopeful that he will make a model province :)
Long live Pakistan
Long Live my Dynamic C:F Community

14th May, 2013 @ 7:33 PM CEST

Jawad Muhammad Nazir

Jawad Muhammad Nazir

Thank you very much Faisal, truly looking forward to a better Pakistan. And yes, C:F family is amazing! :)

16th May, 2013 @ 2:31 PM CEST

Wasif Durrani

Wasif Durrani

Very Well Said Mr. Jawad, Its True.
But Mr. Faisal, yes it is a good news, but lets not be so mean to the country telling them its the province who won.... The people in rest of the three provinces did well too, but its wasnt in their hand to make sure that it is going as fair as promised... donot forget the roads that are being occupied by the people who voted for him...

16th May, 2013 @ 2:54 PM CEST

wajahat ali

wajahat ali

great work and true said jawad :)

17th May, 2013 @ 9:07 AM CEST

Mathew John

Mathew John

I don't think Imran khan will be able to work any wonders in KPK. In addition, he gave so many indications of his willingness to collude with the TPP...there was also his silence when it came to affording equal rights to the Ahmedi community. I really don't think he was a solution to anything...but I am very likely to be wrong since i'm not from Pakistan.

17th May, 2013 @ 10:05 AM CEST

Samuel Duru

Samuel Duru | Action team

Nice one JawadNazir. Congrats Pakistan! It's good to see young people getting actively involved in the political and democratic processes. Youth must realise importance of voting during elections in their various countries - it's your power to influence the political shift you want.

22nd May, 2013 @ 7:43 PM CEST

Faisal  imtiaz

Faisal imtiaz

Dear Mathew, If America can go to table talk with Taliban in Afghanistan then why Pakistan don't go?? We need to secure our country first,, We lost more than 40,000 people in a so called war against terrorism . you can't change people with wars , you can't win people with war, war is itself a terrorism. More than 2 million innocent people died in Afghanistan in this war.. Who will pay for their blood? are they not human?
well i don't want to be in debate, Ahmdis are enjoying full minorities right in Pakistan atleast much more than Muslims in Myanmar.
So Being Pakistani the majority of us think that it is time to sit on a table and discuss issues with Taliban, Killing is no more a solution..
We need a prosper Pakistan and for this we need peace.
More than 75% people are in favor of table talks and more than 90% of people are against this so called war, we are living in that region and we know well what is really going on grounds.
So, Imran Khan is surely a solution & his vision his policies surely bring peace and prosperity to this nation
In my opinion you need to study more :) and try to study some unbiased authors .
Peace.

23rd May, 2013 @ 9:20 PM CEST

Muhammad Ali Ali

Muhammad Ali Ali

It is true said by jawad :)

17th June, 2013 @ 8:22 AM CEST

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