MIRPUR: ( Staff Reporter) AJK President Sardar Masood Khan Tuesday said that two industrial zones, each in Bhimber and Mirpur and an Express Way from Muzaffarabad to Mirpur have been included in the CPEC which will transform AJK’s socio-economic landscape.
He was addressing to the participants of a second round of youth policy dialogue organised by Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms in collaboration with the British Council here entitled “Our Youth Our Future: Creating Spaces for Youth-centric and Youth-led Policy-making” here Tuesday evening.Around 200 young people from cross-section of civil society shared their views with the President Sardar Masood Khan and asked critical questions regarding the uneven relationship between Islamabad and Muzaffarabad, poor infrastructure, lack of quality education and health facilities in the AJK.
While highlighting their imminent role, President advised students and young people to achieve excellence in their respective fields, become active and vibrant civic actors and develop skills to use modern Information Communication Tools in a more strategic and effective way. While answering a question on education system, he stated that, he envisions the right person for right job in universities besides minimal political interference and intended to initiate new degree program compatible to the market needs and demand.
He laid greater importance on their character building, upholding moral and social values and upholding meritocracy for good governance in AJK. “Youth and civil society of AJK should support government for better governance, and we need to introduce reforms both at micro and macro level to curb the menace of corruption in society” said president while answering a question. On a point raised by research scholar Dr. Waqas Ali on rising unemployment, he stated that government is making serious efforts to create opportunities for investment and private sector employment to reduce brain drain and provide opportunities of jobs for young people.
In today’s globalised world, no nation can make progress without increasing youth participation in the policy-making process and ensuring their economic empowerment, stated Ershad Mahmud, Executive Director CPDR. Dr. Waqas Ali, Director Programmes, said that in AJK, the majority of population comprises of young people and deliberate efforts are required for to address issues like, unemployment, brain drain, capacity to better harness their untapped energies. Issue of Jammu and Kashmir has a strong bearing upon socio-economic issues of young people of AJK said Dr. Waqas.
Zeenia Faraz, Head of Programmes-Society, British Council, Islamabad, said that the British Council in partnership with CPDR have been providing platform to youth aimed to build their capacity and develop a wider understanding regarding the key socio-economic areas and seek ways through which their feedback could be incorporated in decision-making practice. She also hinted to explore the possibilities to develop linkage between Kashmiri diaspora settled in the United Kingdom and community in Azad Kashmir. Vice Chancellor Mirpur University of Science and Technology (MUST) stated that we are in transition stage and our universities are improving but lot to be done to build capacity and creating opportunities.
Zulfiqar Abbasi, leading businessman, stated that the role of private sector must be made instrumental to generate economic opportunities for youth instead of providing jobs in public sector. He underlined the urgent need to conduct an economic survey of AJK so that realistic policies can be formulated on the basis of facts and figures