- But will we see the day?
Like the PML-N government before him, Prime Minister Imran Khan too has something to give to the youth. Early this year the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) allocated $30 million to mainstream the marginalised youth in Pakistan. This led to the envisioning of the ‘Kamyab Jawan Programme’ by the PTI. Mr Khan assured the people that a good time is in the offing
The programme was announced, amidst taunts aimed at the opposition, at a gathering of the youth in Islamabad. Under the initiative, young men and women would get loans to set up their businesses and provided educational and skill-development opportunities. Besides the programme will also arrange internships through which 25,000 young people will supposedly be connected with industries. According to the estimates presented at the gathering, there will be two million beneficiaries of the PTI’s programme.
There are several similarities between the PML-N government’s youth programme and the one launched by PM Imran Khan, like interest-free loans, youth training, a skills development scheme as well as emphasis on concentrating on less developed areas. The amount of funds available this time is however much larger, thanks the UNDP. There are however differences in the two programmes also. While the PML-N distributed laptops among deserving students, PM Imran Khan wants to establish 500 laboratories in the seminaries which is supposedly a step towards mainstreaming the madrassas. To be able to make use of the laboratories, science teachers too will have to be recruited. A number of questions remain unanswered. For instance, will highly conservative seminaries welcome the inclusion of science as a subject, and who will pay the science teachers’ salaries? Only time will show whether the experiment is feasible.
As under Nawaz Sharif, Mr Khan too has put a gung-ho party loyalist in charge of the programme. Maryam Nawaz Sharif however had to resign a year after when her appointment was challenged in the Lahore High Court. To avoid controversy, there is a need for programmes of the sort to be led by skilled professionals not involved head over heels in partisan politics. The PM’s denigrating remark about the JUI-F chief while announcing the programme, makes this all the more necessary.