ISLAMABAD: The Denmark government has announced a 3.5 million US dollars program for Pakistan on democratic development and good governance in joint collaboration with the civil society organization PILDAT (Pakistan Institute of Legislative Development and Transparency).
The new program was announced during the presentation of Pakistan Report of State of Democracy in South Asia – an event organized by PILDAT with support of the Danish International development agency (Danida) in Islamabad on Thursday. An important feature of the new program is the engagement of youth in democratic processes and dialogue.
During his speech, Ambassador of Denmark in Pakistan, Sorensen shared that around 30 percent of Pakistan’s population is between 15-29 years. “Our program has a special focus on instilling democratic values in the youth through the Youth Parliament program. Under this program, young people from across the country are trained in the values of democracy.” He said.
“This creates understanding, respect and tolerance for other people’s opinions – besides being an innovative approach to engage youth in such an important process”, he said.
He emphasized that this project should not be seen in isolation. “Our approach and our assistance should be seen in its totality. Denmark is also providing support to primary education in the conflict affected areas. And we are now also more focused on facilitating contacts between Danish and Pakistani businesses so that we can create jobs, growth – and ultimately eliminate poverty”, he said.
On the occasion, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director of PILDAT said “Many Pakistanis are rightly proud of the elections in 2013, where one democratically elected Government succeeded another. Yet democracy is still fragile, so we must continuously keep an eye on the political development and make demands to our politicians to consolidate democracy. Even more citizens from all parts of society should actively participate in the democratic processes.
He said “The citizens need better information about the government’s policies and practices to hold them responsible. We are delighted that Denmark supports our work. It is in everyone’s interest that we strengthen the democratic progressive forces in Pakistan, so that we do not leave the playing field to the radical forces.”
During the ceremony, Joint Director of PILDAT Aasiya Riaz presented key findings from the State of Democracy in Pakistan Report, which was followed by a presentation on findings from the India Report by. Sanjay Kumar, Director CSDS. Within this framework, a panel discussion was also held, where Dr. Ijaz Shafi Gilani, Chairman Gallup Pakistan, Dr. Hassan Askari Rizvi, Defence & Political Analyst and Salman Akram Raja, Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan also spoke on the matter.
Joint Director of PILDAT Aasiya Riaz presented report of public survey with regard to democracy in Pakistan in which it was said that 45 percent people are satisfied with the performance of the democratic government while the 56 percent men and 50 percent women support the democracy and the uneducated mainly support the democracy.
It was also said in the report that according to 86 percent people the most corrupt institution of Pakistan is ‘police’ and the people have main confidence on Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif.
The new PILDAT program is a part of the overall 50 million US dollars development program for Pakistan, which was launched by the government of Denmark in November 2013.