ISLAMABAD: Major political parties on the Youth Policy Dialogue organised by Centre for Peace, Development and Reforms (CPDR) in collaboration with the British Council Pakistan, assured to work for a comprehensive youth policy. Chaudhry Saeed, minister for sports, culture and youth affairs applauded the efforts of civil society and political parties in building consensus on the issue. He reaffirmed his party’s support for participation of youth in politics and said that his party will provide maximum opportunity to youth in upcoming local body elections. To a question, he said that subjects like income tax and revenue collection would be delegated to the elected assembly so that more resources would be made available in the future for youth policy implementation. Around 150 people from various walks of life were present on the occasion. They appreciated the effort of bringing political leaders from different ideologies together. Abdul Rashid Turabi, Jamaat-e-Islami chief, spoke about active involvement of youth in his party’s activities and pledged full support to the government for the formulation of youth policy. Appreciating the organisers of the event, PPP leader Latif Akbar talked about measures vital to incorporate less privileged sections in making and implementing the youth policy. He reaffirmed his support for popular demands of youth ranging from 25% quota in local body elections to full functioning of student unions at all levels in colleges and universities. Sardar Attique Ahmed Khan, the president of Muslim Conference, had some divergent views on performance of the government but he assured of his full support for the making and promulgation of youth policy provided the youth representatives are selected in a transparent way. AJK Assembly Speaker Shah Ghulam Qadir praised all suggestions given by the young participants as well as the guest speakers and emphasised that the government has already taken good care of public service commission and jobs in the education department. He asked for unflattering support from youth in carrying out the necessary policy reforms and announced the making of a youth task force as per the directions of prime minister which will help legislate and draft the youth policy. Shazia Khawar, director Society- South Asia in the British Council, reiterated the council’s commitment to the cause of young people in the region. She spoke about transforming the society through engagement with youth and providing future leaders spaces to make their voices heard as a vital pre-requisite to a vibrant democracy in the region. Arshad Mahmud, executive director of CPDR, said that such initiatives and active civil society engagement form the basis of true and participatory democracy to which the organisation is fully committed. However, to create a facilitating environment in which the young people, as partners and leaders, are placed at the centre of development; a comprehensive youth policy is the key. Concluding the session, the CPDR president thanked all participants and guest speakers. He focused on necessity of structured debate and disciplined dialogue, hailed efforts of the organizers for creating such avenues of international standard. Five consensus points mutually agreed by all parties were announced which include, the allocation of quota for young people in upcoming local bodies elections, restoration of students union after the consultation with stakeholders, dedicated programmes to enhance technical skills of young people, and gradual enhancement of youth ministry budget, and improving quality education in educational institutes in AJK.