Monday, July 15, 2013

Youth should now lead Pakistan

Our Youth has a lot of energy, high hopes, great ideals and real potential to achieve almost everything in life.  In spite of having talent, skills and intelligence in this wonderful young generation, a born genius, it is very unfortunate. Pakistan’s environment is not very helpful for it as it have no role models to follow, no opportunity for sound modern education and no social landscape upon which they can exploit their natural abilities to the maximum effect. Seeing lawlessness and irregularities in every sphere of life have shattered their faith in the system and killed their human imagination.
Our youth’s confusion and frustration in life and shattered confidence in Pakistan’s political system apparently predicts Pakistan’s and its youth’s bleak future. The parents are so engulfed in their struggle to meet ends due to ever rising inflation, unemployment, and law and order situation coupled with other problems. They not only fail to understand their children and their desires, but also don’t pave the way for them to do wonders by infusing within them a proper energy of confidence, self esteem and competence.
Gradually, this political system has distorted everything in Pakistan. We have totally destroyed all our governmental, social, political, national, educational and religious institutions. A number of youngsters are turning to drugs; alcohol and smoking in order rescue themselves from depression and adverse comments of the society. They are losing their relationships and leading miserable lives. They are becoming criminals as a result of the frustration and helplessness. Some youth criminals are indulging in killings and robberies. There is also an increasing trend of “suicides” among the youth mainly due to the unemployment and poor living conditions. Youth unemployment also badly affects the morale and spirit of fellow youth of society who become dejected and disappointed by looking at their peers and elders unemployed.
Our country is losing generations of its most highly talented youngsters that in other countries promise a brighter future. God has bestowed upon us this boundless human potential through which we can achieve more health, wealth, happiness and success in our life. Unfortunately, in Pakistan the youth has been deliberately kept illiterate purposely having no proper access to education.  With a little brainwashing by social and political forces they get emotional, but don’t even know what their political leaders’ vision is.
The current situation is not encouraging for the Pakistani youth because they are not getting what they actually want from Pakistan. A major problem is unemployment that is creating frustration and stress among the youth. But the actual root cause is illiteracy. If we educate one whole generation, the whole scenario of the country will automatically change in a few years. The youth will at least be able to make a clear distinction between good and bad. This is the major problem that should be solved without wasting much time in order to compete in the world. The contributions of all young people are essential if we are to meet the challenges of tomorrow. Amidst all governmental hype about giving priority to education, ground realities are quite harsh.
An obvious cause of youth deterioration is the stark difference of quality education in private and government schools. This difference has developed hatred among the students, which is an unhealthy sign and must be reduced to provide equal chances to all classes. Poor families cannot afford the expenses of private schools and everyone is aware of the conditions in our government schools.
Despite frustration with the status quo, the majority of Pakistani youth believe Pakistan is the best country in the world to live in. There are numerous people who have given up everything for this green and pleasant lovely land. Our forefathers had promised a land for the people where they can dream high and the state would ensure to help in realizing those dreams.
While the government is concerned only for its short-term motives, the emigration of talented Pakistanis paints a bleak economic future for Pakistan. In Pakistan, deteriorating social, economic, law and order and education system with a feeling of not having competent leaders to speak for or stand by the nation, Pakistani youngsters find themselves vulnerable. Their frustration grows and ultimately makes them groan inwardly.
The people are just tired of this cruel political system, they don’t see a light, there is no vision, no government has come out with a comprehensive plan to turn the economy around, there are no future plans, and no vision for Pakistan. On the one hand people are committing suicides due to starvations and on the other hand we can count the net worth of a few politicians, bureaucrats, and some businessmen whose net worth would total to about 200 billion dollars. Our corrupt politicians have created the issue of survival of Pakistan and Pakistani society. What provokes the educated is the fact that the illiterate people fully support them in their struggle to grab the power and make the nation to suffer the consequences.
Youth is the best with the idea on how Pakistan should be governed. Let the best person from youth with the honest political will to govern this country, be allowed to rule, not minding where the person comes from. Yes of course, youth of today has the potential to change the current trend of politics in Pakistan. The fact that the best person has not been allowed to rule this nation is the reason why Pakistan is where it is 63 years after it became an independent nation. Pakistan after 63 years has failed to grow because of poor leadership. Leadership that has nothing to offer, leadership that is not accountable to the people, leadership that does not think education is paramount, leadership that does care about the level of poverty in the midst of plenty. They are busy sharing money and looting our treasury and stealing our common wealth. We, as a nation, are passing through a very crucial and toughest time of history. The government has no plan, no system and no process.
That is why everybody will have to sit down and put our house in order and allow the best person to rule. The biggest question is how the youth will get entry into politics. The answer is be your own leader. Bring the Pakistani Youth on a single platform where they could not only discuss but also find ways to participate actively in strengthening Pakistan. Select best possible candidates from your own rows. The traditional corrupt politicians come in power just with the help of 10-12% poor uneducated people so come out of houses and vote for your own candidate massively to takeover the country in your own hands. It is the only way to get rid of these old aged “experienced” politicians. Why should we depend on corrupt and dishonest politicians who are manipulating our lives in all the negative ways? They are responsible for throwing Pakistan into the prevailing multi-faceted crises.
Don’t trust again this corrupt and immoral leadership. It is a time to act lest we will be left with nothing. We Are Fed Up Of This Corruption & Dirty Political System.. Time Has Come To Bring A Change.. Right Now…!!We Can’t Change Our Past…. But we Can Make Our Future Better…. And You Know What I Believe…. I Believe We Can Never Go Down… As long as our brave, miser politicians are alive we are supposed to bear all these hardships. Let us resolve to empty our hearts and minds of hatred, revenge and pseudo-honour, fill those with love and peace, and work towards the progress and prosperity of Pakistan of tomorrow.


Pakistan’s First Provincial (Punjab) Youth Policy: Is It Mission Accomplished?

In 2009, Pakistan approved its first national youth policy. The introduction of “The National Youth Policy” (NYP) marked a new era for youth affairs in Pakistan. Under this policy, various projects were initiated by the Federal Youth Ministry including National and International Youth Exchange Programme. While the implementation of NYP was in the process of being implemented, Pakistan’s Parliament passedthe historic 18th amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan. As a result, on April 8th, 2010, the Federal Youth Ministry was dissolved.
Following the devolution process, all the provinces and territories have initiated the formulation of provincial youth policies through wide-scale consultations. Announced in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), policy formulation has been initiated in the four provinces (Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Kybher Pakhtunkhwa) and the two territories (Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Jammu & Kashmir).

Punjab Youth Policy
On 6th June 2012, the Chief Minister of Punjab launched Punjab’s very first youth policy.  However, a number of initiatives were introduced by the prevailing provincial government to promote youth affairs even before this policy. The purpose of this analysis is not to delve into the merits of the policy itself. The focus is to assess the quality and pace of implementation as well as to review the relevance of the existing youth projects to the policy. This analysis also proposes recommendations for effective contributions on all public, private and development fronts.
Department of Youth Affairs, Sports, Tourism and Archaeology, Punjab   – Progress to-Date
Punjab Youth Policy recommends the establishment of Punjab Youth Commission to oversee the implementation of the policy. It suggests that nominated government representatives, selected youth representatives, heads of youth organizations and heads of civil society organizations should be part of this commission. However, it doesn’t specify a selection criterion for the fair and transparent selection of commission members.
In terms of implementation to-date, the commission has not been notified ever after seven months of the policy announcement. It is the recommendation of this analysis, that the Government should expedite the process and adopt fair and transparent means for selecting members.  Department of Youth Affairs, Sports, Tourism and Archaeology should publically announce the eligibility criterion through official channels. Subsequently, the members of the commission should be notified on merit.  Given the important role of this Commission in the implementation of the policy, timely and transparent notification of the commission is important for successful implementation of the policy.
Punjab Government’s Current Youth Projects
Since June 2012, the Punjab Youth Policy is officially meant to be the key driving force behind youth development initiatives throughout the province. However, a policy is nothing but a piece of paper unless it is implemented with due diligence. To implement it effectively, it is important for the existing and future youth projects to follow the direction and mission provided within the policy.
Currently, Punjab government’s projects on youth are not properly coordinated and organized. For example, focuses on Punjab Youth Initiatives of Youth Internship Programme, Youth Festivals and Laptop Awards. This site, however, is operating in isolation and is not linked with the Department’s main site. Another example of youth initiatives operating in pockets would be the Punjab Education Endowment Fund at and the youth festival at This can be rectified by linking all the running and future youth projects to the official website of Department of Youth Affairs, Sports, Tourism and Archaeology.
It is recommended that youth projects should be reviewed by Punjab Youth Commission on various criteria including their relevance to the youth policy, impact and scope of geographical coverage and value for money. The approving authorities should take the comments of the commission into serious consideration before allocating funds.
Role of Private Sector
The private sector can also play a strong role in the effective implementation of the youth policy. Establishment of a Youth Venture Capital Fund through public-private partnerships can be one of the quick wins. This will support new business ideas and entrepreneurship amongst young men and women and lead to youth development in the province. The private sector can capitalize on their hefty Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budgets to sponsor this contribution.
Role of Development Sector
To further its present role in advocating for the importance of youth development in Punjab, the development sector needs to step up in a more sustainable manner. Unfortunately, youth focused projects still fail to get the requisite attention from the key donors. Donors with muscle need to consider supporting the implementation of the youth policy in partnership with the Department of Youth Affairs, Sports, Tourism and Archaeology. However, interventions should focus on institutional capacity building and not only unsustainable community initiatives.
Plan Pakistan, a subsidiary of an International Non-Government Organization, has taken lead in providing timely support to implement one component of the policy.  In June 2012, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Youth Department to set up a “Youth Helpline” for counseling of adolescents on health and reproductive issues.  This is a good example of how the development agencies can intervene through activities with long term impact on the province while not encouraging dependency syndrome.
In terms of proposed interventions that can be supported by development agencies, establishment of a Job Bank On-Line to conduct job market surveys, building a database to inform the youth about potential openings and guiding the educational and vocational training institutes are the key ones. Once established through donor support, the Youth Commission and its team can take the initiative forward without additional support.

The Future is Bright
As we welcome 2013, I look forward to seeing Punjab lead the implementation of its Youth Policy by example. I hope the province implements the policy through a coherent trio of public, private and development sector partnerships. Although led by the Government, these vital partnerships are essential for monitoring the achievements of this traditionally over advertised and under supported policy agenda.
I also have high hopes for the provincial Government of Mr. Shahbaz Sharif. Hailing from the province, I was proud to see quick steps taken at the policy level. So far, implementation is facing challenges. However, if the implementation plan envisaged in the policy is followed, it will undoubtedly contribute to the long-term economic development of the province and effectively enable Punjab to tackle the youth bulge.


New UNHCR report says global forced displacement at 18-year high

More people are refugees or internally displaced than at any time since 1994, with the crisis in Syria having emerged as a major new factor in global displacement.
UNHCR's annual Global Trends report, released on Wednesday, covers displacement that occurred during 2012 based on data from governments, NGO partners, and the UN refugee agency itself. The report shows that as of the end of 2012, more than 45.2 million people were in situations of displacement compared to 42.5 million at the end of 2011.
This includes 15.4 million refugees, 937,000 asylum seekers, and 28.8 million people forced to flee within the borders of their own countries. The report does not include the rise in those forced from their homes in Syria during the current year.
War remains the dominant cause. A full 55 percent of all refugees listed in UNHCR's report come from just five war-affected countries: Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan. The report also charts major new displacement from Mali, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and from Sudan into South Sudan and Ethiopia.
"These truly are alarming numbers. They reflect individual suffering on a huge scale and they reflect the difficulties of the international community in preventing conflicts and promoting timely solutions for them," said António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees and head of UNHCR.
The report highlights worrisome trends, including the rate at which people are being forced into situations of displacement. During 2012 some 7.6 million people became newly displaced, 1.1 million as refugees and 6.5 million as internally displaced people. This translates to a new refugee or internally displaced person every 4.1 seconds.
Major source countries of refugees, end 2012
Also evident is a continuing gap between richer and poorer countries in hosting refugees. Of 10.5 million refugees under UNHCR's mandate -- a further 4.9 million Palestinian refugees fall under the mandate of its sister-agency, the UN Relief and Works Agency), half are hosted by countries that have a per capita GDP of less than US$5,000. In all, developing countries host 81 percent of the world's refugees compared to 70 percent a decade ago.
Children below age 18 make up 46 percent of all refugees. In addition, a record 21,300 asylum applications submitted during 2012 were from children who were unaccompanied or separated from their parents. This is the highest number of unaccompanied or separated children that UNHCR has recorded.
Global displacement for any year is the sum of new displacement, existing unresolved displacement, and subtracting resolved displacement such as people returning home or being allowed to settle permanently outside their home country through citizenship or some other solution.
UNHCR works to help people who are forcibly displaced, including through aid and immediate practical help, and by finding solutions to their plight. The year 2012 saw an end to displacement for 2.7 million people, including 526,000 refugees and 2.1 million internally displaced people. Among those for whom solutions were found are 74,800 people submitted by UNHCR for resettlement in third countries.
Last year saw little change from 2011 in the rankings of the world's major refugee hosting countries. Pakistan continued to host more refugees than any other nation (1.6 million), followed by Iran (868,200) and Germany (589,700).
Major refugee hosting countries, end 2012
Afghanistan remained the world's top producer of refugees, a position it has held for 32 years. On average, one out of every four refugees worldwide is Afghan, with 95 percent located in Pakistan or Iran. Somalia, another protracted conflict, was the world's second largest refugee-producing nation during 2012, however there the rate of refugee outflow slowed. Iraqis were the third largest refugee group (746,700 persons), followed by Syrians (471,400).
With people displaced inside their own countries, the figure of 28.8 million for 2012 is the highest level in more than two decades. This includes 17.7 million who are being helped by the UN refugee agency. UNHCR assistance to IDPs is not automatic but occurs at the request of governments. Significant new internal displacement was seen in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Syria.
The Global Trends report is UNHCR's leading annual report on the state of forced displacement. Additional data is published annually in the UN refugee agency's Statistical Yearbooks, and its reports on asylum applications in industrialized nations. The new report, with accompanying multimedia materials, can be downloaded at this web address:


Friday, July 12, 2013

Seminar held on ‘Life Skills Based Education’

A Media Seminar on Life Skills Based Education (LSBE) was held at Islamabad Press Club to inform importance of providing youth with the right information that can help them lead a healthier, safer and happier adolescence.
Idara-e-Taleem-o-Aagahi Islamabad (ITA- Islamabad) with the support of Rutgers WPF hosted the event. LSBE has successfully initiated the Schools4life (s4l) project that is a dynamic international initiative and which actively involves and empowers youth in pushing back the spread of viral and bacterial diseases e.g. HIV/AIDs and hepatitis.
In Islamabad the organization has aim to educate 6000 students and for said purpose ITA has taken almost 15 schools on board and 22 teachers have been trained so for. The government can take up this initiative also and introduce this into curriculum to help the social development of adolescents.


World Population Day 2013 Focuses on Adolescent Pregnancy

There are over 600 million girls in the world today, more than 500 million of them in developing countries. They are shaping humanity’s present and future. The opportunities and choices girls have during adolescence will enable them to begin adulthood as empowered, active citizens.
With the right skills and opportunities, they can invest in themselves, in their families and their communities. However, pregnancy jeopardizes the rights, health, education and potential of far too many adolescent girls, robbing them of a better future.
About 16 million girls aged 15-19 give birth each year, and complications from pregnancy and child birth are the leading cause of death among girls in this age group, especially in developing countries.
Adolescent pregnancy is not just a health issue, it is a development issue. It is deeply rooted in poverty, gender inequality, violence, child and forced marriage, power imbalances between adolescent girls and their male partners, lack of education, and the failure of systems and institutions to protect their rights. To bring these issues to global attention, this year’s World Population Day is focusing on adolescent pregnancy.
Breaking the cycle of adolescent pregnancy requires commitment from nations, communities and individuals in both developed and developing countries to invest in adolescent girls. Governments should enact and enforce national laws that raise the age of marriage to 18 and should promote community-based efforts that support girls’ rights and prevent child marriage and its consequences.
Adolescents and youth must be provided with age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education to develop the knowledge and skills they need to protect their health throughout their lives. However, education and information are not enough. Good quality reproductive health services must also be readily available in order for adolescents to make informed choices and be healthy.
At the local level, communities should provide the infrastructure to deliver reproductive health care in a youth-friendly and sensitive way.
Underlying all these efforts is the understanding that the dignity and human rights of adolescent girls must be respected, protected and fulfilled. Today, we call on governments, the international community and all stakeholders involved to take measures that enable adolescent girls to make responsible life choices and to provide the necessary support for them in cases when their rights are threatened. Every young girl, regardless of where she lives, or her economic circumstances, has the right to fulfil her human potential. Today, too many girls are denied that right. We can change that, and we must.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Unschooled Teens In India Learn About Reproductive Health From Advocacy Group

When Nandi Jhala got married eight years ago at the age of 11 she didn't know the man she married.
She'd left her village school in the western part of Gujarat state at 8, after a couple of years of schooling, and understood nothing about pregnancy or reproductive and sexual health.
All she knew was that, like her elder sister, she would soon have to produce children.
So far, though, she's defied the odds. She has no children yet.
"I am only 19 and I know I should not have children until my body is capable of childbearing," Jhala told Women's eNews. "Also, I want to plan my family, unlike my older sister who already has three children. I have conveyed this to my husband."
Jhala added that she has also started looking after her health. "I know now how to maintain menstrual hygiene," she said.
That information can be life-saving for a young woman such as Jhala, who lives in the Indian state of Gujarat, where about 40 percent of brides are under the age of 20.
Six thousand adolescent mothers die each year in India, according to the latest National Family Health Survey (2005-06). At present, the maternal mortality rate in India is 212 per 100,000 live births, whereas the country's target is to reduce it to 109 per 100,000 live births by 2015.
Jhala has benefited from a government program called Mamta Taruni (Adolescent Girls), which is run by the state government in conjunction with the Center for Health Education Training and Awareness, an advocacy group based in Gujarat.
The program provides information and services on reproductive and sexual health and nutrition to out-of-school female adolescents between 10 and 19 years old.
Three-Year Trial
The center was asked to implement its "sustained awareness" program in 53 villages with a high number of out-of-school young women in a district of Gujarat. The program ran for three years, between 2009 and 2012.
Jhala's village was among those selected and now she belongs to a group of out-of-school female adolescents trained as peer educators by the center. The peer educators share information about nutrition and reproductive and sexual health to other out-of-school young women to help combat the challenges of early marriage, early pregnancy, diseases related to risky behavior and sexual exploitation.
When the center carried out a study to measure the impact of their intervention on 256 young women, they found that the percentage of out-of-school female adolescents who were aware of HIV-AIDS, condoms and the importance of nutrition almost doubled after they were linked to related information and services.
The center, which released its study in New Delhi last month, found that knowledge of anemia rose to almost 100 percent among the young women surveyed, from 73 percent three years earlier.
This is significant, as over 56 percent of female adolescents in India are anemic, according to the government's most recent survey. The World Health Organization says the disorder--which remains the biggest indirect cause of maternal mortality-- weakens the blood's ability to clot, increasing the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.
The center's study also found that respondents' awareness of reproductive tract infections and the importance of using condoms all rose significantly. Participants in the survey were also seeking medical care more frequently.
"Health challenges can be overcome if adolescents are able to access information and services," said Pallavi Patel, director-in-charge of the Center for Health Education Training and Awareness.


Family Planning After Childbirth Is Critical to Women's Health

The mother of four children, a pregnant Anita Devi arrived at the primary health center near her village for one of her antenatal visits. Nurse-midwife Rati Rani made the 35-year-old mother comfortable and, as part of the visit, talked with Mrs. Devi about her family and the risks of having children too close together. This child would be Mrs. Devi’s fifth in nine years of marriage; three of her children were born within a year of each other.
Anita Devi after giving birthAfter the birth of her fifth child, Anita Devi (left) chose intrauterine contraception with the help and encouragement of nurse-midwife Rati Rani. Rani is among hundreds of nurse-midwives at the forefront of India’s postpartum family planning effort.
“My mother-in-law was against any form of contraception,” Mrs. Devi explained when asked about her previous births. “Though my second child was a son, she said that I should try for more sons. But my next children were girls. I was tired and felt I had nothing left in my body.”
Rani had heard such explanations before. In Bihar province, families have on average 3.7 children, and only 32.4 percent of women use any family planning method.
Rani and hundreds of other nurse-midwives across India are at the forefront of a targeted effort by the government of India to save lives by reinvigorating postpartum family planning (PPFP) services. With the support and technical expertise of Jhpiego and partners, India’s nurse-midwives are educating and counseling women about their family planning options during antenatal visits and introducing them to the intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD). This long-acting method lasts for 10 years and can be inserted within 48 hours after giving birth. As part of its lifesaving work in India, Jhpiego is helping to reinvigorate vital family planning services in 16 states and assist the Indian Nursing Council in strengthening the education of nursing and midwifery students.
Mrs. Devi and her husband chose to have an IUCD inserted after she gave birth to her fifth child, a girl. “Every time I feel doubtful, I come to Rani,” she said. “She explains it all beautifully to me and now I am confident that I have done the right thing.”
Rani, 35, says the government initiative is having an impact in the 42 villages served by the Teghra Primary Health Center. Since January of this year, 241 women have been provided postpartum IUCD services, 186 of them by Rani.
She has seen firsthand the challenges women and their families face when burdened with too many children, often struggling to provide them with food and clothing. “The mother suffers in silence,” says Rani, who was trained by Jhpiego under the PPFP initiative supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “Only if we have smaller families will we be able to have healthier families where the children will get better nutrition and opportunities to educate themselves. Only then can we ultimately have a better and healthier society.”


Sexual health: In attempts to educate, NGOs navigate a minefield

Non-government organisations find themselves navigating a minefield of social mores and cultural-religious sensitivities in educating children about sexual and reproductive health rights.
Try to teach children ‘too much’ at the wrong age and you might end up encouraging social resistance, thus hurting your own education efforts, or offending religious sentiment, which could have even more serious consequences, say activists working to raise awareness of sexual and reproductive health.
“The most accurate of information on SRHR [sexual and reproductive health rights] shared with the wrong age bracket can have a substantially negative effect,” says Iftikhar Mubarak, who is the liaison coordinator for Plan Pakistan, which runs the Reproductive Health Initiative for Adolescents. “It is necessary to appreciate the cultural and religious sensitivity of the subject.”
The initiative, which aims to educate adolescents in more than 10 districts across the country as well as slum areas near Islamabad, targets different information to kids in three age groups   9 to 13, 14 to 16 and 17 to 19.
The project has been running for almost four years now. Dr Irfan Ahmed, senior health advisor at Plan Pakistan, says while there is no doubting the need for sexual and reproductive health education, “the information itself has become taboo”.
He says communities must be mobilised to understand the rationale for the information. The Plan initiative targets school dropouts. “Once the information is communicated and confidence built, communities give a warm response,” he said.
Last year in October, the NGO Bargad had to shelve its campaign to educate schoolgirls about reproductive health in Gujranwala after locals complained and filed a petition in the Lahore High Court, asking it to hold the organisation accountable for putting ‘objectionable material’ – on topics such as contraceptives and relationships with boys   in a schoolbook for grades 8 to 10. The district government cancelled the deal under which the project had been launched in 35 government schools. The project was later relaunched in private schools in the same area.
Sabiha Shaheen, the executive director at Bargad, says there is no denying that the subject needs to be addressed carefully, but it can have positive effects when done right.
In training sessions held under the project, she says, it emerged that some women felt a great deal of shame in visiting a gynaecologist, because they believed that people assumed that they could not reproduce or were seeking an abortion. Several women told Bargad representatives that they hesitated taking their daughters to a gynaecologist because of the social stigma.
“But once all the fear about the subject is removed, people are very open to such issues,” says Shaheen. “Only a few people, who lack the appropriate knowledge, find SRHR education hard to digest.”
Teachers often ignore their responsibility to educate young people about reproductive health, says Omer Aftab, the chief executive of the HAYAT-Lifeline campaign, which lobbies policymakers, religious leaders and communities to engage in such education
He has seen schools where chapters on reproduction were stapled together by teachers so students couldn’t study them. “It is like no one feels it is their responsibility to educate the child about these subjects,” he says.
The HAYAT campaign, now almost 18 months old, has support from Deobandi, Barelvi and Shia religious scholars. Among them is Dr Raghib Hussian Naeemi, the nazim of Jamia Naeemia in Garhi Shahu.
The failure to discuss sexual and reproductive health rights is one of the biggest dilemmas in the subcontinent, he says. The reluctance to speak on the subject, he says, is wrongly attributed to religion. “According to Islam, adolescents should be given information on all subjects including sexual and reproductive health,” he says.
A consultation with 25 ulema was held at the Jamia Naeemia last week in this regard.
A father of two sons and a daughter, Dr Naeemi says the greatest responsibility lies with the parents. “Both my wife and myself educate our children on issues of sexual and reproductive health, and that includes my daughter.”