Balochistan Youth Policy hangs in balance

Balochistan Youth Policy hangs in balance

By: Mir Behram Baloch

Fatima Iqbal Khan, 35, is active youth and human rights activist. She has recently been honored with National Award for Human rights by president of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain for the best achievement.  She is one of the activists who drafted youth policy in 2014 for Environment, Sports & Youth Affairs Department Government of Balochistan; however, the Balochistan Youth Policy has not been finalized and presented in cabinet for approval yet.

Fatima Iqbal Khan explains different factors for delay in approval of Policy; she marks the chief factor as Youth Affairs Department’s non seriousness and lack of ownership from government.  “Being citizen of Balochistan, on behalf of a ruling political party, we drafted Balochistan Youth Policy. Prior to this, civil society organizations from Balochistan also prepared two drafts and all three drafts were tabled but no further meeting was conducted to discuss and finalize those drafts.” She added.

The Ministry, after remaining part of various Ministries, was finally upgraded and given the status of full-fledged Ministry in 2005.

The Government of Pakistan created the sector of youth affairs in the Ministry of Culture and Sports in 1984. The Ministry, after remaining part of various Ministries, was finally upgraded and given the status of full-fledged Ministry in 2005.

At Provincial level too Youth Affairs Departments were created but except for Secretary Youth, the Department has no other employee nor has it ever been allocated any budgetary support to carry out its duties.

Youth in Pakistan make the largest demographic group and same is true for Balochistan. The Government of Balochistan formulated the Balochistan Youth Policy (BYP) 2015, as required under the 18th Constitutional Amendment, which devolved the Youth Affairs from the Centre to the Provinces. However, two years on since, Balochistan Youth Policy could not be tabled in Balochistan Assembly for approval.

According to the government sources, the Ministry in the last few years mainly carried out activities like organizing workshops, seminars and exchange of youth tours to various countries. The only major contribution is the under construction Youth Development Centre at Quetta with an estimated cost of Rs.24.6 million. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Youth Affairs. It is claimed that the center will go a long way in promoting, guiding and training the youth of Balochistan as the Centre has provision of basic infrastructure like debating hall, indoor games, boarding and lodging facilities.

Fatima Iqbal Khan said: “There exists Youth Department for more than seven years; even then opportunities for

youth are equal to none. On the name of exposure youth from Punjab are being invited to visit Balochistan, rather than arranging visits for youth from Balochistan to other provinces and countries.”

“The main issue is this that after National Finance Commission (NFC) Award   no enough funding has been allocated for youth activities. The arrangements of only sports festivals in Quetta are not the answer to youth issues. There is no youths skill based entrepreneur activities. Despite being a great taskforce the youth is being exploited on the name of only festivals and visit shows only on Quetta based activities”. Fatima said.

Talking about the inactive Youth Parliament in Balochistan, Fatima Iqbal said,” Youth Parliament is active on federal level since government owns it but in Balochistan it has not been maintained by the concerned authorities, although some private organizations made efforts to establish youth parliament.”

Zia Khan is a youth activist and Founder of Quetta Online, a social organization working for persons with disabilities and youth rights.

Zia Khan is polio victim; however, he did not make his disability a weakness. He has been motivating youth and making efforts to engage them in social activities.

Zia Khan

“In Balochistan we have always ignored people with disabilities. Nothing has been done for people with disabilities. We want a policy for people special people and it requires a research to provide opportunities for them.”

Zia khan has also asked youth department to focus on youth exposure programmes like tours and training for youths for all the youth of Balochistan not only Quetta.

Zia Khan, questions deferral in incomplete Balochistan Youth Policy. He suggests that rather than focusing only on youth in Quetta. The policy makers should pay much attention to areas like Washuk and Kharan, as youth from these areas are facing worst situations and their youth need special attention.

Qasim Baloch, a Young social activists and sociology lecturer highlights the plight of youth in Balochistan.  He said: “Youth in Balochistan have no opportunities to help themselves discover and identify their strength, talent and potentials. Because of poverty they are unable to develop a nourishing environment in their own way. Most of the families expect their children to earn income as they become adult which leads them away from education.”

Youth in Balochistan have no opportunities to help themselves discover and identify their strength

Qasim Baloch said that government authorities and civil society had turned a blind eye to the youth of province. “They have failed to produce an effective youth policy to create opportunities to help youth nourish and engage in the development and progress of the country.”

Mr. Baloch said that It was the very time that authorities created space for youth to express their opinions. Government needed to be a facilitator, so that the youth learnt and contributed to the development of the society in an effective way.

When the Balochistan Point team asked Mir Mujeeb-ur-Rehman Muhammad Hasani, Minister of the Sports, Culture, Welfare and Youth Affairs, about the delay in finalizing Balochistan Youth Policy, he said that the mentioned policy was going to be finalized within two weeks and it would be presented in cabinet for approval.

“The government has no issues in presenting Balochistan Youth Policy in cabinet. Once the policy is presented and approved then our utmost importance will be to ensure its  implementation because we accept youth as our most potential and valuable assets.” Mir Mujeeb-ur-Rehman told.

On federal level and in some other provinces twice Youth Parliament cabinets were formed but Balochistan has failed to produces even a single cabinet. However, Mr. Asmatullah Kakar, the Secretary for the Sports, Culture, Welfare and Youth Affairs says that the youth department is new in Balochistan, thus, the activities in the province are also limited because the department was established after 18th amendment.

Asmatullah Kakar

“The last government of Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch and current chief minister Nawab Sanaullah Khan has given distinct priority to the Youth Affairs Department and we are determined to increase funding of the department and establish offices at division level, even at districts level. As in some divisions we have established offices such as Kalat, Quetta and Zoab,” Secretary added.

Justifying about the imbalanced in selection of exchange visit programs in past the Secretary said that he would try his level best to ensure transparency in selection of youth and there would be monitoring in future.

Secretary said: “Once the policy is approved then we will engage youth, scholars, human rights activist, civil society and people from different walks of life to make the policy result oriented and build capacity of youth and educate our new generation.

 

Mir Behram Baloch is a freelance journalist and staff reporter of The Balochistan Point. Follow him on Twitter @mirbehramb 

 

Published in The Balochistan Point on March 24, 2017

Fatima Iqbal Khan receives National award for Human Rights

Quetta: Social activists Fatima Iqbal Khan has been awarded National award for Human rights.

She was honored in an award distribution ceremony held at president House Islamabad, where president of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain awarded her the best achievement few days ago.

A large number of Federal ministers, members of parliament, ambassadors from different countries and secretaries from different parts of Pakistan participated in the event.

Fatima Iqbal Khan is the first female social activists from Balochistan who has received this awarded for human rights.

Fatima Iqbal Khan is a development practitioner. She has experience of working in the nonprofit sector at different senior positions in many UN, International and National organizations.

Fatima has previously working experience with UN-World Food Programme, American Refugee Committee, BEFARe, PAIMAN Alumni Trust, SPO and Governance Support Project of Multi Donor Trust Fund & World Bank Pakistan.

Mir Behram Baloch is a ancohor/journalist covering government and social issues in Balochistan

Stakeholders call for the implementation of Pakistan’s Human Rights Action Plan

Islamabad :Civil Society and key stakeholders concurred that Pakistan’s National Plan of Action on Human Rights was essential for Pakistan in fulfilling its constitutional and international commitments. These views were highlighted and expressed at DRI’s National conference, ‘Pakistan’s GSP+ Status and Universal Periodic Review 2017’ held in Islamabad on 8 December. The conference brought together over 150 influential stakeholders, including members of civil society, parliamentarians, members from state human rights institutions and political leaders.

 

Ina Lepel, German Ambassador to Pakistan said: “Pakistan has made progress in the field of human rights. Nevertheless, considerable concerns and many challenges remain, for example, with regards to children’s, women’s and minority rights. The GSP+ trade scheme with the European Union – and the review process that is part of it – as well as Pakistan’s upcoming Universal Periodic Review present unique opportunities to further implement international human rights conventions, of which Pakistan is a state party. Germany will continue to support Pakistan in its efforts to meet the obligations stemming from these conventions, for the benefit of all Pakistanis.”

Jean-François Cautain, Ambassador of the European Union to Pakistan said that GSP+ was an opportunity for Pakistan to promote economic and social progress to improve the rights of its citizens. He believed the status remained a win-win situation for Pakistan, provided effective utilization. Welcoming reform efforts undertaken by the government he cited the formation of the Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC) and the submission of delayed treaty body reports by Pakistan as positive developments. Reflecting on the impending GSP+ review of 2018, Ambassador Cautain highlighted continued serious concerns on a number of human rights issues, including access to justice, the death penalty, freedom of religion or belief and rights of women and children. He stressed the need to achieve positive deliverables ahead of the 2018 review. Representing the government’s point of view, Attorney General of Pakistan and Convener of the Treaty Implementation Cell (TIC) Mr. Ashtar Ausaf Ali’s statement recognised GSP+ as a catalyst needed for the systematic overhaul of Pakistan’s human rights. His statement pointed out that the government had approved and issued the National Plan of Action on Human Rights as well as some important legislation such as anti-honour and anti-rape laws recently enacted. He nevertheless emphasised that laws were of no use if implementation was neglected.

Senator Nasreen Jalil Chairperson of the Functional Committee of Human Rights assured stakeholders that her committee would stand by conference recommendations in order to ensure the deliverance of rights that were under threat and achieve progress ahead of impending reviews.

Mr. Hassan Nasir Mirbahar, DRI Country Representative highlighted that Pakistan’s government had approved an important and ambitious National Plan of Action on Human Rights. He recognised that it covered important legislative and policy reforms on key human rights issues. He acknowledged that such reforms would be crucial for democratic stability and help in compliance with Pakistan’s international human rights commitments.

Senator Farhatullah Babar said political parties should take ownership of the human rights agenda as citizens mandate them through elections. He added that all parties should form human rights cells and make serious efforts for the realisation of human rights in the country. “Human rights are important as universal rights, it is not just the GSP+ status that we should care about,” he said.

Mir Behram Baloch is a ancohor/journalist covering government and social issues in Balochistan

Right to Information Experts highlight the need for new right to information law for Balochistan

Quetta: Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005 is ineffective and needs to be repealed. It does not facilitate citizens and journalists in getting information from public bodies. There is a need for an effective right to information law for the province on the lines of those enacted in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These views were expressed by right to information experts, journalists and information commissioners of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. in a round table consultation on ‘Right to Information Legislation in Balochistan: the Way Forward’ on 08 November, 2016 at Serena Hotel, Quetta.

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Advisor to Chief Minister, Balochistan Mr. Ahmed Raza Barech said that Balochistan government was working on a draft right to information law for the province, adding that Balochistan government was also reviewing Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013 and the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013 and new draft information law would benefit from this law.

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Chief Information Commissioner, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission, Mr. Azmat Haneef Orakzai said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013 was enacted as a part of governance reform agenda of PTI government after consultation with civil society “This law has been effective and citizens are using it to get their rights in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he added.

Chief Information Commissioner, Punjab Information Commission, Mr. Mazhar Hussain Minhas said that Punjab Information Commission faced difficulty in implementing the Punjab Transparency and Right to Information Act 2013. He said that Punjab Information Commission has already given landmark judgements.

Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ali, Information Commissioner, Punjab Information Commission analysed Balochistan Freedom of Information Act 2005 , said that it did not meet standards of effective right to information Legislation.” ‘Information’ is not defined, instead of one negative list, there are three lists, one pertains to records that will be shared, one pertains to records that will not be shared and then there is third list pertains to exceptions.” Mr. Mukhtar Ahmed Ali added.

Mr. Mukhtar suggested, “ This law is fundamentally flawed and cannot be improved and Balochistan government should enact a new law.”

Mr. Abdul Matin, Information Commissioner, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Information Commission said that any entity that performs public functions is included within the definition of public body in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Right to Information Act 2013.

Mr. Zummarak Achakzai, MPA said information is basic right of citizen and it is unfortunate that citizens do not have information about CPEC projects.

Mr. Amer Ejaz, Executive Director, CPDI said that based on right to information request filed by CPDI, now Punjab Assembly shares attendance record of MPAs on its web site whereas earlier this information was not provided to citizens. This has been possible only because there are independent and autonomous information commissions in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The request for information for the attendance records was also submitted in Balochistan and Sindh but information was not shared because of the ineffective right to information laws. He also said that Balochistan government should share draft of the information law with the public for comments.

Mir Behram Baloch is a ancohor/journalist covering government and social issues in Balochistan

 

Strengthening Youth Groups through Sports and Capacity building in Dalbandin (Balochistam)

Strengthening Youth Groups through Sports and Capacity building in Dalbandin Balochistan

A week long youth capacity building and awareness programs organized by Pakistan – U.S. Alumni Network (PUAN) ended in Dalbandin with an Award distribution ceremony at Press Club Dalbandin. Earlier a two-day workshop for youth on “Role of youth and Sports in creation of a peaceful and drug free society was organized for High School Students and activists of Civil Society Organizations.

On the first day of workshop Mr. EssaTahir Sanjrani (District Manager Islamic Relief) delivered a lecture and presentation on negative effects of Drug Abuse and role of youth and sports in countering it. They were given detailed presentation of how sports can keep youth away from drugs and other ill practices in the society. The second session was on Career Guidance; Mr. Gul Khan Naseer (President PUAN Balochistan) gave a detailed presentation on course selection at school level, career counseling, available opportunities of higher education and careers in Balochistan. He also shared the web links of different international and national fellowships/scholarships for youth and professionals.

On the second day of workshop presentations were given by Gul Khan Naseer and Noor Ali Samjrani (Secretary General Chagai NGOs Network (CNN) on Youth Leadership and entrepreneurship opportunities in Balochistan. The participants developed their entrepreneurship plans and presented in the workshop through their group leaders. They also learned about different leadership roles of Youth in politics, society and other walks of life.

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For practical demo of leadership and team work two Football friendly matches were organized among the football teams of Boys High Schools in Dalbandin; the first match was organized between Govt. Boys High School Dalbandin Town and Govt. Boys High School KilliKhuda-e-Rahim at the Football ground of Govt. Boys High School Dalbandin Town. Both teams played a much disciplined game and the team of Govt. Boys High School KilliKhuda-e-Rahim won the match. The Chief Guest of the first match was Mr. Abdul Bari Baloch (Secretary District Football Association Chagai). Captains of both teams were given Trophies of winner and runner and other players were given medals.

The Second match was played between Football teams of Govt. Boys High School Killi Rasool Bakhsh Sumalani and Govt. Boys High School Killi Qasim Khan at the Football ground of Govt. Boys High School Killi Rasool Bakhsh Sumalani. Both Teams played very well and the match was won by Govt. Boys High School Killi Qasim Khan by 2-1.

The Chief Guest was Mr. Syed Asmatullah Shah, both teams were given trophies of runner and winner and all players were given medals.

Addressing the football teams and other students Haji Rehmatullah (Principal Govt. Boys High School Killi Rasool Bakhsh) said, “We are thankful to Mr. Gul Khan Naseer and PUAN for organizing such programs in our schools for youth and encouraging youth to play their positive role in the society, as we live in a bordering area which is the rout of drug smugglers and use of drugs / narcotics is increasing day by day in the area due to illiteracy, unemployment, poverty, lack of awareness and lack of opportunities for youth. Such activities encourage and divert the direction of youth towards sports and positive activities.”

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A seminar was also organized on “ The role of youth and sports in creation of a peaceful, tolerant and drug free society” at Press club, Dalbandin that was presided by Mr. Gul Khan Naseer; President PUAN while the chief guest was Ex-District Education Officer Chagai Haji Abdul RehmanReki. Other speakers included Mr. AmanullahNotezai (District Education Officer), Mr. Ibrahim Reki (General Secretary, Sangat Society), Mr. Noor Mohammad (Social Welfare Officer), Mr. Haji A. Latif (from JUI-F), Mr. Maqsood (from PML-N), Mr. WaqarReki, (Chairman Reki Education Forum) and Mr. Ali Raza Rind (Journalist).

The speakers emphasized on promotion of sports and co-curricular activities for youth at School and College level to engage them in positive and productive activities and keep them away from drugs/narcotics. Each one of us should play our role in creation of tolerant, peaceful and drug free society for our future generations.

They shared that the negative consequences of drug abuse affect not only individuals who abuse drugs but also their families and friends, various businesses, and government resources. The most obvious effects of drug abuse–which are manifested in the individuals who abuse drugs–include ill health, sickness and, ultimately, death. National-level studies have shown that parents who abuse drugs often put their need to obtain and abuse drugs before the health and welfare of their children. Children whose parents and other family members abuse drugs often are physically or emotionally abused and often lack proper immunizations, medical care, dental care, and necessities such as food, water, and shelter.

Unemployment in drug users is common and a majority of youth is in a state of confusion despite having education and small level skills. There are very few opportunities of sports and recreational activities for youth in the area. Majority of youth quit their education after matriculation due to lack of guidance and information regarding scholarship opportunities etc.

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Youth is the most affected segment of the society that suffers from unemployment, extremism, drug abuse and its ultimate affects at home and in the society. They need to be trained properly, be given knowledge and information about scholarship, job, entrepreneurship and skill trainings and relevant institutions.

They also appreciated the efforts of PUAN and Mr. Gul Khan Naseer for capacity building of youth and organizing sports events to engage youth in positive activities.

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They urged education department, local government authorities and law enforcement agencies to take necessary measures to counter drug abuse and ensure access of youth to available resources and opportunities of education and jobs.

They advised civil society organizations to increase their activities for awareness rising and engagement of youth in positive activities to ensure youth plays their role in leadership and community service in all fields of life.

 

Mir Behram Baloch is a ancohor/journalist covering government and social issues in Balochistan

MoU signed between Pakistan Red Crescent and University of Balochistan for ‘Safety Program’

Quetta: A memorandum of understanding has been signed between the Pakistan Red Crescent Society and University of Balochistan. The memorandum calls for ‘Safety Program’ that includes provision of Ambulance Service along with paramedic staff, First Aids Kiosk and operational Room, Safety and evacuation plans, would prepare Emergency Response Teams, First Aids Training and youth empowerment activities on regular basis and First Aids boxed in class rooms. The document was signed by Secretary PRC Dr. Imran Khan and Vice Chancellor UoB Dr. Javeid Iqbal.

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Chairman PRC Maj (R) Faazil Durrani appreciated Assistant Directory Youth and Volunteer Rubina Saeed Shahwani for initiating the idea and Dr. Ain-u-Din UoB for his assistance making this MoU possible and said that PRC would like maximum people prepared and able to cope in an emergency situation. He said that everyone should learn at least some basic first aid techniques.You never know when you might need them. The death toll of deadly blast at civil hospital in Quetta was increased due to excessive bleeding and panic because people there did not know how to stop bleeding and basic First Aids Techniques.

Vice Chancellor University of Balochistan Dr. Javeid Iqbal said while addressing the ceremony that the engagement taken place today would be beneficial for both of the organizations. This is the largest and mother university of the province where around 10 thousand students are perusing their degrees. We all should know how to deal the emergency and any misshape. This MoU will give new dimension to the all stakeholders. It’s a beginning of new era in between two organizations that will take us to our ultimate destiny this society is meant for.

 

PRC (Balochistan) confers lifetime membership to Dr.Shehla

Quetta: In recognition of Dr.Shehla Sami’s courageous work for providing treatment to the injured of Quetta Hospital blast amid all the chaos on 8 August 2016, Pakistan Red Crescent (PRC) has conferred her with honorary lifetime membership of PRC & presented her shield in a ceremony at PRC building today. Medical Superintendent Civil Hospital Quetta Abdul Rehman Miankhel and Head of Gynae Department Dr. Naila Ehsan were also present with her.

Secretary PRC Dr. Imran Khan while admiring her courage and compassion said that we are going through a period of pandemonium and seeing such kind of marvelous example of nerve and sense of humanity should be appreciated by public and private both. This is a part of this appreciation on behalf of PRC. DR. Shehla was saving human lives fearlessly where everybody was trying to escape. She has brought proud to all the men and women of the society.

Dr. Shehla Sami Associate Professor said, “I am feeling flattered for being honored. I have done what every doctor should have done. This was in line of my duty. That was horrendous moment, there were so many victims crying, so many yells and blood splattered around. It would be graphic picture if I continue describing it.
“In my little capacity, as individual I started saving the blood of people, correcting their air ways, and asked people to assist me lifting and putting them in ambulances, private and police cars. That was not a miracle that I did, I only did my duty.” She added

She said “I would like to convey to all the doctors and people throughout the country that we should not be afraid of death and of any injury that may come to us. We are here to serve humanity. We need to be more motivated by performing our duties on regular basis religiously and effectively. All people should be trained of First Aids.”

Mir Behram Baloch is a ancohor/journalist covering government and social issues in Balochistan

Quetta: Roundtable on the Impact of Commercialization on Ethical Journalism in Pakistan

Quetta: Roundtable on the Impact of Commercialization on Ethical Journalism in Pakistan was held at Quetta Press Club today. Quetta Press Club organized the interactive session in collaboration with Mishal Pakistan.

Senior journalists, Industry experts, media professionals, civil society representatives and academicians attended the conference/roundtable dialogue along with a large number of students, scholars and faculty from the journalism and media sciences departments attended the session.

This was the third conference in the series of “Impact of Commercialization on Ethical Journalism”, earlier Mishal has interacted with stakeholders in Peshawar and Faisalabad as well.

Shahzada Zulfiqar, President Quetta Press Club in his address to the participants said, “Ethics is the most important factor for credible journalism”. He further said the “The practice of journalism calls for many questions on ethical issues”. He said, “Though ethics and journalism are inseparable, paradoxically enough, the ethical standards are almost never possible to be practiced in journalism”. “Balance, honesty, fairness, objectivity, liberty, truthfulness, accuracy, etc. constitute the conceptual framework around which journalistic activities revolve”, he added

While presenting the research paper on the ‘Impact of commercialization on media”, Amir Jahangir, Chief Executive Officer of Mishal Pakistan said, “Professional media ethics means maintaining balance, accuracy, truthfulness, impartiality, fairness and the respect of individual’s privacy in reporting all sort of journalistic writing. Full and partial lacking in maintaining these pillars of professional and ethical standards defines poor journalism”.

Amir Jahangir said, “Factors such as media persons, media owners, agenda of varied groups, governments, advertisers, market size, media audience, etc. influence the construction of media contents which seriously challenges the so called “Free Media” in terms of freedom and impartiality in Pakistan.”

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Speaking on the occasion, Syed Ali Shah Bureau Chief for DAWN News TV said, “Commercialization in Pakistani media emerged after the de-regulation in 2002 and the open-air ways policy and boom in the TV industry. About 10,000 fulltime and free lancers are working in the media industry in Pakistan”. He further said that, there are around 300 elite journalists especially in the TV industry who get extra ordinary monthly salary, whereas, the rest of the journalists are underpaid and are constantly insecure financially. In this situation fair and free journalism is serious challenge”.

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The Quetta Press Club and Mishal Pakistan also signed a memorandum of understanding to develop special training sessions for journalists to improve ethical standards and reporting on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially on the issues and challenges of “Eliminating Hidden Hunger”

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This Mishal activity was part of the DANIDA-supported ‘Strengthening Media in Pakistan’ project being implemented by International Media Support (IMS), which seeks to promote greater media professionalism in the country and an enabling environment in which to foster it through partnerships with key media stakeholders including media organizations, regulators, coalitions, parliament, policymakers and the government.

Mir Behram Baloch is a ancohor/journalist covering government and social issues in Balochistan

CPDI (PAKISTAN) Trains Journalists on “Journalist Safety” at Quetta

CPDI Trains Journalists on “Journalist Safety” at Quetta

Mir Behram Baloch

Quetta: Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) conducted a two days training on “Safety of Journalists in Pakistan in which Journalists from all over the District were trained by Trainers on the reporting from difficult areas and in difficult situation.

The participants were briefed about the challenges being faced by many journalists, especially those reporting from conflict-affected areas, who were subjected to the risks of threats and violent attacks.cccccc

 

Mr. Aoun Sahi while addressing to the journalists of District Quetta said, “Journalism has become a dangerous and challenging profession in recent years. Unfortunately, journalists are working in a very challenging environment in Pakistan, especially those reporting from conflict-affected areas, are exposed more to the risks of threats and violent attacks. Many journalists have been killed in Pakistan over the past decade, which is a strong violation of freedom of information.”

“Media is as a force for democratization and stability, as it plays an important role in building democratic and open societies by providing the public access to balanced and factual information,” he added.

In the training the journalists were told that research studies had determined that Pakistan was among the most dangerous countries for media in the world. Unfortunately, journalists are working in a very challenging environment in Pakistan. The risk in performing the journalistic duties can be minimized by adopting safety measures and acting upon specific safety guidelines.

The participants were given awareness about the latest techniques and safety measures adopted worldwide by journalists. The participants appreciated the efforts of CPDI and reiterated that they would use the leaned techniques in their field reporting.

President Balochistan Union of Journalists Mr. Hamadullah, General Secretary Quetta Press Club Khalil Ahmed, Senior Journalist Mr. Essa Khan Tareen, Master Trainers Mr. Aoun Sahi, Khalilurehma and Mr. Mohammad Asif Provincial Coordinator CPDI while distributing certificates to the participants expressed hope that through such safety trainings, many journalists would be better equipped to manage situations where there would be underlying risk factors.

Mir Behram Baloch is a ancohor/journalist covering government and social issues in Balochistan

Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) with the support of FAO launched in Balochistan

Quetta: Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement with support of Food & Agriculture Organization launched today in Balochistan. Planning and Development Minister Dr. Hamed Khan Achakzai alongwith Mr. Francisco Gamarro, Deputy Country Representative, Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), representatives from UNICEF, WHO, WFP, MI, international and local NGOs participated in the launching ceremony.

Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) has been launched to bring an understanding across the province about the factors that enable good nutrition and, conversely, the factors that also cause under-nutrition, which include insufficient protein-energy intake; poor health; inadequate child care and feeding practices, unsafe water and unhygienic conditions.

The Minister assured the gathering that the provincial government was working on a plan to fix the problem. “I hope the SUN movement and the multi-sector nutrition strategy initiative will help us improve nutrition levels in the province,” The Minister added.

Deputy Country Representative, FAO assured the Government of Balochistan for its continuous support. He appreciated the role of Government of Balochistan in addressing problem of malnutrition. “The efficiency with which the Government is dealing with the crisis can be used as a successful model in countries with similar situations.” He appreciated.

Speaking on the occasion Planning and development Minister prized the role of FAO and other partners as a valuable partner in addressing malnutrition in Balochistan. The Minister also congratulates SUN team for the efforts made and makes SUN Secretariat a reality.

Dr. Mubarik Ali, Member Planning Commission mentioned that fortunately, evidence tells us that focusing on the nutrition of pregnant mothers and babies under the age of two is critical, because in these critical 1000 days, as we call them, the foundation can be laid for a healthy life.

Dr. Nomeena Anis, Nutritionist and Gender Focal Person FAO highlighted that Balochistan was the most underdeveloped province of Pakistan and had a very poor health and nutrition situation. “According to the 2011 National Nutrition Survey, the prevalence of stunting in Balochistan is 52.2 %, amongst the highest in the world.” She added.

Dr. Nomeena said: “The prevalence of wasting is 16.1%, exceeding the WHO-threshold of 15%, indicating a public health emergency. Women and children also suffer from some of the world’s highest levels of vitamin and mineral deficiencies with maternal anemia at 47.3% and Vitamin A deficiency in children at 74%. Based on current trends, Balochistan is not on track to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Having above facts and figures of malnutrition in Balochistan, the province is in state of emergency as per WHO threshold.”

Mr. Aslam Shaheen, Chief Nutrition Planning Commission and National SUN Focal Point while reading message from Prof. AhsanIqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms underlined that if we wanted to address issues of malnutrition we would need long term sustained initiatives which include food security, child protection, gender dynamics which calls for nutrition sensitive interventions such as programs aimed at poverty alleviation, empowering women, targeted agriculture safety nets and early childhood development programs and a collective societal approach. whereby all segments of society such as media, government, civil society and public work in collaboration to provide an enabling environment which puts the issue of malnutrition at the center stage.

Mr. Shah Jehan, Chief Nutrition / Balochistan SUN Focal Point, Government of Balochistan informed that Multi-sectoral approach had been adopted to reduce malnutrition. “The provincial Nutrition Policy Guidance Notes and Strategy and SUN roadmaps have been developed and approved within the parametres of the Vision 2025.” He added.

Minister said, “Balochistan is resourceful province but the previous governments have not given enough attention to improving nutrition levels.” He added that An estimated three to four percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) was lost every year because of high levels of iron-, iodine- and protein-deficiency in the population. “Due to corruption and no democratic institution are responsible for this negligence.” He said.

Dr. Baseer Khan Achakzai, National Manager for Nutrition and Secretary National Food Fortification Alliance concluded the ceremony by saying that malnourished children could not produce a healthy nation, and even a labor. He stressed for a joint effort including all stakeholders.

Mir Behram Baloch is a ancohor/journalist covering government and social issues in Balochistan