Pakistan has experienced a mushrooming growth of INGOs and NGOs during the Musharraf era, the Earthquake of 8th October 2008, the super flood of 2010 and the frequent drought in Thar and other desert areas. Many international INGOs helped people in rescue, Relief, Rehabilitation people and reconstruction of damaged houses.
Every INGO came with their own key areas such as poverty alleviation , Environment , Peace , Water and Sanitation ,shelter , social mobilization and advocacy ,governance and Democracy , voter education and women representations , Human rights , Child rights , Old age people , Alternative Energy such as Solar , wind and Biogas initiatives , health and education , reproductive health, Honour Killing , religious harmony and other sectors. So much so that every INGO had own priority to work and even involved local NGOs as implementation partners (IPs). Most of NGOs are funded by Unicef, WHO, European Union ECHO, UK AID, AusAid, USAID, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Turkish Government, Bangladesh.
The INGOs benefitted the local youth through employment, vendors and hiring labour for the projects with high wages. I still remember, when I was working with a development organization as Program Manager, I was startled to see youth workers aged between 20 to 30 working in various projects of emergency especially the super floods of 2010. The Average salaries of these youth were equal to grade 16, 17 or even grade 18 government officer thus luring the people to Development sector after shrinking public and private jobs in Pakistan ., They were earning 30 k to 80K per month given their qualification, Skills and experience. The Project Managers, Coordinators, Provincial managers crossed 100K to 300K depending on the INGO and Nature of donor-funding as per approved budget.
A local mason was reported by saying that during 2010 floods he managed to earn 100K in a month by working on shelter projects of an INGO namely Acted. He said prior to flood emergency, he had hardly earned his living and hardly had eaten the two times meals.
He said that INGO contracted him to work on the construction projects and he was under heavy overload that impelled him to hire own workers and even started his own construction company and won contracts.
Another vendor selling paints and sanitary fittings said that working with INGOs, his sales multiplied to extent that he started two warehouses to meet demand.
One of the development workers said that working with the INGOs, He was able to buy his own house in a year as prior to this; he lived in a rented house.
These were the few examples that became the case studies due to the intervention of these International Development Organizations throughout Pakistan especially in Baluchistan, KPK and Sindh.
Sindh, KP and Punjab experienced severe damages to roads, properties, infrastructure and livestock during the super floods of 2010. INGOs from major European and Asian countries pour in Pakistan and started working on flood emergency Projects from Rationing to shelters and tents, Health and hygiene kits, Public Health Promotion, Education and Water tankering.
Several Organizations engaged the people for Cash for Work activities in the villages to rebuild their houses and damaged tracks and roads. This gave great satisfaction to these flood affected segments to earn the respectable living working on their village development Plan. Hundreds of educated and talented youth became part of various INGOs and helped their fellow Pakistanis besides the foreign Aid workers. The relief camps were set up as per the Government plan with help of local district Administration.
The government had to fulfil a mammoth task to mitigate the disaster as it was beyond the capacity of Government to have dealt with all alone but with the help of development partners, it was fulfilled smoothly and effectively.
It was reported that people continued receiving aid for food, shelter and nutritional items from INGOs including the UN agencies such as UNICEF, UNDP, WHO, UNOCHA, UNHCR, FAO, UN-HABITAT, WFP etc for a year. UNOCHA was drawing and preparing maps for the affected areas and it played a pivotal role in targeting the population that needed relief and located them properly. WFP provided food items for adults as well as nutritional products for the children including chocolate, biscuits and milk for infants and babies.
UNICEF promoted the healthy-learning activities among the children such as games, play way learning techniques and painting competitions for children in relief camps and brought smiles back on their faces to forget the miseries of the flood.
All the INGOs did their best and helped the Federal and provincial governments to mitigate the natural disaster and helped in rebuilding the infrastructure and creating resilience among the people.
Now the question arises that asking INGOs to pack up owing to their suspicious activities may lead to making these youth jobless again since they cannot get such handsome salaries even in government or public sectors.
The initiative may put jobs of hundreds of aid workers and development professionals on stake since they have been working in these development organizations for the last 18 years and have gained tremendous knowledge, experience and developed their skills and have become professionals in their field. Snatching bread from their hand tantamounts to throwing them in muddy quagmire of unemployment as most of them have become overage and are not eligible to apply for any government job thus their opportunities become limited with the looming sword of the ouster of these INGOs and ever-shrinking job market.
It is recommended that the Government should regulate the activities of INGO either through SECP or Interior Ministry with the help of Ministries of Social welfare and the Ministry of Labour so that the activities of INGOs and their local implementation partners may be monitored to avoid any breach of trust or violation of regulatory framework envisaged by Pakistan.
The Development partners may help government end the faulty contract system that has plagued the development schemes and incurring the loss of billions through the delivery of substandard structures owing to commissioning and percentage system existing in public sector especially the Government Treasuries and Accounts offices.
The rampant corruption committed by the contractors and the Public works departments call for the government to assign public sector schemes to INGOs/NGOs through competitive bidding and shortlisting on the basis of their previous performance. The Development organizations have deep roots in the masses and may prove beneficial in delivering standard outputs as per the demands of the public.
PTI Government should act sensibly and should come up with INGOs/NGOs governance or regulation policy to curb the suspicious activities of any INGO or local NGO and save thousands of Development professionals specially the Youth from falling prey to the monster of unemployment as government seems to have no alternate option to engage these professionals elsewhere given their knowledge in emergency nature projects . Their career will be at stake if the INGOs are forced to close their operations in Pakistan.
Pakistan frequently faces emergencies and natural disasters in terms of food scarcity, drought, malnutrition, stunting and famine in Thar desert of Sindh as well as in the desert areas of Punjab and Baluchistan while these international development organizations may steer the country out of such crises and disasters if their services are availed and valued in the purview of job creation and disaster mitigation instead of forcing them to pack up and leave .
Biden Boosts Pacific Diplomacy: Strengthening U.S. Engagement in the Indo-Pacific
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In an era marked by shifting global power dynamics, economic interdependence, and regional security challenges, the United States under the leadership of President Joe Biden has placed a renewed emphasis on its engagement in the Indo-Pacific region. The Indo-Pacific has emerged as a geopolitical epicentre, where economic vitality, strategic interests, and diplomatic endeavours converge. President Biden’s commitment to boosting Pacific diplomacy underscores a strategic shift aimed at reinforcing America’s presence, fostering regional stability, and building enduring partnerships.
This blog post delves into the multifaceted aspects of President Biden’s Pacific diplomacy strategy, examining its objectives, key initiatives, and implications for the United States and its allies in the Indo-Pacific. As we explore the dynamics of this critical region, we will see how President Biden’s approach seeks to address complex challenges while capitalizing on the vast opportunities presented by the Indo-Pacific.
Understanding the Indo-Pacific
Before delving into President Biden’s initiatives, it is imperative to comprehend the significance of the Indo-Pacific region. Stretching from the eastern shores of Africa to the western coast of the Americas, the Indo-Pacific encompasses a vast expanse of land and sea, home to over half the world’s population and accounting for a significant share of global economic output. It is a region of immense strategic importance, characterized by diverse cultures, economies, and geopolitical interests.
The Indo-Pacific hosts major global players, including China, India, Japan, and Australia, each with its own vision for the region’s future. China’s rapid economic rise, military modernization, and assertive behaviour in the South China Sea have sparked concerns among its neighbours and the broader international community. India’s burgeoning economy and growing influence further add to the region’s complexity.
The United States has long maintained a security presence in the Indo-Pacific through its alliances and partnerships, notably with Japan, South Korea, and Australia. However, in recent years, concerns arose about the sustainability of this commitment, prompting a reassessment of U.S. priorities in the region.
President Biden’s Pacific Diplomacy: Objectives and Initiatives
President Biden’s Pacific diplomacy strategy is rooted in a clear set of objectives aimed at promoting a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific. These objectives can be summarized as follows:
- Strengthening Alliances and Partnerships: The cornerstone of President Biden’s Indo-Pacific strategy is the reinforcement of existing alliances, such as the U.S.-Japan alliance, and the cultivation of new partnerships. The Quad, a strategic forum comprising the United States, Japan, India, and Australia, has gained prominence as a mechanism for enhancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific.
- Countering China’s Assertiveness: While the Biden administration has emphasized competition with China across various domains, it also seeks areas of cooperation, such as climate change and global health. The administration’s approach balances competition with engagement, recognizing that competition does not preclude cooperation.
- Economic Engagement: Recognizing the economic significance of the Indo-Pacific, President Biden has underscored the importance of trade and investment in the region. His administration has explored opportunities for economic partnerships and infrastructure development, such as the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative.
- Promoting Democracy and Human Rights: Upholding democratic values and human rights is integral to President Biden’s foreign policy approach. In the Indo-Pacific, this translates into support for democratic institutions, civil society, and the rule of law.
- Addressing Climate Change and Environmental Challenges: Climate change poses a significant threat to the Indo-Pacific, with rising sea levels and extreme weather events affecting many countries in the region. President Biden’s commitment to addressing climate change aligns with the region’s urgent need for environmental resilience.
Key Initiatives and Partnerships
- The Quad: The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad, has emerged as a critical platform for security and strategic cooperation in the Indo-Pacific. President Biden has reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to the Quad, which includes regular meetings among the leaders of the United States, Japan, India, and Australia. The Quad’s agenda covers a wide range of issues, including maritime security, cybersecurity, infrastructure development, and vaccine distribution.
- AUKUS: The Australia, UK, and US (AUKUS) security partnership has garnered significant attention for its focus on enhancing defence capabilities and technology sharing. AUKUS aims to bolster Australia’s naval capabilities, particularly through the acquisition of nuclear-powered submarines. This initiative signals a deeper commitment to regional security in the Indo-Pacific.
- ASEAN Engagement: The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plays a central role in regional diplomacy. President Biden has actively engaged with ASEAN member states to strengthen ties and address common challenges. The United States is also working to advance the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which emphasizes ASEAN centrality and principles of inclusivity and transparency.
- Infrastructure Investment: The Indo-Pacific is in dire need of infrastructure development to support economic growth and connectivity. President Biden’s administration has introduced the Build Back Better World (B3W) initiative, aimed at mobilizing private sector investment in areas such as climate-resilient infrastructure, digital technology, and health security. This initiative complements China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and offers an alternative approach to infrastructure development.
- Climate Change Mitigation: Recognizing the existential threat posed by climate change, President Biden has prioritized climate action as a cornerstone of his foreign policy. The United States has engaged with Indo-Pacific nations to promote clean energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and enhance climate resilience in the region.
Implications and Challenges
President Biden’s emphasis on boosting Pacific diplomacy carries profound implications for the United States, its allies, and the broader Indo-Pacific region. Some of the key implications and challenges include:
- Balancing Competition and Cooperation: Striking the right balance between competition and cooperation with China is a delicate task. While competition in the Indo-Pacific is inevitable, the United States and its allies must identify areas of common interest where cooperation is possible.
- Enhancing Regional Stability: The Indo-Pacific faces numerous security challenges, including territorial disputes, North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, and the rise of non-state actors. President Biden’s strategy aims to enhance regional stability through strengthened alliances and partnerships.
- Economic Opportunities: The Indo-Pacific offers immense economic opportunities, but it also presents challenges related to market access, trade disputes, and intellectual property protection. President Biden’s administration must navigate these complexities to promote economic growth.
- Geopolitical Shifts: The Indo-Pacific is witnessing shifting geopolitical alignments, with countries reassessing their strategic priorities. President Biden’s approach seeks to align the United States with like-minded nations while preserving flexibility in response to evolving dynamics.
- Human Rights and Democracy: Upholding democratic values and human rights is a central component of President Biden’s Pacific diplomacy. Balancing this commitment with pragmatic diplomacy may require careful navigation in situations where U.S. interests intersect with autocratic regimes.
President Joe Biden’s commitment to boosting Pacific diplomacy represents a strategic shift aimed at reinforcing America’s presence in the Indo-Pacific and fostering regional stability. His multi-pronged approach, including strengthening alliances and partnerships, countering China’s assertiveness, promoting economic engagement, and addressing global challenges, reflects a nuanced understanding of the region’s complexities.
The Indo-Pacific is a dynamic and consequential theater, where the United States, its allies, and partners must navigate a complex web of geopolitical, economic, and security interests. President Biden’s initiatives, such as the Quad and AUKUS, signal a renewed American commitment to the region’s security and prosperity. Moreover, his emphasis on climate change and infrastructure development underscores the broader global challenges that require collective action.
As the Indo-Pacific continues to evolve, President Biden’s Pacific diplomacy provides a framework for addressing challenges, seizing opportunities, and shaping the region’s future. In doing so, the United States aims to promote a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific that benefits all nations in the region and contributes to global stability and prosperity.
From Gerontocracy to Youthcracy: The Dilemma of Political Parties in Pakistan
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The political landscape of Pakistan is undergoing a profound transformation, marked by a shift from gerontocracy to youthcracy. This article provides an in-depth exploration of this transition, its implications for political parties, and the evolving dynamics of power in the country. In a comprehensive examination, we delve into the challenges and opportunities faced by political parties as they adapt to this rapidly changing political landscape.
Gerontocracy, a term that has been frequently used to characterize the Pakistani political system, describes a situation where the elderly wield considerable power and influence in the governance of a nation. In Pakistan, this phenomenon has prevailed for decades, with senior politicians dominating the political stage. However, as the demographics of the country evolve, with a growing population of young citizens, political parties are confronted with a complex dilemma.
The Emergence of Youthcracy
The Power of the Youth Vote
Pakistan boasts a vibrant and youthful population, with a significant percentage under the age of 30. These young individuals are increasingly becoming politically aware and active, wielding the potential to reshape the nation’s political landscape. The emergence of youth power, often referred to as youthcracy, has become a defining feature of contemporary Pakistani politics.
The power of the youth vote cannot be overstated. The sheer number of young voters makes them a formidable force to be reckoned with. Political parties are beginning to recognize that winning the allegiance of this demographic is no longer an option but a necessity.
Challenges Faced by Political Parties
Balancing Experience and Fresh Perspective
One of the foremost challenges confronting political parties in Pakistan is how to navigate the delicate balance between the seasoned politicians who have long held sway and the energetic yet relatively inexperienced youth. The interplay between experience and fresh perspectives has become a pivotal factor for the success of any political party.
While experienced politicians bring a wealth of knowledge and a deep understanding of the intricacies of governance, they may also be associated with entrenched interests and resistance to change. In contrast, the youth represent innovation, fresh ideas, and a desire for reform. Striking the right equilibrium between these two demographics is crucial for political parties seeking to remain relevant and effective.
Adapting to Modern Communication
The youth are digitally connected, and their political awakening often happens on social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok have become powerful tools for mobilization and advocacy. Political parties must adapt to these changing communication dynamics to engage with the younger generation effectively.
Traditional campaign methods, such as door-to-door canvassing and rallies, are no longer sufficient. Digital campaigns, online debates, and viral content creation have become the norm. Political parties must invest in sophisticated digital strategies, engaging with the youth where they are most active and receptive.
Strategies for Political Parties
Navigating the transition from gerontocracy to youthcracy requires strategic foresight and adaptability. Here are key strategies that political parties can employ to thrive in this evolving political landscape:
Encouraging Youth Participation
To embrace youthcracy, political parties must actively encourage young individuals to participate in politics. This goes beyond tokenism and superficial youth wings within parties. It involves offering substantial leadership roles to young politicians, mentorship programs, and providing platforms for the youth to voice their concerns.
Moreover, political parties should prioritize issues that resonate with the youth, such as education, employment opportunities, and environmental sustainability. Addressing these concerns demonstrates a commitment to the aspirations of the younger generation.
Embracing Technological Advancements
Utilizing technology for outreach, campaigns, and information dissemination is no longer optional—it is imperative. Political parties need to harness the power of data analytics, targeted advertising, and social media engagement to connect with the younger audience effectively.
Digital platforms provide an opportunity for direct interaction with voters, allowing parties to gauge sentiment, address concerns in real time, and tailor their messaging to specific demographics. This digital transformation also extends to fundraising efforts, which can now be conducted online with greater efficiency and transparency.
Promoting Transparency and Accountability
The youth are often more critical of corruption and inefficiency in government. Political parties must prioritize transparency and accountability to gain the trust of this demographic. Implementing robust anti-corruption measures, disclosing sources of funding, and holding party members accountable for misconduct are essential steps.
Furthermore, political parties should adopt a culture of inclusivity, where decisions are made collectively, and policies are developed through open dialogue. This approach not only fosters trust but also ensures that the concerns of diverse segments of the population, including the youth, are considered.
The transformation from gerontocracy to youthcracy is reshaping the landscape of Pakistani politics. This paradigm shift presents both challenges and opportunities for political parties. Those who successfully adapt to these changes will be better positioned to address the evolving needs and aspirations of the Pakistani population.
As we move forward, the key to political success in Pakistan lies in embracing the demographic realities of the country. The youth are not merely the future; they are the present. Their voices, aspirations, and demands must be at the forefront of political agendas.
In conclusion, the era of youthcracy in Pakistan signals a new dawn in the nation’s political history. It is a testament to the vitality and dynamism of the country’s youth. Political parties that understand this transition and respond proactively will not only survive but thrive in the evolving landscape of Pakistani politics.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What is gerontocracy in the context of Pakistani politics? Gerontocracy refers to a political system where older individuals hold significant power and influence in the government.
- What is youthcracy, and how is it affecting political parties in Pakistan? Youthcracy represents the growing influence of the younger generation in politics, challenging traditional power dynamics within political parties in Pakistan.
- Why is the youth vote important in Pakistani politics? The youth vote is crucial because Pakistan has a significant young population, and their political engagement can shape the country’s future.
- How can political parties in Pakistan encourage youth participation? Political parties can encourage youth participation by offering leadership roles, mentorship programs, and creating platforms for young voices.
- What role does technology play in the transition to youthcracy? Technology is essential for reaching and engaging with the youth. Political parties need to utilize digital strategies for effective communication.
- Why is transparency and accountability important in attracting the youth to vote? The youth often demand transparency and accountability in politics, and parties that prioritize these values are more likely to gain their trust.
- What are the benefits of a political party embracing both experience and fresh perspectives? Embracing both experience and fresh perspectives allows a party to draw on the wisdom of seasoned politicians while also tapping into the energy and innovation of the youth.
- How can political parties effectively use social media to engage with the youth? Political parties can use social media by creating engaging content, participating in online discussions, and addressing the concerns and issues that matter most to young voters.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Embarks on a 4-Day Russia Visit for Crucial Security Talks
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In a rapidly evolving global landscape, diplomatic relations between nations play a pivotal role in shaping the course of international affairs. One such significant development that has garnered attention recently is the four-day visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Russia for security talks. The visit holds immense significance, not just for China and Russia but also for the broader global community. This article delves into the key aspects of this visit, the implications it carries, and the broader context of Sino-Russian relations in the realm of security.
The Historical Context
China and Russia have a long history of diplomatic and strategic ties that have seen remarkable transformations over the years. In the Cold War era, the Sino-Soviet split created a substantial rift between these two communist giants. However, the early 21st century saw a remarkable rapprochement between the two nations, marked by the signing of the China-Russia Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation in 2001. This treaty has laid the foundation for strong economic, political, and security cooperation between the two nations.
Security Cooperation: The Heart of Sino-Russian Relations
Security cooperation has been at the heart of Sino-Russian relations, given their shared interests and concerns in various global and regional security issues. China and Russia have consistently supported each other in international forums, often in opposition to the policies of the United States and its allies. This security collaboration spans a wide range of areas, from arms sales to joint military exercises and cooperation in international organizations like the United Nations.
Key Agenda Points for Wang Yi’s Visit
Afghanistan and Regional Stability
One of the most pressing issues on the agenda is the evolving situation in Afghanistan. The U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan has left a power vacuum in the region, with potential security implications for neighbouring countries, including China and Russia. Both nations share concerns about the possibility of a resurgence of extremist groups in Afghanistan and the potential for instability spilling over into Central Asia. Wang Yi’s visit to Russia is likely to involve discussions on strategies to promote peace and stability in Afghanistan.
Countering U.S. Influence
China and Russia have a shared interest in countering what they perceive as undue U.S. influence in global affairs. Both nations have voiced their concerns over U.S. policies, such as sanctions and military deployments, which they view as encroachments on their sovereignty and a threat to their security. This visit provides an opportunity for China and Russia to reaffirm their commitment to a multipolar world order and to discuss ways to counterbalance U.S. influence.
Strengthening Bilateral Security Ties
China and Russia have a robust history of military cooperation, including joint military exercises and arms sales. During Wang Yi’s visit, the two countries are likely to explore avenues for further enhancing their bilateral security ties. This could include discussions on joint defence projects, technology transfers, and information sharing to address common security challenges.
In addition to Afghanistan, the two nations may also discuss other regional hotspots that have implications for their security interests. These may include issues related to North Korea, the South China Sea, and the Taiwan Strait. By coordinating their positions on these matters, China and Russia can exert greater influence in resolving regional conflicts and promoting stability.
Wang Yi’s visit to Russia carries several important implications for the international community and the evolving global order:
Strengthening the China-Russia Axis
This visit is likely to strengthen the China-Russia axis, which has been characterized by deepening cooperation in multiple spheres. As both nations seek to assert themselves on the global stage, their partnership becomes increasingly influential, challenging the dominance of Western powers.
Countering Western Alliances
China and Russia’s alignment presents a challenge to the Western alliances led by the United States. Their coordinated efforts in international forums can obstruct Western initiatives and policies, leading to a more contentious international environment.
The discussions on Afghanistan and other regional hotspots are essential for maintaining stability in critical areas. China and Russia, as major regional powers, can contribute significantly to conflict resolution and peacebuilding efforts.
Multipolar World Order
While the visit primarily focuses on security talks, it could also pave the way for further economic cooperation between China and Russia. Strengthening economic ties can provide a solid foundation for their broader partnership.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s four-day visit to Russia for security talks is a significant development in the ever-evolving landscape of international relations. As China and Russia continue to assert themselves as major global players, their partnership becomes increasingly influential. The outcome of this visit will not only impact the bilateral relations between the two nations but also have far-reaching implications for global security and the balance of power in the 21st century.
The world watches with keen interest as China and Russia strengthen their alliance and navigate the complexities of international diplomacy. How they choose to leverage their partnership will shape the future of international politics and security in the years to come.
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