Pakistani Children Claim "It's my Right, Make it Right"

I was surfing into my Facebook wall when I've seen an interesting post by Muhammed Asshir, a friend of mine and activist from Pakistan who works as the Program Manager at We Can End All Violence Against Women Pakistan.

He posted this picture with a description that "A distant dream came true! Its the first ever Children Parliament of Pakistan"! At a first glance, I thought it might be something like Model United Nations or Model European Union. However, actually this is not a Model UN Conference or Model Parliament! This is a real Children Parliament of Pakistan, the first ever Children Assembly in Pakistan with more than 200 children coming across 36 districts of Pakistan,in particluar from the marginalized and disadvantaged backgrounds. 

I felt a special pride of these kids and asked Aashir about the event. He said:" it is just like the Pakistani Parliament, starting from reading holy verses of the Quran, to the national anthem when all the parliamentarian members stand in the honor of the national anthem putting their hands on their heart..."

These kids who have gathered for three days, were divided into 5 committees where they had chair persons  to moderate the sessions. Each committee debated on their thematic focus, bringing on fore the problems, and proposing the solutions as they perceived it. The most remarkable part is that these children, at the end, produced a bill against Article 25-A, which is a constitutional right of education for every child in Pakistan, and particularly states that "Every child of the age 12-16 if not able to afford his or her education, then its the liability of the government to ensure that their education in the most appropriate manner". It doesn't stop here! This bill will be presented to the National Assembly of parliamentarians who will be debating and making it a formal amendment in the constitution of Pakistan!

 The slogan was "It's my Right, Make it Right" which is very expressive. "the first part of the slogan "Its my Right" is basically to draw the attention that education is my right", Aashir explained, "and the second part of the slogan "Make it Right" is basically the demand from the duty bearers that since education is my right so its your duty to grant me the provision of my constitutional right".

This is not the government's initiative, this is a civil society initiative of the Pakistani youth who worked hard on implementing their idea because they believe the "child of today is man of tomorrow" and these kids are the future leaders. By standing up in a real parliament, discussing in committees, debating and voting on their resolution, they have already taken a step towards claiming their rights, pushing their agenda and pressuring the state to respond to their needs.

I think this is a lesson from Pakistan to both Governments and Civil society organizations.
It is no more the era of  passing legislation by legislators and policy makers, it is the time for the voices of the general masses to be heard, where the children have their say! As Aashir said: "they are standing as policy makers to draft their own policy". On the other hand, as civil society organizations, we should  not wait for the government or expect it to empower youth or children, to guarantee our rights or create structured bodies to discuss our issues, WE should just take the initiative and the government will follow, just like what the Pakistani government did by showing interested to give support the Children Parliament of Pakistan after its big success! and remember "It always seems Impossible Until it is DONE"

 Check out the report here 


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