UNDP: Pakistan has largest youth population in country’s history

Minister of Interior Ahsan Iqbal launched the Pakistan National Human Development Report. (Photo courtesy: Ahsan Iqbal/Twitter)
Updated 04 May 2018
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UNDP: Pakistan has largest youth population in country’s history

  • NHDR notes that 64 percent of Pakistan’s total population is below the age of 30 while 29 percent is between 15 and 29 years old
  • Pakistan is the “second youngest in South Asian region after Afghanistan.”

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Pakistan launched its National Human Development Report (NHDR) that focuses on youth, primarily because Pakistan currently has the largest generation of young people recorded in its history.

The NHDR report said that 64 percent of the total population is below the age of 30, and 29 percent is between the ages of 15 and 29.

“It is currently one of the youngest countries in the world and the second youngest in the South Asian region after Afghanistan,” the report said.

The report title “Unleashing the potential of a Young Pakistan” was launched in Islamabad on Wednesday. It seeks to understand Pakistan’s human development challenges for the future.

“It focuses on how to improve human development outcomes — by empowering young people, addressing the root causes of the obstacles they face, and by proposing innovative ways to surmount these challenges,” UNDP said in a statement.
 
The report examined three key drivers of youth empowerment: quality education, gainful employment and meaningful engagement.

Written by Dr. Adil Najam, dean at Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University and Dr. Faisal Bari, associate professor of economics at the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), the Pakistan NHDR accentuates the critical role played by quality education, steady employment and meaningful engagement.
 
The report uses the Human Development Index (HDI) to measure overall achievement, emphasizing three main aspects in a country’s policy-making: people, opportunities and choices.

Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Interior and Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, who attended the launch of the report, said: “It is essential to include young people at all levels of decision-making, because voice and participation are a key part of the human development approach and important for long term policy-making.”
 
Neil Buhne, the UN resident coordinator, said: “Never have the opportunities for social, economic and political progress been so great. Nor have the challenges facing us ever been more pressing. Being aware of this opportunity, the United Nations in line with the Government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025, has prioritized working with youth as a key pillar of our work across the board.”
 
Dr. Adil Najam, co-lead author of the NHDR, said: “The future of Pakistan — one way or the other — will be determined by those who are between age 15 and 29 today. The single most useful thing that the rest of us can do is to create meaningful opportunities in education, employment and engagement that can empower our young to unleash their potential.”


US unveils action group to run policy on ‘malign’ Iran

Updated 14 min 33 sec ago
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US unveils action group to run policy on ‘malign’ Iran

  • Brian Hook led the Trump administration's unsuccessful attempt to negotiate changes to the Iran nuclear deal
  • Pompeo and other officials have denied that the administration is seeking to foment regime change in Iran

WASHINGTON/JEDDAH: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has named Brian Hook as the new 'special representative' for Iran, who will head up an 'Iran Action Group.'

Pompeo declared he is forming the dedicated group to coordinate and run US policy toward Iran as the Donald Trump administration moves ahead with efforts to force changes in the country's behavior after withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal.

Officials said the group will be headed by Brian Hook, who is currently the State Department's director of policy planning. Hook led the Trump administration's ultimately unsuccessful attempt to negotiate changes to the nuclear deal with European allies before the president decided in May to pull out of the accord.

Since withdrawing, the administration has re-imposed sanctions that were eased under the deal and has steadily ramped up pressure on Iran to try to get it to stop what it describes as "malign activities" in the region. 

In addition to its nuclear and missile programs, the administration has repeatedly criticized Iran for supporting Syrian President Bashar Assad, Shiite rebels in Yemen and anti-Israel groups. It has also in recent weeks stepped up criticism of Iran's human rights record and is working with other nations to curb their imports of Iranian oil.

The administration is warning Iran's oil customers that they will face US sanctions in November unless they significantly reduce their imports with an eye on eliminating them entirely. 

It has also told businesses and governments in Europe that they may also be subject to penalties if they violate, ignore or attempt to subvert the re-imposed US sanctions.

In his new job, Hook is to oversee implementation of the administration's entire Iran policy, the officials said. Pompeo and other officials have denied that the administration is seeking to foment regime change in Iran and maintain they only want to see the government change course. Pompeo created a similar group dedicated to working on North Korea policy while he was director of the CIA.

Hook is expected to be replaced as policy planning chief by Kiron Skinner, a foreign policy academic and adviser to several Republican presidential candidates who served on President Donald Trump's national security transition team and very briefly at the State Department after Trump took office, according to the officials who were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, two leading German firms are the latest to pull out of projects in Iran as the sanctions take a toll on foreign investment. Rail operator Deutsche Bahn and Deutsche Telekom said they would end their involvement because firms investing in Iran will be barred from doing business with the US. Oil firm Total, and carmakers PSA, Renault and Daimler have said they will also withdraw.

Harvard scholar and Iranian-affairs expert Majid Rafizadeh said the regime in Tehran is in deep trouble at home as the sanctions, which came into effect last week, are working.  

“More companies and firms are halting their business deals with Iran,” he said. “Foreign investors are also withdrawing. This is significant due to the fact that many foreign investors have invested billions of dollars in Iran’s debt market as Tehran’s economy is cash-strapped.

“On the surface, Iran’s leaders are brushing aside the sanctions as trivial, but Tehran is significantly wary as the sanctions are affecting its economy negatively. If the Iranian regime does not alter its destructive behavior, the sanctions will cripple its economy.”

The first wave of sanctions focuses on preventing Iran from purchasing US dollars and precious metals, and targeting the automotive and other sectors. A second wave in November will target energy, the main source of Iranian state revenues.

(With AP)