Lahore, Pakistan – December 03, 2023: The Peace and Education Foundation (PEF) conducted a phenomenal four-day workshop on the capacity building of youth hailing from Punjab’s different districts. These young participants hailed from various backgrounds including, religio-political parties, madrassas, social work, and media. This dedicated cohort has been equipped with the essential knowledge and values of democracy, enabling them to comprehend their pivotal role in shaping the democratic landscape of Pakistan

The workshop’s inaugurated warmly by Ms. Irsa Shafiq, the project manager, share the project’s objectives and scope, providing a comprehensive overview of key terminologies. Ghulam Murtaza, Director of the Peace and Education Foundation, discussed the foundation’s various research, advocacy, and capacity-building programs designed for different segments of society. He also led sessions on developing seed projects aimed at increasing youth’s political participation in Pakistan. Dr. Muhamad Hussain, author of the recently launched book “Democracy and Pakistani Youth,” facilitated engaging reading circles, discussions, and experiential activities to explore different aspects of democracy.

Distinguished subject matter experts from academia delivered sessions which included Abdul Ghani delivered a session on Power of One: Pakistani Youth and Democracy, Sahibzada Amanat Rasool delivered a session on Islam, Democracy, and the Muslim World, Professor Dr. Shanbaz Manj delivered a session on State, Government, and Governance. Advocate Jawad Zafar delivered a session on the Constitution of Pakistan: Fundamental Human Rights and our responsibilities as citizens.

One of the highlights of the workshop was a mock election exercise, which actively engaged participants in the democratic voting process, further reinforcing their understanding of it. The culmination of the four-day workshop was marked by PEF’s strategic move to organize these young democracy advocates into clusters, empowering them to champion democratic values within their respective communities through community engagement projects, social media campaigns, and print media publications.

Notable figures, including Worthy Dr. Taimur Rehman, Associate Professor of Political Science at LUMS, Zanaya Chaudhary (Transgender & Women rights activist, and human rights defender, working as the victim support officer with Punjab Police) and Pir Syed Habib Irfani (Member of Council of Islamic Ideology), Mehmood Ghaznavi Head National Peace Committee and Moulana Asim Makhdoom, Chairman all sects Ulema Board and Nayyab Ali (Human Rights Activist) graced the closing ceremony with their insights on the workshop’s significance and the crucial role of youth in advancing democracy in Pakistan.


Participants Feedback:

Ahmed Hassan Malik from Islamabad:

Understanding the basics of the constitution, democracy, and how the government works is super important for university graduates like me. This workshop has been an eye-opener, providing a profound enlightenment on these pivotal subjects. It has become apparent through this platform that our nation holds the potential for a brighter future, one that depends on the actions of our youth. This workshop really captured the energy of young people who are eager to make a positive change. It did this by teaching us about our rights and responsibilities in a democracy, sparking enthusiasm and commitment among us to drive things in the right direction. Not only has it underscored the significance of our individual roles, but it has also provided the way forward to a more robust and functional democracy in Pakistan.”


Naimat-Ur-Raheem from Lahore:

“As a graduate of both university and madrassah, my understanding of the compatibility between democracy and Islam has always been unclear. Unfortunately, there was a prevailing misconception among students that democracy and Islam stood at odds. However, this workshop reshaped my perspective entirely. It armed me with the understanding that democracy actually aligns with the principles of Islam. Throughout the four days, participants actively engaged in democratic practices, solidifying this realization. Additionally, the workshop provided crucial insights into the Constitution of Pakistan, shedding light on sensitive issues like gender and ethnicity.”

Dr. Hafiz Waseem Abbas from Gujranwala:

“The despair looming over the youth of Pakistan demanded a breakthrough, making this workshop an absolute necessity to pull them out of the state of hopelessness. It played a crucial role in dispelling my misconceptions surrounding democratic values and their correlation with Islam. Beyond that, it illuminated the societal barriers hindering our democratic progress and offered strategies to foster democratic behavior from the grass root level. I am resolute in my commitment to spread the insights gained from this workshop among the students at GIFT University in the Gujranwala district, where I serve as a teacher. It is important that we instill these principles to pave the way for a truly democratic society.”