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Role of Civil society organizaion and Political participation of Youth in Pakistan
ABSTRACT Pakistan has a significantly higher ratio of the younger population comprising of just over 60 per cent, however, these young voices are largely unrepresented in the political system thus a majority of them are excluded from policy development. The focus of this study is to analyze the role of civil society in promoting youth participation in the political process. The methodology of the study includes a review of the existing stock of literature on youth participation in politics and the role of CSOs in the promotion of youth participation in politics, followed by collecting and analyzing primary data from 200 university students aged 18-29, and interview from 10 members of CSOs working in Pakistan. Finding from both Survey and the interview shows that like other democratic countries, there is strong role and space available for CSOs to play in engagement of youth for political participation in Pakistan, but a limited number of CSOs are working specifically on political participation of youth. Most CSOs don’t work in this domain given its dependence on government rules and regulation and are not allowed to work on the political emancipation of youth that resultantly makes the government accountable to the people. Another reason is the CSOs lack financial independence and sustainability and their function as a watchdog and making the political leadership and governments accountable to the public is weak. Those CSOs engaged in promoting youth political participation do it by arranging workshops, seminars, social gathering, public talks and publishing its reports for the youth political empowerment in Pakistan. Thus the study concludes the role of CSOs in promoting and enhancing youth political participation in Pakistan is limited.