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close this bookContributions of Youth to the Implementation of the Habitat Agenda (HABITAT, 1999, 137 p.)
close this folderPART II: NATIONAL REPORTS
View the documentII.1 BRAZIL
View the documentII.2 COLOMBIA
View the documentII.3 INDIA
View the documentII.4 KENYA
View the documentII.5 PAKISTAN
View the documentII.6 SENEGAL
View the documentII.7 TURKEY


July 1999, prepared by Youth Resource & Information Centre (YRIC)
S-4, 8th Staff Lane, Phase I, DHA, Karachi, Pakistan
Phone: 92-21-589 3796


The ninth most populous country in the world, Pakistan stands at number four among world’s 37 low-income countries. With an area of 796,095 square kilometers, Pakistan stands at number thirty-fourth in the world area-wise.

Pakistan is situated between latitudes of 23 30 and 36 45 north and between the longitudes of 61 and 75 31 east. With its capital, Islamabad, Pakistan is administratively divided into four provinces namely, Sindh, Punjab, NorthWest Frontier Province (NWFP), and Balochistan. In addition, there are the Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) and the Federally Administered Northern Area (FANA).

Pakistan has a mountainous geography. In the north it is bound by the Himalayan ranges, the Karakoram range and the Hindukush beyond it. The Himalayas have an average elevation of 6,100 meters with some of the highest peaks in the world. K-2 (Mount Godwin Austin), 8,611 meters, is the highest peak of the Karakoram range and the second highest in the world.

1.1 Demographic Situation

Pakistan, people between 15 - 29 years are considered as youth. According to 1998 census, the demographic distribution is as follows:

Age groups




















Youth constitute 27% of the entire population of Pakistan. More than 34% of the youth live in urban area while 66% live in rural areas. This shows a trend close to the national trend of rural - urban distribution.

1.2 Major Human Settlements Conditions

Of all the factors that have influenced the living environment, the process of urbanization has been one of the most significant especially for the Third World. Pakistan is no exception to this trend and the urban population is increasing much more rapidly than the total population.

In Pakistan, the number of urban settlements (i.e. more than 10,000 persons) increased from 374 to 496 between 1981 and 1991 (ADB, 1993). The growth of urban population has exerted pressures on urban centres, in particular the demand for resources for housing, urban development and for provision of services, i.e. health, education, utilities, etc. It has also led to a problem of security, crime, unrest, and political violence in urban areas.

The decade of 1980s has also witnessed major change in the urbanization rates of the provinces of Pakistan. The Working Group on Urbanization (WGU) of the Planning Commission, as part of the preparatory work for the Eighth Five Year Plan, has estimated that urban population grew at the fastest rate of 4.9% in the provinces of Punjab between 1991 and 1993, followed by Sindh at 4.7%, NWFP 4.2% and Balochistan 3.8%. WGU estimates also indicate that half the population of Sindh lives in urban areas; corresponding figures for Punjab, NWFP, and Balochistan are 35%, 18%, and 18% respectively. Furthermore, 56% of the urban population of Pakistan is in Punjab, 34% in Sindh while 7% and 3% in NWFP and Balochistan.

The growth of the rural population in the country has also been significant. It is estimated that between 1982 - 1991 about 114 rural settlements became urban by acquiring stature of town committees (ADB 1993).

The differences between urban and rural areas with regard to infant mortality, crude birth and death rates can be attributed to the availability of better social services in urban areas. In 1993, health facilities were available to 35% of rural population, drinking water to 47% and sanitation facilities to 13%. In contrast, 99% of the urban population had access to health facilities, 85% to drinking water and 60% to sanitation services (Planning Commission, GoP, 1994).

Poverty Alleviation & Unemployment

Poverty and unemployment are major problems in the country and affect all activities of human life. According to an estimate of poverty, using the basic needs approach nearly one third of the population in 1990-91 was classified as poor; 35% of the population in rural and 31% of that in urban areas lives below the poverty line (Ministry of Women’s Development and Youth Affairs, 1995). According to another estimate 80% of the poor are though to be living in rural areas.

The incidence of poverty in urban areas is most acute for casual, menial labor and self-employed workers with low level of assets. Households below the poverty line possess meager physical and human resources and all members of the family are equally disadvantaged. The poor suffer from inadequate access to education, health, utilities, land, and credit that might allow them to participate with dignity in society.

Housing, Slums and Katchi Abadi

The most fundamental change occurring through urbanization is the development of slums and “katchi abadi”s (squatter settlements) in major cities. The role of these areas are:

· Act as “reception areas” for migrants and to assist in adapting to urban life.

· Provide housing at rents within the means of migrants.

· Provide housing in the vicinity of work areas.

· Availability of social and communal organization support during periods of difficult time (e.g. sickness, unemployment, etc.)

Katchi abadi are found in all major urban areas. In 1990, about 39% of the urban population were living in slums (22.5%) and katchi abadis (16.5%). Katchi abadis initially developed as unauthorized settlements; they are usually constructed on public land. They are overcrowded usually with sheets and temporary structures of mainly one room built at random. There is no sewerage system and in most cases house to house water and electricity connection does not exist. Social services like education and health are also not available. The surroundings of these communities depict a poverty-stricken living environment. Sub-standard living conditions and general deprivation among the dwellers has a far-reaching impact on their life pattern, particularly the children and women which have to spend most of their time in these surroundings. Over the time however, significant improvements have taken place. Many katchi abadis have been regularized and living standards have improved. In many others, however, the conditions are still bad.

In 1987 there were about 2302 katchi abadis with a population of 5.5 million living over an area of 42,145 acres (EUAD, 1987). In mid-1980s, on realization of the magnitude of problems in such squatter settlements, the government initiated regularization and upgrading of katchi abadis on state and public land. It established a special unit at the federal level (EUAD) to deal with issues of such areas in an organized manner. However the efforts of the government were not very successful, and one of the main reasons for this failure was that it could not afford to develop and regularize these areas due to scarcity of funds. Regularizing these once unauthorized communities, may have prompted new katchi abadis to breed, and now the recommended policy of the government is that no now encroachments, formulation of katchi abadis or unauthorized construction are to be allowed or recognized henceforth (EUAD, 1994).

Most recently government has announced the construction of 500,000 houses for shelterless people all over the country over a period of three years. If implemented effectively this scheme will able to solve the housing crisis in rapidly growing cities of the county.


2.1 Policies addressing the needs and issues of youth

In Pakistan, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, Tourism and Youth Affairs is responsible for implementing the programs and policies related to youth. Youth Affair wing was created as Youth Affair Division in June 1989. In October 1993 the division was merged under Ministry of Women Development. In August 1996 it was separated as an independent division. Finally, the division was merged into the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in November 1996.

The National Youth Policy is under preparation according to the government sources. At present government is trying to address problems and issues related to the youth. The government has taken a number of initiatives in this regard. The government has special concerns over poverty and unemployment especially among young men and women.

Federal government has been keen to support young men and women for setting up business. For this purpose Youth Investment Promotion Society (YIPS) was established in late 80s. But the sustainability and institutionalization of these types of institutions is always a problem. In the past, Yellow Cab scheme was introduced to enable the unemployed youth to get self-employed. Government had provided Cabs on easy installments but this was a failure.

Both academic and vocational education was also given priority to for youth development. In addition, national settlement policy, policy for the management of cities, settlement planning and shelter sites and services were also included into the policy framework with short term and long term effects on youth.

Although education has long been regarded as an important sector in Pakistan, expenditures in this area have not reflected this fact. Unfortunately, while spending on education is growing, Pakistan has yet to attain the 4% of GNP expedition on education as recommended by UNESCO for developing countries. More significantly, the quality of education is low and the international community considers this factor as a major contribution to the county’s poor performance in social sector.

Pakistan’s education system consists of five years of primary education, three years of middle schooling and two years each of secondary and higher secondary education, followed by three to four years of tertiary education. The combination of primary and middle schooling into one administrative unit is currently under discussion and the Province of Punjab has already restructured its education system accordingly.

Some of the deficiencies which ultimately effect youth growth and development in education sector include poor management, low enrollment, high dropout rates, low literacy, poor or nonexistent teacher training, bad curriculum development, inferior instruction materials, inequitable distribution of funding between girls’ and boys’ schools, low standards, and the absence of quality control. Furthermore, attempts to address these difficulties are seriously constrained by the country’s rapid population growth.

Strong rural-urban disparities exist in literacy, which divides urban and rural youth into different categories reflecting fewer opportunities for rural youth in the mainstream. This and other similar type of problems are responsible for rural - urban migration, unemployment, and growing number of urban slums and inequality in the society.

As a matter of fact, the existence of large number of institutions in government sector does not ensure the effectiveness of these institutions. NGOs are also active in promoting education, vocational training, and health and credit programs all over the country.

2.2 Youth related organizations and institutions

Governmental Institutions

Youth Investment Promotion Society (YIPS)

Youth Investment Promotion Society (YIPS) was established in late 80s to solve the unemployment problems of educated young men and women. YIPS provides financial assistance to unemployed educated youth along with the necessary technical and managerial guidance to assist them in establishing their own business projects.

YPIS had established 100 windows spread all over the country in Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, NWFP, Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas. The following areas were identified by the government for loaning:

· Micro Enterprises
· Agriculture-based Industry
· Agriculture
· Farm to Market Service
· Agricultural Service
· Health
· Education
· Transport
· Distribution of Consumer Products
· Distribution of Construction Materials
· Maintenance Services
· General Services
· Construction/Housing
· Specialized Stores

In addition government has also specified 200 types of business under these main categories. YIPS has 12 sub-offices all over Pakistan with its head office in federal capital.

Tehsil Level Youth Sports Complex

Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs is planning to construct these youth sports complexes. In this regard, around nine sports complexes are in the final stage. These sports complex are intended to provide opportunities to young people for leisure and other extra-curricular activities in the local level.

Youth Hostels Association

As a part of the International Youth Hostels Association, Pakistan youth hostels association is operating to provide accommodation and food services to young men and women outside their home town on nominal charges.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

According to the governmental sources 120 NGOs/CBOs and other youth groups are registered by the Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs. Among these organizations only 23 were reported to be more active. These are listed below:

· All Pakistan Youth Federation
· National Farm Guide Council of Pakistan
· Pakistan Youth League
· Tanzeem Al-Fajar Pakistan
· Sowan Welfare Association
· Family Planning Association of Pakistan
· National Development Foundation
· Association for Rural and Environmental Development
· Baltistan Health & Education Foundation
· Pakistan Jaycees
· Sindh Graduates Association
· Sindh Balak Sangat
· Ghazi Social Welfare Association
· Pakistan Youth Organization
· Anjuman Nawjawanan Charsadda
· Sheikh Badin Welfare Association
· Youth Welfare Organization
· Millo Shaheed Awami Welfare Society
· Kashmir Blook Donors Organizations
· Anti Narcotics Organizations
· Pakistan Girls Guide Association
· Pakistan Boy Scouts Association
· Pakistan Youth Hostels Association

Although these 23 organizations were reported as active organizations, contacts and communications are weak and very time-consuming. Information about the activities of these organizations was not received in details. In addition, activities of organizations which are found to be active from the list or even outside list are listed below:

Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) & Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA)

On 6th of June this year, the association enters into its 156th year of the ceaseless dedication to the service of community particularly to the youth around the world. In Pakistan YMCA & YWCA have a long history of working for youth in a number of ways. YMCA Polytechnic Institute offers vocational courses to youth in various disciplines. The activities include education, vocational training, legal aid, extra-curricular activities, etc.

Pakistan Girls Guide Association & Boys Scout Association

Pakistan Girls Guide and Boys Scout Associations are active since the country was founded back in 1947. Being part of the international network, both associations work with youth as early as the school level.

Pakistan Girls Guide Association is more active in Sindh and Punjab and working on various projects on education, health and income generation. An excellent example is the Literacy Resource Centre in Punjab, which was initiated in collaboration with The Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO in 1994. The aim of LRC is to provide training in various fields to young women. If education is linked to earning money, many young women will gladly seize the opportunity.

All Pakistan Women’s Association

APWA was established in 1949, with the aim of raising awareness of women’s - especially young women’s - problems in society and of ensuring that women participate as full and active partners in more equitable development projects. By providing women with basic literacy skills, APWA extends their organizing power and strengthens their participation in community life. APWA programs work for change in all areas - employment, health, training and community organizing - to benefit women through a practical approach.

Activities include:

· Training programs to help women organize and address basic needs;

· Skill development to improve overall quality of women’s lives and preserve traditional arts and crafts;

· Integration of women as agents and beneficiaries into a modern development process;

· Empowerment of women to safeguard their rights and uphold their position as equal citizens of Pakistan.

APWA is involved in four major activities:

· Training program in health measures, education faculties, vocational guidance, and employment referral;

· Skill development in arts and crafts production, arts and crafts development marketing, needle-craft production, dress-making and tailoring, goat raring;

· Integration of women into the modern development process as agents and beneficiaries, Empowerment of women, multi-purpose centre;

· Organization and memberships.

Sindh Graduates Association (SGA)

Sindh Graduates Association was established in 1972. The 58 branches with 5000 members are spread over Sindh province in the southern part of the country.

The association is presently working in fields as varied as education, health, literature, culture and art. Most of the activities are the field works of the association. The association has undertaken the task of round the year work in any single field.

Activities include:

· Annual Medical Scholarship
· School Scholarships
· General Scholarships for youth
· Building of 2 class room primary schools
· Provision of furniture
· Coaching classes for young students specially in rural areas
· Roshan Tara schools, schools established in Karachi under this program
· Training workshops
· Distribution of textbooks, etc.
· Free Medical camps
· Mobile medical teams visits over 200 villages
· Establishment of Mother and Child welfare centres

Baltistan Health & Education Foundation

The Baltistan Health & Education Foundation (BH&EF) aims to provide health care facilities to the local communities, focusing on women and children. The organization was established in 1989, starting with small clinic in Skardu. In 1992 two major projects i.e. Training of Female Community Health Workers and School Health Program were initiated. Young women were recruited for the health worker training in 20 settlements of Skardu and far flung villages. Under School Health Education Program early impairments are the main focus among children up to the 17 years of age. Around 6000 children were screened from 29 male and 9 female schools in the area.


3.1 Focus on self-development

Activities of organizations and departments under government and non-governmental level could be of same type but the methods and strategies adopted by the organizations are very different. The Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs has a Youth Development Fund, which is disbursed to organizations registered with the ministry. Other activities of the governmental organization include:

Youth Development Centres

These centres have been established under prime-minister directorate for the promotion of education and to provide the opportunities for recreation at local level. The verification of these centres is still to be made.

Financial Assistance

Provision of financial assistance to youth is a major activity of the governmental and non-governmental organizations. The financial assistance if given under the following categories:

Youth Education

Financial assistance for education in terms of scholarships is awarded by the government at large. But there are some NGOs and other institutions also provide opportunities to young men and women to get financial assistance to get education at all levels.

Youth Micro-Enterprise Development/Self Employment

Financial assistance for self-employment such as the assistance provided by Youth Investment Promotion Society (YIPS) is an excellent example. In addition, NGOs provide short term credits in their respective project area to provide opportunities to unemployed youth to establish their own business at different level. Micro-credit loaning is an important and very successful program of the NGOs and CBOs operating in Pakistan.

Skills Enhancement and Development

Skill development and vocational training in various trades are also offered to youth by the government and private institutions. From handicraft and cottage industry to rural women to electronics and computer science to young men and women are available in Pakistan. On job training is also an option for youth self-development.

Inter-Provincial and International Youth Exchange Program

This activity is specifically carried out by the Ministries at federal and provincial levels. These opportunities enrich the experience and exposure of youth in various age groups. Youth delegates among province and internationally go and visit various places for experience sharing and the exchange of knowledge and information.

Occasional Activities

In addition, occasional activities such as Youth Mela, Youth Folk Festival, Youth Camps and other program are arranged by governmental and non-governmental organizations periodically.

3.2 Contributions to the improvement of living conditions in human settlements

A number of NGOs in Pakistan engaged in the provision of water supply and sanitation facilities in slum areas of Pakistan. There are some missionary organizations involved in providing loans to built homes, but the focus is very narrow.

In the last decade, the government of Pakistan has developed and promoted a Katchi Abadi (squatter settlement) Improvement and Regularization Program, which aims to providing residents with lease on their property and physical infrastructure, for an improvement and regularization fee. The program has failed to meet its targets; not even 10% of residents have applied for ownership rights, or paid development costs for a variety of social, economic and political reasons.

On the other hand NGOs, as stated earlier, engaged in improving the living condition through:

· Credit facilities for house building
· Low cost housing
· Sanitation services
· Water supply, safe drinking water & purification
· Waste water treatment
· Technical assistance
· Low cost sanitation
· Education
· Provision of health services
· Health & hygiene education
· Micro credits
· Solid waste management


In Pakistan, overlapping of work and responsibilities among civic institution is a major barrier in carrying out proper monitoring of the status of human settlements. The issues spelled out in the Habitat Agenda thus could not be measured completely in the absence of a similar benchmark and indicators. Civic institutions run by government are found not responsible for a complete task. This dividing of work creates confusion and is responsible for incomplete availability of information.

In the case of activities related to the provision of social services and basic infrastructure involving people participation, the respective implementing agency i.e. government, NGOs and CBOs needs to define strategy with comparable indicators, which could be measured against the baseline data.

As the development authorities and various line departments have independent governing laws, there is a lack of coordination between the development authorities, local councils and the various utilities organizations which result in chaos and haphazard developmental activities.

As the existing planning legislation in Pakistan has been derived mainly from the old British legislation developed during the colonial period, they have very little regard for the local realities and cultures and are difficult to enforce. The regulations are based on command and control instruments and set rigid standards. Reformation of legislation is required with a more flexible approach based on fiscal incentives, performance standards.

At present information on the status of both human settlements and shelter is largely not available. Sporadic efforts to collect information by various government agencies have resulted in some information to be in available, but a comprehensive database is not available. This renders planning efforts uncoordinated and without reference to any parallel action that may be on going in connection with an alternate effort. Duplication of fragmentation, therefore, to cost-ineffective solutions. Moreover, in Pakistan, no city has a base map or a map showing the land use, location of infrastructure, road network, etc. Assistance in setting up an integrated database within a GIS framework and in preparing base maps through satellite imagery is required on crisis basis.

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank have both fielded projects in this area to ensure that organizations, at the provincial and local levels, become meaner and leaner.


At present the focus of a large number of youth organizations is limited to the provision of education, health and similar facilities in terms of scholarships and holding youth festivals and program. Any concrete interventions by the youth organizations are rare.

In Pakistan, recognition of youth organizations is also not present. Most of the organizations that are involved in activities for youth have these activities as minor activities. Purely focusing on youth and addressing the problems and issues of youth is something missing and yet to emerge.

On the part of government, although it has a number of projects and program for youth but the proper implementation has always been a problem. The forthcoming youth policy is long awaited. The organizational structure as well as the bureaucratic system of government does not allow smooth functioning and implementation of any policies.

In a country where political process is itself not have strong roots, the involvement of youth on local level especially in decision making is seems far away. In this regard, there is a need to develop a network of youth organizations from a single representative forum to advocate and compel the government to fulfill its obligations given it already signed the Habitat Agenda with the international community.


Documentation from Ministry of Culture, Tourism, Sports and Youth Affairs

Resource Directory for Human Settlements, Urban based NGOs and Service Sector Organization in Pakistan, Export Promotion Bureau, 1996

Pakistan National Report to Habitat II, Government of Pakistan, Ministry of Environment, Urban Affairs, Forestry and Wildlife, Islamabad, June 1996

Moving Towards Community-based Development, Bread for the World, 1997

An Approach to Participatory development, SPO, 1996

Brochure, Youth Investment Promotion Society, Government of Pakistan.

25 years of Sindh in Statistics, Bureau of Statistics, Planning & Development Department, GoS, Karachi.

Social Sector Issues in Pakistan, An Overview, Asian Development Bank, 1997

World Development Report, Knowledge for Development, The World Bank, 1998-99

Our Urban Future, Oxford Press, Karachi, 1996

Pakistan Year Book, 1997-98

Fifty Years of Pakistan in Statistics, Federal Bureau of Statistics, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan.

Social Indicators of Pakistan, Federal Bureau of Statistics, Statistics Division, Government of Pakistan.

Sindh Graduates Association, At a Glance, SGA

Various articles from newspapers.