CHUP recently interviewed Mahir Nisar
, the Vice President of Future Leaders of Pakistan
, an organization that seeks to encourage the growth and development of Pakistan’s future leaders. FLP also strives to promote leadership within the country. It aims to promote awareness on politically pertinent issues affecting the country. The organization established Parliament Watch
, a website that encouraged discussion and involvement among Pakistan’s youth in the lead up to the 2008 parliamentary elections. Visitors to the site could read profiles on the candidates and discuss issues with other “Parliament watchers.” FLP has been instrumental in getting the country’s youth more active in Pakistani politics, and CHUP was able to gain further insight from Mahir on their achievements.
How long have you been involved with Future Leaders of Pakistan and what was the inspiration behind forming such an organization?
I have been involved with FLP since its inception in 1997. As one of seven other founding members, we formed this organization with the desire and vision to unite, organize, and represent the youth. Our basic premise for our creation was to counter the ill-effects of the present generation, dynastic politics, and extremism. Our desire to help strengthen the political institutions through various projects is an attempt to meet these specific goals. As we strive to unite the youth of Pakistan, FLP is becoming a force that represents leadership initiative and a new brand of political discourse– one that prioritizes the interests of Pakistan above personal agendas and interests.
FLP’s project, Parliament Watch, garnered a lot of attention among Pakistan’s youth – what do you feel was the project’s biggest success? How will FLP continue to foster this project and continue the involvement of the younger generation?
We went into this project with sound statistical data and knew that providing such information to the people of Pakistan would help spread awareness. No other country in the world has completed a similar project that provides information on over 5,000 candidates and allows the public to comment and rate them. The biggest success of this project was the ability of the Pakistani online community to voice their opinions on the candidates with other fellow Pakistanis, while also being able to rate the candidates through our Candidate Desirability Index (CDI) rating system. In order to foster this momentum, we are currently conducting several projects in anticipation of the next election cycle. Our only desire is to strengthen the political institutions of Pakistan by spreading awareness about the people who form this institution, and on that basis we are currently conducting projects in furtherance of spreading awareness.
As a young Pakistani, what do you feel is the biggest issue currently facing the country? What should be done to counter this problem?
I feel that we lack leadership. We still are running with a personality-based political system without tackling the issues faced by the people of Pakistan. Once we are able to transform the politics of our country to one that reflects issue-based politics, then Pakistan will begin to flourish as a nation. Our organization is constantly trying to foster a new culture among the country’s youth by conducting an array of projects – from those addressing environmental problems to those pertaining to human rights issues. As Pakistanis helping Pakistanis, we are attempting to create a phenomenon that goes above and beyond cultural, political, and ethnic norms. We are creating a Pakistani identity amongst our youth of today for the future leadership of tomorrow.
What role can Pakistan’s younger generation and student activists play in the country’s new democratic era?
If they have a strong desire to be active in the transformation of Pakistan, they should join FLP. Our members hail from different political affiliations within Pakistan, including PPP-P, PML-N, PTI, ANP, etc. We are a diverse group of Pakistanis from different backgrounds and we stand committed to bridging these differences as a group. The youth, being the largest group in Pakistan, must help organizations like ours in changing Pakistan for the better. We believe in diversity because in reality it creates unity. It is our duty as the youth to tackle the issues that were not handled by our parents’ generations. I have a lot of faith in this new generation because they have a desire- a passion to make a difference in Pakistan. They have a passion to see a new Pakistan, a free Pakistan, and a prosperous Pakistan, and we, at FLP, want to be a part of that hope.