Sunday, October 02, 2011

Pakistani Youth: Between Hope & Despair

Noor Muhammad

Nida, 21, is one of the 103.6 million below-25-years of age youth of Pakistan. She is studying at a public university to get a Masters degree in the field of Mass Communication. She is highly ambitious about her future and wants to contribute towards development of her family and country.

Like most of the people of her age group, composing 63% of the national population, Nida is highly concerned about the current turmoil in Pakistan. She is particularly worried about the militant attacks on mosques and other places of worship across the country.

“By attacking the houses of Allah and other holier places, are not these militants trying to discourage the faithful from practicing their religion?” she asks, as her forehead shrinks in disgust.

Majority of the youth in Nida’s age category grew up in times of immense political instability, two major natural disasters, militarization of the state, as well as an on-going war on the Western and North-Western borders and in major city centers.

This age group, more than any previous generation, is prone to a budding, but bold, media that capitalizes on sensationalized news reporting and portray of negativity and despondency. Social networks, powerful international media outlets, mostly dominated by people or groups that don’t view Pakistan favorably, are also playing a major role in defining the sense of national, religious and cultural identity, often in a negative or self-condescending manner.

Nida is also worried about the growing lawlessness in the country. “How can the youth be expected to nurture hope in future of the state if the political forces are warring against each other”, she asks, referring to the targeted killings in Karachi and the un-ending animosity among powerful political parties elsewhere.
“We, the youth, have so many issues of our own but the governments seem to be immersed in building and breaking alliances only”, Nida says. “They don’t seem to have any time for us”, she adds.

Coming from a middle class family, Nida was unable to attend a school providing high quality of education. Opportunities of self-development through research and innovation have been curtailed as part of an educational emergency imposed by the present government, which led to major cuts in the already meager funds allocated for research and innovation at the university level.

Nida is also uncertain about her future due to the rapidly increasing rate of unemployment in the country. Traditionally, Pakistan is a male-dominated society, so the opportunities for women are already scarce. With a drop in the overall employment options, the chances for women further go down.
“Challenges galore”, Nida gives a sigh and then smiles, gently.

Ever since the escalation of war on terror inside the Pakistani territory, and the suicide bombings and kidnappings that followed, the international business community has stopped investing in the country. Job opportunities are also scarce because of the government’s inability to generate internal resources for investment and employment generation.

“There are so many difficulties that we are facing”, Nida says. “But we are the ones who can bring about a change in the society”.

Nida along with the other ambitious and visionary youth of Pakistan will have to work with hope, unity and, most importantly, a clear and realistic vision. The odds seem to be against them. They will have to combat the menace of poverty, radicalization, militancy, sectarianism, illiteracy, corruption, nepotism and a general sense of despondency visible from Karachi to Khunjerab.

The state institutions, acting responsibly, shall come forward and take the voices of youth positively and seriously, while also facilitating them in their vision and mission of transforming the society, taking it from lawlessness to peace, darkness to light and chaos to harmony. Only the youth can change the future of Pakistan. Let them do it!!



اگر ممکن ہے تو اپنا تبصرہ تحریر کریں

اہم اطلاع :- غیر متعلق,غیر اخلاقی اور ذاتیات پر مبنی تبصرہ سے پرہیز کیجئے, مصنف ایسا تبصرہ حذف کرنے کا حق رکھتا ہے نیز مصنف کا مبصر کی رائے سے متفق ہونا ضروری نہیں۔

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