Pakistan’s Generation Why?

Pakistani youth has embarked on a train named destiny that takes its passengers to development. Since the creation of Pakistan, its young people have always been crushed and oppressed by their teachers, leaders and parents. Before entering politics every leader takes an oath that they will be responsible for Pakistan’s future and its youth. But a large number of teenagers and youngsters still remain uneducated today. A staggering number of children are living in informal settlements and are working at young ages.

We live in a society where an MA degree is considered a mere piece of paper. What do you expect from a society whose people become government teachers when they do not get proper jobs? The word teacher has great meaning globally but unfortunately here we fail to understand its value.

In 2005, former Sindh chief minister, Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim, proposed a plan for Mirpurkhas to set up a medical college. The number of aspiring medical students is quite large but they don’t have enough seats for the ones from Mirpurkhas. It has been 12 years since this idea emerged and nothing has happened. Had it been constructed, it would have served young people from Sanghar, Tharparkar, Umerkot and all the other districts that are close to Mirpurkhas. It would have been secure for women students as well.

It is not just Mirpurkhas that suffers from government neglect and unfulfilled promises; many other cities in other provinces are also short on medical colleges, proper dispensaries and buildings for schools. Our youth doesn’t know the real meaning of a proper education. Our literacy rate has been dropping. And in an absence of proper institutions that would guide them and set them on good careers, we see that teenagers fall into habits like wasting time, smoking, chewing tobacco, chahlia and paan, smoking sheesha and drinking alcohol.
If you take a look around the globe or ask why some countries are successful you’ll find that they have harnessed the energy, talent and brains of their youth. From 2008 to 2016, 60% of Pakistan’s population consisted of youth aging between 15 to 24 years. Hardly any effort was made to use them. In Malaysia, the same youth bulge emerged between 1970 and 1980 and they planned for it and created policies.

Now, when I look around I see young people idling instead of working. Years back, I don’t recall seeing teenagers wandering around, roaming around the city and spending time in coffee houses day after day.

I’ve come across a number of parents whose opinion about their children is poor. They said that they are either reckless and waste time or they say that this is their time to enjoy themselves. It is either indulgence or condemnation. This entire catastrophe can only be cured by career counselling, opening vocational training institutions and non-academic schools. Why are we not riding the wave of technology; we see young people are drawn to iPhones, tablets, social media. Why do we not encourage and empower them to do well in the IT sector?

Instead of just handing them a phone or tablet and let the machine babysit them, why do we not consider what they are doing in the West where coding has been introduced in schools? They are even training students how to spoke fake news.

All it takes is a willingness to change. There is no silver bullet or magical superhero who will come and save us. We have to do the work ourselves. In the late 14th Century, the Renaissance was introduced in Italy and changed everything. No one but us has to decide which side of history we want to be on.

The writer can be reached at [email protected]


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August 2017
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