Army and the youth
YOUTH is a major contributor in state’s overall development and progress and viewed as future of any society/country.
In Pakistan, we have 220 million people out of which 64 percent people are below the age of 30, which make the country one of the largest young populations in the world.
This can be turned into the greatest dividend for Pakistan if we are able to capitalize on it.
Pakistan’s youth has immense potential, which can make our country politically, socially and economically strong.
Youth of Pakistan is now taking active part in economic and political development of the country.
Majority of the youth is part of political set-up: they are joining state institutions such as armed forces and other civilian departments in order to strengthen economic discourse of the country.
This is good omen from futuristic point of view of Pakistan. Likewise, the Federation of Pakistan is extending all possible support to the young generation for the promotion of their active role in the society.
Due to the idealist and post-truth approach of some Pakistani politicians such as Imran Khan, we are living in a most intense period of social unrest, rapid economic, social and climatic catastrophic changes and individualism and identity crisis.
Severe disparities and poor political and socio-economic conditions may motivate frustrated and deprived young individuals to participate in violent and extremist activities.
This trend is initiated by the political party of Imran Khan, who claims to have massive support of the youth: which is mere myth, having no solid base.
Mr.Khan’s volatile political campaign has brought our society at a point where people are losing patience, social and cultural norms.
They are viewing all the developments through the prism of politics. Unfortunately, Imran Khan and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) malicious approach dangerous for institutional legacy of Pakistan.
They are trying to politicize state institutions including defence forces for mere political gains, which is not in the interest of anyone.
The major civilian and military departments of Pakistan are working tirelessly to spread social and political awareness within our society in order to counter growing radicalization and politically-oriented interests of the masses.
These departments are conducting this exercise in the larger interests of the country. For instance, Pakistan Army is leading this campaign by promoting soft image and cultural values of the country.
To promote harmony among different societies of the country, Army has been conducting various social and cultural programs in different provinces in which people of all ethnic communities participate and get to know cultural and social values of different groups.
Not only this, defence forces are undertaking various other programs to accommodate youths in setting up their future goals.
Likewise, civilian government with the help of Army, is conducting various capacity building seminars to make people aware how to serve Pakistan in order to boost the economic and social values.
The bonding between Pakistani the youth and defence forces is increasing massively and people are ready to sacrifice their lives for our defence forces.
Unfortunately, we have seen a targeted campaign in the recent past against our state institutions, especially defence forces where some paid political agens tried hard to malign our brave forces for mere political interests.
That campaign was part of cyber war against Pakistan. However, our brave youths have briefly defeated that by promoting positive and real face of our forces and other law enforcement agencies.
No political party can harm the bonding between youths and our defence forces. This trend is in fact increasing at massive level. More and more young graduates are now aspiring to join our defence forces to serve this nation.
If political parties continue to malign state institutions for political gains, and the right strategies and policies are not put in place today to meaningfully engage the youth in the community, deliver quality education and secure future livelihoods, the biggest workforce we have will be at risk of becoming marginalized, intolerant, vulnerable to social ills and unable to contribute towards the broader development of society.
The defence forces and other civilian institutions are playing active role in the development of the country.
Now, its responsibility of political parties too, to play their part for the development of the country.
They must think beyond their individual based political interests for the betterment of the country.
It is well-established fact that no country can excel without the support of political parties and youth.
So, our political leadership must show some maturity and provide our youth with more and more employment and educational opportunities.
This will also help our country to eradicate the menace of extremism and radicalization from our society.
To conclude my argument, I must say that this demographic variation can have explosive socioeconomic and political consequences until the people are given equal access to health, education and livelihood and their feeling of deprivation is addressed. So, the onus is on our politicians now.
—The writer is Islamabad based regular contributor.