Living socio-political conundrum
FOR a long time, the country has been passing through a political turmoil that keeps on diverting the course of action of our people toward antagonizing one group of people against the other. Instead of playing fair politics, we begin to fight and observe hostilities and ultimately reach violence which seeps into other areas of life and society fails to feel happy. The current volatile and unmanageable socio-political crisis is primarily because of ignoring a few bitter realities. Consequently, the country, its population, finances and management have reached the extreme edges and are gradually becoming in disarray. The most affected area is education, unemployment and joblessness, which is further aggravating because of the dearness, partly because of the global issues but mainly because of the political uncertainty prevailing in the country.
Pakistan has always had freshwater availability, fertile lands, rich mountains, full-of-life deserts, mineral resources and young workforce. But alack, that, agricultural production has declined in quantity and quality with time because of the intermittent and unsteady supply of manures and fertilizers. Pesticides have been made costly. A heavy increase in the migration of human resources from villages to cities which in turn is burdening the infrastructure of the cities. This scene has upset the balance of the population. The power and fossil fuel tariffs have made it difficult for average farmers to maintain subsistence. The decrease in the production of food material has further increased discontent and violence in society because of the rapidly expanding unplanned population. It is becoming a problem because the high-ups never foresaw the problem regarding population.
There is a dire need to educate our people regarding population control and planning. An effective family planning system may be launched with rewards and punishments. Ineffective planning and poor human resource management are causing hurdles in the education system which feels inadequate in providing education to such a large population. Lack of funding and infrastructure is also hampering the whole process. What to talk of higher education, even primary and tertiary level education is inadequate because the existing system cannot teach so many students singly-handedly. Besides handling the teaching process, Pakistan needs to make two reforms in its education: education must provide much-needed skills suitable to the 21st century’s economy. Secondly, the skill should be job-oriented which may prepare the students for ready employment.
The country’s population is increasing rapidly and is gradually becoming a significant threat to the socio-economic structure of Pakistan in the absence of any effective planning to put this many bulks of human capital, especially the youth, which is the dominant section of our population. We need to follow the Chinese population control and management model, where it has decreased instead of increasing. Besides, in the age of digital transformation, manual labour is no more needed, so our policymakers should move forward with viable planning to engage this vast bulk of human capital. On the one hand, strict measures should be in place to control population growth and concentration and on the other hand, the existing human capital must be engaged as a workforce.
Soon, electronic waste and debris will be a huge issue to be managed. Pakistan should reap the benefits of this industry on the same footing as we have done with the ship breaking industry. Many youths can be trained and engaged in reusing and recycling electronic waste and debris to make it exportable to impoverished countries that may need it. This can create employment at a vast level. This and many other measures can be taken to convert Pakistani youths into a robust workforce instead of just slogan chanting and feeding mouths. But this can be done only when all our leadership sits together and attends to the deteriorating situation of Pakistan in almost every walk of life. Leadership and the dialogue should spread to the academia and technocrats, who must play a huge role in bringing the country back on track. The academia and technocrats are the best minds and well-trained individuals whose skills and expertise must be utilized in developing and leading the country towards self-reliance and self-supporting.
This is the ripe time to re-visit the whole scenario and set the course right for the safety and welfare of the people of the subcontinent by formulating and designing short and long-term plans and then ensuring the implementation of these plans through adequate and effective monitoring. Borrowing loans from international lending agencies is not a viable solution because of the consequent rise in commodity prices. This further aggravates the restlessness of the youth who may take up cudgels against the existing social set-up. So, this is high time that leadership should change its aggressive stance of maligning each other and instead must come forward to tackle the socio-political conundrum we are going through.
—The writer is a Professor of English at Emerson University, Multan, and has a vast international exposure.