Problems For Youth Empowerment In Pakistan – OpEd


Pakistan’s youth has emerged as a significant demographic institution during the last decade. Pakistan now has a population that is estimated to be close to 240 million based on recent census data. Young people (defined as those under the age of 30) make up over 67% of Pakistan’s total population.

Even more dramatically, at the time of the most recent census, almost 28% of the population was under the age of 10. As a result, Pakistan’s youth population is only expected to increase in the years to come. The word “Youth” may be elaborated upon using a wide variety of meanings and age ranges. The United Nations (UN) defines youth as those between the ages of 15 and 24, but according to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has a somewhat different definition which explains that “an  individuals between the ages of 10 and 29; it also recognizes that those under age 18 are universally considered children and subject to numerous national and international norms and legal protections this policy seeks to reinforce”.

In Pakistan, the youth is classified between the age of 15 to 29.  A state’s youth might be a threat if its leaders fail to recognize them and capitalize on their potential. Pakistani youth faces numerous challenges to equip themselves with the right direction and to make a progressive nation that guarantees their livelihoods.

Youth empowerment and individual growth are fostered by a climate of political stability. Only over 58% of Pakistani adults are literate, making it one of the lowest percentages in the world, according to the World Bank. Many children, especially those from low-income families, are unable to go to school because of poverty, a lack of facilities, and societal issues. Youth indulge themselves in political activities and this unstable political system is known as  Pakistan’s shaky democracy.  Another big problem is discrimination against women. In Pakistan, female students face unique disadvantages, including lower enrollment and greater dropout rates compared to their male counterparts. This occurs for several reasons, such as cultural norms that prioritize the education of males above that of females, early marriage and childbirth, and an absence of safe and secure educational facilities for females. 

UNICEF estimates that because of the COVID-19 outbreak, about 40 million children in Pakistan have been forced to go to online education. Those without access to the internet may find difficulties in educational activities. There was already a large population of young people who lacked the basic, transferable, digital, job-specific, and entrepreneurial skills necessary to succeed in the modern economy before the epidemic hit. 

Pakistan has several serious health problems, especially in young people. Among these worries, malnutrition stands out as an especially serious problem, as seen by the shocking fact that almost 40% of children under the age of five have stunted development as a result of chronic malnourishment. The country’s kids are stuck in a vicious cycle of disadvantage because pervasive malnutrition stunts both their physical and mental development.

The youth of Pakistan are facing severe troubles with medical treatments and are in exacerbating the situation. Fortunately, the people living in urban areas have access to adequate healthcare, contrary to those living in rural areas.  And such health issues increase in severe conditions which affect the human therapies to grow ahead. The health problems are worsening and complicated by the presence of infectious illness. Shortage of clean water and inadequate sanitation and above all lack of health knowledge are a few factors that affect youth health and cause long-term issues that prevent people from completing their schooling at earlier ages. 

Ostensibly, the main cause that the youth of Pakistan facing these days is unemployment which has reached proportions due to poor economic and political turmoil.  Despite the country’s abundant natural resources, political unrest has stunted its economic development. The state of the country’s economy is profoundly influenced by the political climate. Youth unemployment is detrimental to society as a whole. Youth unemployment perpetuates a vicious circle of disillusionment and despair. This contributes to social instability and other undesirable trends, such as an increase in street crimes, harassment, piracies, and unwanted situations and this is due to the distribution of wealth with legitimate means and political corruption. The majority of the jobs demand high bribes and the parents do not afford to pay. Another aspect is the importance of a country’s political environment in luring FDI. hence, the local and international investment patterns in Pakistan are affected by the country’s uncertain political climate.

Keeping in mind the aforementioned factor, it is therefore recommended that the government of Pakistan should adopt a mechanism to put them in the right direction, otherwise, it has been quoted by Allen Ginsberg that, “I have seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked.” Let’s think for them. 

Sahibzada Muqeet Afridi

Sahibzada Muqeet Afridi is a research intern at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad and graduated from Comsats University Islamabad.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *