In Pakistan today, we don’t learn leadership qualities from our leaders; instead what we learn is how to humiliate or criticise others. We are told to think big but fail to reflect that in our actions.
Literacy for us is only about earning money and acquiring degrees and we blindly follow these instructions because we have been taught by our educational institutes to believe that this is how one achieves success.
This thought provoking analysis was presented by Dr Muhammad Umair at a roundtable session, 'Young Voices: Youth at 70', held at the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs as part of Pakistan’s 70th Independence Day celebrations.
Nine youth representatives along with chairwoman of the session, Dr Tanvir Khalid – former faculty member of the Department of Political Science, University of Karachi - spoke at length about the state of affairs the country’s youth is mired in today.
“The crime rate is on the rise and majority of our youth wants out of this country. They want to study abroad and not return back which is a huge loss for Pakistan,” observed another speaker, Sobia Irfan Butt. “We are failing to provide our youth with quality education and job opportunities,” she stated.
Zahid Fakeem, while speaking at the session, cited Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Asad Umar and acclaimed squash player Jahangir Khan as examples of young leaders the country has produced.
While the former is known for his exceptional entrepreneurial skills, the latter made laudable contributions to Pakistan’s sports sector, Fakeem said. “The youth needs to realise that they have to be their own leaders,” he opined. He called for the country’s youth to be trusted upon and engaged in leadership roles, besides also being given representation in central and provincial assemblies.
Another youth representative, Syed Muaz Shah asserted that it is essential for the Pakistani youth to know their history. Emphasising on his point of view, he spoke of Allama Iqbal’s poetry and also discussed the Ideology of Pakistan.
In his opinion, Pakistani media highlighted our society’s negativity which has created a sense of fear in the youth about the country so much so that they are scared of stepping out of their homes. “But when we see Western media channels, we get blown away by their successes and massive infrastructural developments which make us want to go abroad,” Shah stated.
Other countries are leading the world and we are following them; we need our youth to take on the role of leaders. “Pakistan is full of minds that are so rich that they leave a lasting impact on the entire world,” said another youth leader while delivering his speech.
Concluding the discussion, Dr Tanvir stated that the objective of the roundtable session was to highlight the need for our youth to be provided with quality education and jobs. “It is essential for out youth to have a sense of national integrity so as to ensure a bright future for Pakistan. Once we place our trust in our youth, they would also feel compelled to deliver,” she said.
At the end of the session, the audience was also encouraged to share their respective point of views regarding the topic of discussion and the floor was opened for a question and answer session.