Today is International Youth Day. This incidentally is the most discussed demographic in today’s Pakistan, especially in the recently concluded general election where no less than 20 million new voters were added to the electoral rolls. There is a serious body of analyses around how young voters may well have transformed the election results.
Beyond this political empowerment that an eighteen year old suddenly attains, it is important to see what the youth of Pakistan is thinking -- about themselves, about the society they are living in, the joys and sorrows, the personal and political, the inhibitions and freedoms, and other things.
With just two days before the country’s Independence Day, The News on Sunday deemed it fit to ask the young people between age 18 to 25 what they feel about growing up in Pakistan. It’s a random group of young people, from Lahore, Karachi, Loralai… The outcome is refreshing, though at times the write-ups leave one sad. This isn’t quite unexpected from a generation that has grown under the shadows of terrorism and, therefore, has security as its topmost concern. One can see parallels of this sense of insecurity in more than one account.
There is much grieving at things, festivals, goodness, values that the young people feel we have lost. And the everyday stresses of academics and restrictions of growing up as girls. But then there is hope, resilience, and sheer celebration of -- what they perhaps not yet know -- the best period of life.