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  • Khawaja Saud Masud

Pakistani youth: the future is optimistic and angry


At a café with a friend, I noticed a group of half a dozen or so modernly attired urban teenage boys and girls pulling up chairs to the table beside us. My friend glanced over his shoulder with a rather patronizing scan and just shook his head slowly. “I bet you, none of these lost souls even know Quaid-i-Azam’s real name” remarked my friend with a smirk on his face. I joked that we are sounding like two grumpy senior citizens, but I also suddenly realized we were casually and dismissively discussing two-thirds of Pakistan’s population, its most important stakeholder, its youth. Perhaps the paternal instinct kicked in and it got me thinking. What makes us so sure of ourselves? Do we really understand our young men and women and the realities of their world? Are they “lost” or is it our lazy grown-up ego allowing a one-track critic to overpower the best of us? If we don’t understand their issues, how can we help them navigate the global technological, cultural and economic transitions well underway? The contrarian in me decided to take matters into my own unscientific hands as I soon got an opportunity to test these hypotheses first hand.

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