QUETTA: Balochistan’s youth should be engaged to bridge a yawning gap between them and the political leadership, participants at a discussion noted on Monday, with a lawmaker stressing that youngsters were resorting to violence “due to wrong policies of the state”.

Lawmakers, politicians, academics, lawyers, rights activists and political analysts taking part in a discussion on the launch of a research report agreed that issues relating to identity and regional sensitivities were important and the policymakers should address these problems faced by the youth.

The report, titled ‘Discourse with Balochistan Youth on Society, Religion, and Politics’, was launched by Islamabad-based research and policy think tank Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS) at a local hotel on Monday.

The report covers the views of university students from across the province. Students and people from different walks of life attended the event.

Frustrated youth resorting to violence due to state’s wrong policies, says lawmaker

Addressing the participants, Member of Balochistan Assembly Akhtar Hussain Langove said Balochistan’s youth was frustrated and was “resorting to violence due to wrong policies of the state” amid an increasing gap among youth and political leadership.

Former provincial minister of law and parliamentary affairs in Balochistan Syed Mohammad Raza deplored that different identities in society were taken in negative meanings by one another.

He said increasing violence in society was a product of the present system. “We have to address the problem by taking the initiative starting from our homes and then at society level,” he said, adding that a lack of communication and discourse among different communities were a major problem inherited by the present education system.

Political analyst Rafiullah Kakar believed that Balochistan’s youth was discontented with the mainstream parliamentary system. He said policymakers couldn’t understand the problems of youth until they comprehended the ongoing sociocultural and political processes of changes in society in this age of internet and social media.

“Gap between the state, democratic institutions as well as political parties and youth is increasing,” he said, stressing that youth in Balochistan should be engaged to form a political discourse in the province.

Professor Naseebullah Seemab of the University of Balochistan believed that teaching in mother languages was essential to promote critical thinking among the youth. The present education system could not be reformed without addressing the issue of an identity crisis, he added.

Youth facing identity crisis

Earlier, PIPS Director Mohammad Amir Rana in his introductory remarks said the purpose of the study was to identify elements that shape up and affect thoughts of the educated youth. He said the report also pointed out how people of different views could live together with peace and harmony and “how this whole process could be improved”.

PIPS Programme Manager Ahmed Ali while presenting findings and recommendations of the report said the research revealed that evidence-based thoughts and views were diminishing among educated youth in Balochistan. Quoting the study, he said the youth was also facing the problem of identity crisis besides there was lack of self-confidence among them.

According to the findings of the report, there is a troubling impact of instability on the thinking and outlook of the youth in Balochistan. Based on observations and surveys of over a hundred university students in the province, the study also hints at the inability of the education system to inculcate rational thinking and reasoning among students.

Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2022

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