Burning daylight

In Pakistan, the nation’s youth holds tremendous potential to shape the future and drive progress. According to a report by National Defense University (NDU), More than 64 percent of the country’s population is below the age of 30 However, a concerning trend has emerged, with many young individuals squandering their time in futile debates focused on political rivalries, such as Imran Khan versus Nawaz Sharif or other political parties. Engaging in such unproductive discussions not only wastes valuable time and resources but also hampers the youth’s ability to contribute constructively to society. Engaging in pointless debates, particularly on social media platforms, devours a significant amount of the youth’s time, leaving little room for personal growth and societal contribution. A survey conducted by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) in 2022 revealed that young people aged 18 to 24 spend an average of four hours per day on social media. Within this time, a substantial portion is dedicated to political debates, often revolving around the political rivalry between Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif. This excessive investment in unproductive discussions detracts from valuable time that could be devoted to education, skill development, entrepreneurship, and other productive activities fostering personal growth and national progress.
Unfortunately, the youth’s fixation on political debates leads to missed opportunities in various domains. Vocational training, innovation, entrepreneurship, and community engagement are neglected due to an overwhelming focus on political discourse. This lack of diversification stifles creativity, innovation, and societal development, hindering Pakistan’s progress. The unproductive nature of these debates arises not only from their time-consuming nature but also from the absence of critical thinking and nuanced discussions. Many of these exchanges devolve into partisan bickering, personal attacks, and baseless claims, overshadowing any possibility of constructive dialogue. Engaging in substantive conversations and critical analysis is vital for intellectual growth, generating innovative ideas, and driving positive change in society.
By fixating on political debates, the youth diverts their attention from pressing issues that require immediate action, such as education reform, economic development, healthcare, and climate change. Neglecting these critical matters hampers progress and perpetuates a cycle of apathy and disinterest among the youth. Additionally, the youth’s disengagement from meaningful civic activities, community development, and volunteerism. By failing to actively participate in productive endeavors, they miss out on the opportunity to gather valuable experiences, skills, and connections that contribute to personal growth and a sense of social responsibility. To address this issue effectively, it is crucial to understand the root causes behind the youth’s preoccupation with political debates. One contributing factor is the polarized political climate prevalent in Pakistan, which promotes a binary view of politics focused on personalities rather than policies. Media outlets and social media platforms exacerbate this polarization by sensationalizing political rivalries and highlighting personal disputes. Consequently, the youth becomes entrapped in a cycle of unproductive engagement. The negative consequences of this phenomenon are far-reaching. The lack of engagement in productive activities perpetuates a cycle of apathy and disinterest among the youth, hindering their ability to become active and responsible citizens. To redirect the youth towards productive activities, it is essential to provide them with alternative platforms that foster skills, critical thinking, and constructive discussions.
Educational institutions, community centers, and youth organizations should play an active role in organizing workshops, seminars, and mentoring programs. These initiatives can inspire young individuals to engage in meaningful activities, such as education, vocational training, entrepreneurship, and community service. Media organizations also bear a significant responsibility in promoting substantive debates and showcasing positive examples of youth engagement in productive endeavors. By providing balanced and constructive discourse, the media can influence the youth’s mindset and steer their focus towards issues of national importance, beyond political rivalries alone. Parents, educators, and mentors play a pivotal role in encouraging young individuals to explore diverse interests, cultivate critical thinking skills, and seek out opportunities for personal growth. They must emphasize the importance of holistic development and encourage the pursuit of diverse interests beyond politics. Additionally, policymakers should prioritize the provision of quality education, vocational training, and employment opportunities, empowering the youth to contribute effectively to the nation’s development. Pakistan’s youth represents the backbone of the nation’s future, holding the key to progress and prosperity. However, their potential remains largely untapped as they become entangled in wasteful debates centered on political rivalries, By redirecting their energies towards constructive activities that foster personal growth and contribute to national development, the youth can break free from this cycle of unproductive engagement. It is imperative to nurture critical thinking skills, encourage diverse interests, and provide platforms for constructive discussions. Through these efforts, Pakistani society can harness the untapped potential of its youth, ensuring a brighter and more prosperous future for the nation.

The writer is an entrepreneur and construction professional. He engages in research work in International Relations.

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