Muneeb from Pakistan Writes Blog on Rejecting Extremism

Role of Youth in Rejecting Extremism in Pakistan

By: Muneeb from Pakistan

Pakistan is one of the underdeveloped countries of the world where many problems exist that can’t be solved without the help of youth. Extremism is an important problem which is consistently destroying our young blood. Our government is not doing enough to stop it and eradicate it from its roots. Now it’s become our responsibility as youth to identify the causes of it and agree about the impact it has on us.  When we do this, we will be able to destroy it with proper force.

First, we should discuss what an extremist is. An “extremist” is a person who grips life-threatening or obsessive political or religious views, and particularly a person who advocates punishing action. Next let’s discuss the meaning of extremism. Extremism is a complex phenomenon. Most simply, it can be defined as actions or thoughts (beliefs, attitudes, feelings, actions, strategies) of a person or group far removed from the conventional and dangerous to society.

Now that we understand what an extremist person is and what extremism is, we move to the causes of it. In Pakistan, there are many causes: low literacy rate, lack of education, poverty, lack of focus of parents on their children, little support of government to youth, lack of jobs, poor border management, poor entrance system for cities and lack of proper investigation at different institutions of Pakistan to identify and eliminate extremism.

While it is the responsibility of every citizen of Pakistan to reject extremism, my topic is specifically the “Role of Youth in Rejecting Extremism”.  Let’s discuss this in detail. First, let’s consider whether youth can actually identify extremism in their own communities. When they don’t clearly understand extremism how can they destroy it?  A focus therefore should be to arrange sessions in universities, schools, colleges, media and in local communities to ensure that youth have proper understanding of extremism and can identify it quickly. This will help them recognize extremism when they see it, and will prevent them from joining extremist groups. Youth should be taught to focus on their studies, their work and be motivated to have a successful career path instead of extremism. This will reduce the success of militant groups in recruiting youth. Instead, militants can be identified by youth and then easily be traced by Pakistani agencies and arrested. Youth should become the teachers by spreading this message to their families and their relatives. This becomes a chain of information from person to person which can be very beneficial to prevent the evil of extremism and kick it out of our beloved country. Media can also play an important role in achieving this, because it can be used to teach youth to identify extremism and notify the authorities.

Youth can play an important role by promoting the bad impact of extremism.Our youth should tell the message that extremism reduces the literacy and education rate because youth get on the wrong path, creating low literacy and education which attracts more extremism, resulting in a bad cycle that must be broken. Terrorist activities are easy to follow when you are a poor, uneducated youth. As more illiterate youth join terrorism, the environment for everyone becomes harsher. People start hating others due to extremist propaganda and start making illiterate and uneducated statements about other people’s views and beliefs. This can cause racism which is difficult to handle by authorities of Pakistan.  Youth can play an important role by promoting “Say No to Racism”. Everyone has their own separate identity and beliefs so it’s our duty to ensure respect and freedom of will for every separate individual and nation.

Another important role of youth should be to promote the culture of Pakistan as a country. We must tell other people that first we are Pakistani and only after that we are Punjabi, Sindhi, Pathan, Balochi etc.  We must celebrate the country that brings us together first and then appreciate our differences. Youth should be active in organizing different cultural events in Pakistan where students represent the area they come from yet also spread the message of harmony among fellow students.  This will lead to healthy activities and keep away people who damage our beloved country and want to target it for extremism.

I also think the government of Pakistan should make one day of the year a holiday that is a “Fight against Extremism” day with seminars and parades. This will ease the way for youth to reject extremism because they will have a platform to organize events and activities to deliver all knowledge about extremism. This would be a great help in convincing youth that it is better to reject extremism, and this has the backing of the government.

In addition, a very important role that youth can play is to identify the black sheep of society.  Don’t let them hide. Youth possess young blood in their veins so they must be the guardians of their surroundings and area. They should have an eagle eye on situations in their surroundings. They should keep an eye on strangers and their activities and any suspicious activity must be reported immediately to local law enforcement agencies. Watch the behavior of local people also, including if anyone is delivering extremist propaganda. Once the black sheep are identified they can be used by authorities to find their bosses and break the chain.

Another role of youth in Pakistan is to support the Pakistani armed forces in rejecting extremism form our country. The Pakistani armed forces are always proactive in the fight against extremism and they suffer many losses due to this bad evil factor in our society. We youth must provide support to Pakistan armed forces in this cause so that both youth and Pakistan armed forces work together in fight against extremism and this becomes practice which cannot be undone. If we remember all past victories against our enemies we got tons of motivation and self-belief in ourselves that we can change Pakistan and remove extremism from our motherland.  Youth consist of seventy percent of population of Pakistan so we must be aware of all the situations in our country and must be ready to sacrifice for our country. If we can’t take responsibility now it will become our weakness. Youth should be awarded several prizes according to their efforts to encourage other
youth to fight against the extremism along with the armed forces.

Youth need jobs, education, expense for their family and if they are not dependents expense for their living. We can easily be demotivated by lack of jobs and all other issues but we must believe in Allah Almighty as the youth majority are Muslims. Extremist persons always try to capture demotivated youth for their work. So there comes a flaw in our society where people do not help each other. We as youth must help other deserving youth. We can put ourselves as an example to the world that we will support each other and agree to continue to be present to support each other at all stages of our lives.

Youth must be active in charitable organizations to help make a difference in our society. It is a must in the fight against extremism. We as youth are a powerful group when we act together in charity. When more and more youth get involved to help of charitable institutions, it can be enough to change our communities and country. If youth don’t help the charitable organizations, more extremist persons will brainwash youth and involve them in their extremist propaganda. We youth hold the key to the future of our country. It is time to act.

Our leader Quaid made the statement that “Education is the matter of life and death to Pakistan. No country can prosper without succeeding in the race of education”. Without attaining education and participating in co-curricular activities youth can’t expect themselves to deliver good for others and Pakistan. The factors discussed above can possibly be achieved without education but they can’t flourish to the height of mountains.

In summary, youth must accept the role of promoting healthy habits, leading in the right direction for juniors, promoting patriotism and promoting equal rights for all. It is only in this way that we will defeat extremism. We must apply our full-fledged effort with dedication from our pure heart as given by Almighty Allah regardless of religion, cast, sect and status.  We must remember that we are Pakistani first and should not be divided by local differences. These are all the things which we youth must keep in mind to ensure that we reject extremism in our country and also outside our country to make the most beautiful image of Pakistan possible among all nations of the world.