It has always fascinated me how the human mind is actually capable of spilling out words to gain attention and praise from others, but hardly ever connects to it via actions towards what it has expressed. I have seen and heard this one topic being rattled on by almost everyone, no matter which profession they belong to or where in the country they live in. It is the topic of interest of most people and is discussed everywhere; in conference halls of 5 star hotels, drawing rooms, long walks, drives, dinners, classrooms, seminars, talk shows and where not. But do we truly pay attention to it?
Yes, I am talking about the fact that, “the youth of this country is capable of greatness and the youth is our hope for the future”, etc etc etc. I have literally heard these lines almost a zillion times now, since the last half a decade, and now it has started to creep into me as to whether we are actually capable of doing what is expected of us. It is true that we comprise of 63% of the total population of Pakistan and this is both brilliant and dangerous. But is the youth up for this enormous task being handed down to them (bearing in mind their own lives which they have to take care of, personal and professional)?
The current population of our beloved country is a staggering 180 million people all across 5 provinces. It is a shame that we have let ourselves be divided into the ethnic lines rather than staying united and taking this country forward and out of the dogs. I take the courage here to stand up to say, yes, we are going to dogs. Be it the government, the establishment, the citizens or the youth. No one here assumes their responsibility and takes action. Since 1947, the one common perspective that united us as a nation was the vision and the nation, but we choose to prefer our own individual lives over the good of the country, putting the vision aside, and thus, throwing the nation down a line of sewerage pipes. We choose to be defined as Punjabis, Sindhis, Pakhtoons, Balochis, but never do we actually consider acknowledging ourselves as Pakistanis. Therefore, one problem identified here is that, we, the youth of this great state of Pakistan lack a sense of identity and direction. Another issue can also be the lack of confidence, sense of responsibility and courage to stand up and fight for what we think is right.
Attending the three day conference, “3rd Pakistan Youth Congress 2011”, by Drug Free Pakistan Foundation in association with Generation Next- Voice of Youth and Ministry of Youth, Government of Sindh; I realized what the potential of this beautiful country is and how we are wasting it for the sake of our own lives. The conference was held at Regent Plaza Hotel in Karachi from 4th to 6th June 2011, where the country’s renowned speakers, trainers, politicians, social workers, and more than 300 participants from all across the country, gathered to find solutions to the problems affecting our homeland. 3rd Pakistan Youth Congress’s theme this year was “Khudi” as explained by the sheer genius Dr. Allama Mohammad Iqbal. “Khudi is precious” was the tag line of the conference throughout.
Divided into 3 days, the first day focused on the mission of “Self Discovery”, where the participants analyzed their own selves, their strengths and weaknesses, where they lack and what can they do to overcome their weaknesses. This was further pumped by the training sessions, team building activities and interaction with the speakers. Throughout the day, the participants were made more aware of themselves. This day ended on a note of music and fun in the Cultural Night where participants represented their own cultures through their attire and a fantastic performance by Zahrss.
Day 2 was about “Leadership in Action”, where politicians and activists came in the picture to discuss what needs to be done to improve the situation we are facing in this country. Speeches by students on “why we are not one nation but divided amongst ethnic lines” and various other activities were organized to make us realize the trauma handicapped people go through on a daily basis. Towards the end of this day, the students were asked to paint their t-shirts with their idea of how revolution can be brought in Pakistan. I, of course, had to answer a lot of questions and eyeing as I made the Nazi flag on my t-shirt.
The last and final day, Day 3, ended on a note of “Making the Difference”. This day started off with a basic seminar on disaster management, student speeches in Otaaq on “Whether it is just the responsibility of the Government to eliminate drugs from the society?” The guest appearance from the Minister of Youth, Faisal Subzwari, was welcomed by the participants and ended on presentations of projects by students.
Unlike any other conferences, the participants were divided into teams which where a combination of young participants from diverse backgrounds, and thus, gave us the opportunity to interact with the five provinces, their cultures and backgrounds. Speakers and trainers, such as, Mustafa Kamal, Farooq Sattar, Sohail Zindani, Kamran Rizvi (also known as Kamba), Humair Mumtaz, and the trainer from Indonesia, Riva, all swept the crowd off its feet and grabbed the attention of the crowd with their inspirational stories, encouraging the youth to step forward and take action, while the motivational speakers kept the morale of the crowd at its peak.
It is about time that we all realized our responsibility to our country and ourselves. Ask yourself, are you fulfilling the duty that you owe to this country? And to your conscious, can we really do something to change the situation, be it on a national or individual level? Are we so deep asleep that we do not know where are we heading?
Yes, the youth can do wonders, only if we the youth takes up the responsibility on their shoulders. Think big, change yourself, take action, be courageous about what you think is right, realize your faults and correct them, make your voice heard and your opinion count. That is the need of the hour now.
Wake up from the slumber, my friends, or we will all be destroyed very soon.