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Pakistan continues to grapple with a multitude of complex challenges that threaten its national security, hinder its socio-economic progress and have been destabilizing the country in a perpetual manner. In addition, the poor economic performance, massive youth bulge, unemployment, drug problem, dysfunctional governance system, ethno-nationalist agendas, insurgencies, porous borders, radicalization, political instability and divisive rhetoric have put all and sundry at the altar.

Despite a high voter turnout in the recent elections, a hung parliament and protests claiming electoral fraud along with the confrontational “us vs them” mentality, makes the situation grave and volatile. The old political guards, despite decades of experience, repeatedly fail to lead us out of crisis and instead add to the complexity, mainly due to incapacity, vindictive, radical and outdated mindsets.

There is an urgency to realign Pakistan’s national trajectory and reconnect with the public pulse, especially the youth. Political stability and national cohesion are now more crucial than ever to overcome the polycrisis and toxic political environment.

The consolidation of democracy and a youth centric national dialogue is the only way forward, offering a pathway to progress, prosperity, stability, and cohesion in an unsettled Pakistan. This way forward is only possible via robust young leadership with a can-do attitude and a firm believer in Pakistan first. A leader who can work towards reconciliation and break the cycle of political vengeance and victimization.

The recent general election promised us stability; however, it has exacerbated the national crisis, requiring the urgent need to lower the political temperature, and overcome hyper polarization. With majority youth population, it is prudent to follow the global trend and empower the next generation of youthful, energetic, flexible, and adaptive leaders with new determinations and fresh perspectives to lead and rescue Pakistan from the rhetoric of hate and mend the social fabric torn by political opportunism.

This generation of leadership have been tested and have failed numerous times. They lack capacity to act as a unifying platform and to bridge, rather their continued extreme stances have resulted in a political deadlock and instability, hindering governance and development.

It is important to act now and the only desired balancing act or the healing touch is to constructively contribute to resolving the political impasse by mainstreaming youth leadership. This involves paving way for young leaders to take charge, reduce the political tensions, mainstream the youth fed on harmful narratives and project a positive and pluralistic image and prioritize socio-economic stability for a better future for Pakistan.

In deep-seated divisions, hate and conflicts within our social fabric, the constitutional and politically neutral positions of the Governors must act as a reconciliatory platform- a platform to amalgamate the state’s narrative and ethos with the young populace and play an effective role in bridging the narrative gap while acting as the representative of the federation.

Perhaps it is time to empower youth as Governors in all the four provinces to give a chance to young leaders to serve in the times of crisis and effectively engage, especially with the youth in the language of the youth.

A young Governor can efficiently utilise digital tools to promote national unity, manage public perception, counter misinformation, and mitigate anti-state and extremist ideologies. The Governor can engage with the breeding grounds of narratives, the educational institutions, including public and private sector universities, colleges and madaaris to expose the youth to diverse perspective and fostering critical thinking skills.

The Governor can collaborate with public and private sector to initiate programmes aimed at enhancing employability and technical skills among youth. Additionally, the Governor can complement agendas related to environmental conservation, tourism, art and culture, sports, gender mainstreaming, institutional oversight, public grievance redressal, public service delivery and reforms, welfare, civic education and conflict resolution. The Governor can integrate the populace through various intervention and introduce new heroes and role models from the society to reduce the idolisation and deflate the rise of cult culture.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Barrister Safi Ullah Ghauri

The writer is Barrister and political analyst based in Islamabad


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KU Mar 03, 2024 09:50am
Perhaps it is too late to resolve the economic issues in traditional manner, the breakdown of socioeconomic environment is underway. Nothing is expected from leaders, please be honest and wake-up.
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Imran Ali Mar 04, 2024 11:46am
There is a need to built consensus on the definition of youth in political sphere. In Pakistani politics youth is someone upto 70 years old
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