By Ghazala Yasmeen
In lap of famous mountain ranges, longest glaciers, lash green pastures, highest plateaus in the world, murmuring springs, beautiful souls having unique cultural and linguistic diversities, introducing the YOUTH as an endangered species of Gilgit-Baltistan leaves a big question mark in this modern era.
Gilgit-Baltistan also known as the northern part of Pakistan is blessed with utmost natural beauty with full of resources but having empty minded leadership to get benefits from these resources for the larger interest of the inhabitants.
Using the lines of “empty minded leadership” might be confusing for somebody from various aspects but it can be simply define that our leaders lack developmental planning or inefficient to lead their nation. Resultantly the region became a hub of issues from all sides that affects the people’s lives at large.
Some of the examples of our incompetent leadership are included bad governance, poor infrastructure, corruption, corrupt practices, nepotism, favoritism and pitiable planning for the development of their homeland.
In such circumstances, the youth of Gilgit-Baltistan raises eyebrows over their leaders regarding their future because they desire to have a bright, fearless, peaceful and luxurious future and expect the government authorities to provide appropriate opportunities to turn their dreams into realities.
In developing countries, youth is considered as future of their nations. They are supposed to handle the bureaucracy, technocracy, politics and other fields of life. Either it is from local bodies to provincial governments, judicial, legislative to executive systems etc. ALAS!!! But unfortunately the youth in remote mountainous regions like Gilgit-Baltistan seems molting in a number of social issues. Some of that are unemployment, drug addictions and growing trend of suicides in the young generation.
The Gilgit River carries a dead body in about a week and the regional media reports that as so called suicide case. But majority such cases reveal as honored killing or murder ones if properly investigated. The trend of suicide among youth has grown up in the beginning of the 21st century from the Ghizer district and gradually stretched to some other parts.
A parliamentary committee was formed followed by a resolution passed by the G-B Legislative Assembly to look into the reasons behinds increasing suicides a few years back but failed to achieve what the result was expected. No proper researches were conducted either by the government or the NGOs end to find out the main causes of suicides hence it has become a like fashion today.
The second major problem with the youth of G-B is unemployment or being Joblessness. The employment of youth in G-B totally depends on government sector jobs as there is no alternate source of incomes in the region.
There are neither private industries nor multinational companies throughout the region that could provide
jobs, technical skills and small and medium entrepreneurship opportunities to the youth. Banks have strict conditions and high markup rates for business loaners.
Ultimately the youth becomes upset of the government policies.
To cope up with such disastrous situations, the provincial and federal governments need to take some immediate actions. The education department of G-B rather opening so many institutes, should have to focus on few quality institute wherein the new generations could get quality education from the beginning and the young graduates could get appropriate job opportunities.
The exam system must be improved by using modern technologies while preparing papers, conducting examinations, monitoring and eradicating the evil of cheating and ensuring computerized papers checking and marking systems.
Secondly, the government must have to ensure merit and transparency in all jobs and avoid the pathetic practice of promoting nepotism and favoritism at all levels. It should also focus on human resource development through various vocational and technical training opportunitie
s rather sending a huge number of youth to study their PhDs so that the youth healing from the poor families could also get the chances to serve their communities.
The health department needs to ensure all basic facilities including proper diagnostic and medication systems, provision of fee medicines, proper hygiene as well as conducting regular awareness sessions on physical and mental health in both urban and rural communities.
CPEC no doubt will be a game changer for the region. Youth of G-B need professional trainings to meet the needs of the upcoming opportunities.
Likewise the other departments e.g. social welfare, youth affairs, women development, child rights, population welfare, finance, water & power, works, planning etc also need to adopt the same strategies to bring instant reforms in terms of merit and transparency.
The NGOs and INGOs working in G-B also need to develop plans based on ground realities and compiling facts and figures of issues faced by the youth nowadays. They should have to focus on launching skill development and entrepreneurship programs for the youth that could not just provide employments to the unemployed youth but also change the socio-economic condition of the whole people living in the region.
One of the local NGOs, G-B Pride Association, since last three years, providing platform for youth to arrange various sessions, seminars and other healthy activities and of G-B. The theme of G-B Pride emphasizes the need for sustaining peace, pluralism and national integration, social harmony among various segments of the society through dialogue, exposure, learning, experience sharing and greater involvement of various sections of the society especially youth in Gilgit-Baltistan.
We welcome young leadership of Gilgit-Baltistan to join the platform for the better future of the region.
We are very optimistic that government of G-B will involve such platforms of youth in their activities and projects to get best benefit out of young minds in future.
The writer is CEO at G-B Pride Association in Gilgit-Baltistan