(By Namrah Khan, Karachi); Yesterday, I witnessed an incident while going shopping at KDA mall in Karachi, where a young married man
with a Master’s university degree, father of four children, was selling little perfumes worth 200 rupees at a place currently utilized for car parking. To remove him from the premises, traffic police came around and were taking bribes from the vendors to allow them to operate. This is just one of many examples of how corruption runs in our shining city of lights Karachi and how the poor need to break the glass ceiling and bend the rules to survive.
Corruption. It’s a one-letter word that has been stamped on this younger generation in Pakistan. We have been accustomed to it, we are forced to be a recipient of it and our institutes have been tainted by it.
As a university student in my early twenties, I am often told that my generation will be the change Pakistan needs, as Pakistan is the fifth youngest country in the world, 66% of Pakistan’s youth is under 30. However, if my generation will be the change, then have our previous governments, public educational institutes, law and order governing bodies, and the people in society provided those strong foundations for us to thrive? Or do they expect us to be a part of those layers, to fill in those grey areas and repeat the same cycle of corruption?
The Pakistani Youth’s answer is definitely No. We will not be a part of this old system but will create a ‘new’ system.
When our ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan chanted for the past 3 years ‘Naya Pakistan’, we will make a ‘New Pakistan’, my generation chanted with him, as he lit a glimmer of hope for them as they also wanted to see a ‘new Pakistan’. Nevertheless, the irony would be that our ex-Prime Minister Imran Khan would be the victim of the same thing he was fighting against. He was voted out of power on April 11th 2022 in a no-confidence vote, no-confidence motion, which he stated was a pre-planned move by the opposition leaders in Pakistan and backed by external foreign power influence of the United States in the form of a warning letter.
As a result, we are once again, welcoming the ‘old’ Pakistan, where our current 23rd Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif is facing legal corruption cases for more than 8 billion Pakistani rupees. His son Hamza Shahbaz appeared before Lahore’s accountability court in money laundering cases. His brother ex-PM Nawaz Sharif also served time in jail and faces further corruption charges, but he fled the county from jail due to health reasons.
Our youth must learn from history. We must not just be influenced by social media, or let politicians use us as tools to feed their messages but we should shape our future. Our Qaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s said in his address in Lahore ’Pakistan is proud of her youth, particularly the students who have always been in the forefront in the hour of trial and need. You are the nation’s leaders of tomorrow and you must fully equip yourself by discipline, education and training for the arduous task lying ahead of you. You should realise the magnitude of your responsibility and be ready to bear it’’ (Jinnah, 1947).
The youth are the revolution bearers in any society. It is not that Imran Khan is the solution for Pakistan but his vision for Pakistan as a country resonates with the same vision as our founding leaders, he knows the key areas for a thriving Pakistan; and is focused on removing social inequality, corruption, crimes, protecting human rights, work on saving our environment, focusing on climate change, protecting the security of our citizens, proper education of children and youth, public housing, better health access and facilities, equal employment opportunities, looking after our agricultural communities, our villagers, low- socio-economic communities and build a Pakistan where no overseas super-power can dictate or influence internal dealings. At the same time, Pakistan should also help tackle international issues such as Islamophobia and be a voice for the people that are still a victim of terrorism and violence in Palestine and Kashmir.
Imran Khan in his recent rallies is seen urging the youth to come out with their 6 crore mobile phones and fight for their rights for a free and fair Pakistan.’ To say no to corruption, slavery, dishonest government and to urge for elections.’ I know in my generation there will be future leaders, politicians, and revolutionary individuals but to see that future it is not just time to jump on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and your social media channels to blindly spread the message of the latest political trend, but it is time to be wiser, smarter youth, to learn your history, and not just be used as puppets by politicians. Spread the ideology and history of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Know that Qaid- e-Azam said do not divide yourself based on culture, religion, sect, language, and region but to live as one nation with unity, faith, and discipline. Our youth needs to be united, ‘united’ in shaping our future, that means educating yourself, educating those that don’t have access to resources, not just by chanting slogans, but be an ‘educated youth’, who will know when corrupt leaders govern us, who will know right from wrong, who will stand for justice, an ‘educated youth’ will know the right person to vote for, an educated youth can be the future educated leaders of Pakistan.
(The writer, Namrah Khan, is a BS Hons English Applied Linguistics and Literature Student At NUML Karachi Campus, Pakistan)