It is said that youth is future of a nation while healthy and educated youth can help in building a healthy, educated and prosperous nation having a society capable to prosper itself and support others in development. If young generation is well guided and equipped with advanced education of science and technology, it needs nothing from outside to achieve its desired goals. It is the right of every citizen to be given easy access to modern education and the basic amenities of life and Government is responsible to provide health and educational facilities to every citizen.
But the question arises what kind of facilities are being provided by the Government to its citizens especially the youth in tribal areas? They were always ignored since creation of Pakistan. Waziristan which comprises two agencies such as North and South Waziristan are confronting with turmoil due to militancy and almost from a decade they are facing isolation and deprivation.
Thousands of people have been displaced and migrated to different settled areas of Pakistan for their safety. Hundreds of influential elders have been gunned down, which is a big setback to the local customs and traditions of tribal areas, but the most hurting is that most of the people lost their loved ones in the so-called war on terror. They have lost their business and, which is an issue to be highlighted at government level and the affected people should be compensated through different means so that they can restart their business to feed their families.
On the other hand the youngsters, who were busy in educational activities, are now getting inspiration from different militant groups and are associating themselves with these groups for so many reasons. Under these circumstances when routine life was disturbed, educational institutions were closed and the youths have no co-curricular and social activities, they become vulnerable to militants. Militant groups are converting the situation into an opportunity and are recruiting youth of Waziristan by attracting them with money and other activities.
Due to militant activities followed by military operations, economic activities in the area came to a standstill and there are no employment opportunities for unemployed youth. The people are making efforts to feed their families and meet their requirements, but due to the insurgency means of their income became very limited.
The education institutions are almost closed, Hayat Ullah, a student of Degree Collage Miranshah said, adding that they did not attend even a single class from last summer vacations due to the uncertainty in the area. Most of youth from Waziristan are now completely idle, having no activity to keep them engaged.
Most of the people who had some high class business in Waziristan, have shifted their business to the settled areas, as no one has security of life and property there, said a local business man, adding that they are searching for some money to take on loan for getting labor visa in gulf countries.
He said that the young generation is now easily inspiring from militant groups as they need money to survive so that the militant outfits have funds, power and much more to attract the youth, Syed Daraz said, adding that this is reason that militant groups are getting manpower.
Mostly youth are enrolled in colleges and schools in different areas of Waziristan, but they are not attending classes due to militancy, as they are confronting with lots of hurdles, said Ismael a student of Miranshah Post Graduate College. “Different people come to our College along with guns, so I never wish to get education in such institution where I do not have any security of my life. Besides our college remain closed due to the critical situation and continuous curfew in the area”, he maintained. He was of the view that due to these reasons teachers and students are not able to come to educational institutions. Those who have the capability to get admitted their children in settled areas have left, but it is not possible for others, he added.
“We are psychologically affected because of having no positive activities to get involved and whole day we have nothing to do except irrigating small scale agriculture land. But it is not a daily activity as we have very limited agriculture land”, said Zain a teenager of NWA, adding that mostly youth were using drugs and some are looking for hashish to get rid of the tension and stress. Responding to a question, he said that there is no alternate for young people.
Nabi Ullah, a young man of 23 was of the view that they do not know the chill of life. ”We know nothing about the real meanings of life as we are fully deprived of all colors of life. Education facilities could be availed only when one has a stable and good life”.
Last week FATA Secretariat issued orders that those parents who will not send their children to schools without any reason will be punished and a monitoring team will visit schools thrice a week to ensure the attendance of staff in schools. It also announced that with the cooperation of World Food Programme, a UN organ working on food security, every girl student attending school for 20 days in a month will be given one sack of flour, one large pack of ghee and biscuits. Although it is positive step to attract people, but the question is, will it be implemented or will remain just an announcement? The need is to take some concrete steps for improving the education system in FATA.
Before the insurgency, when there was tranquility in the area, the youth of Waziristan were not behind in the race of life with the rest of country and even now besides all these difficulties they are competing in all fields. The land of Waziristan in spite of being a rigid religious tribal society, produced doctors, engineers, politicians, journalists and even folk singers who are serving the country in their respective fields. Even in sports, Waziristan people got success amongst all tribal belts several times.
Although it has been claimed by the Government that it was providing the basic facilities of life to all its citizens, but unfortunately still a lot of people are deprived especially the people of FATA. The deprivation of people of FATA forced tribal youth to get involved in negative activities which not only spoil their future, but proved harmful for society. FATA being a neglected area should be given top priority by the government to end the feeling of deprivation.
Youth should be given opportunities and facilities which students of rest of the country are enjoying. The people who have lost their business should be given incentives in shape of financial package and in shape of industrialization in FATA, where large reserves of natural resources were discovered and it would directly reduce unemployment.
The writer is FRC Correspondent from North Waziristan Agency FATA and can be reached by firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com