Utilization Of Young Population In Pakistan

Screenshot 2015-05-30 12.21.00

First published in Pak Tea House on 20 Jun 2015.

youth bulge


As per UNICEF’s 2013 Statistics, Pakistan is a country with one of the largest youth bulge in the world where almost 35 % of the population is under the age of 15 . This staggering amount of young people on one hand is a huge human resource full of potential waiting to be tapped and on the other hand, amidst rampant corruption, unemployment and terrorism, it can be a ticking bomb waiting to explode any time.

China and India –Two case of Population Utilization

By mid 20th century most of the developed countries have realized well in advance that rapid and uncontrolled growth of human population can add huge strain on the national resources. As time would elapse, this would directly translate into increased unemployment rate, poor health care facilities, declined literacy rate and lack of quality life for the citizens. Therefore, population control was the only solution to avoid such huge set of problems.

The steps taken and policies adopted to regulate population growth varied across different countries depending upon local intricacies. However for Pakistan, two examples, one successful and the other mildly successful can be found in its neighboring China and India respectively.

China is a case in point where communist government’s strictly implemented “one child policy” which paid huge dividends. It not only enabled China to control its population but with supportive economic, education and health policies it was able to utilize the population for the betterment of the country. As a result China today, despite being one of the most populated countries in the world, had made huge progress at an astonishing pace.

On the contrary, India with second largest population in the world is an example where, despite of various efforts to control population and harness the potential of masses, no significant gains had been made. As a result not only the population swelled in the absence of appropriate foresight and planning but also corruption, low literacy rate and fragile economy further increased the problems. Today, beyond the glitzy world of Indian media and Bollywood more than half of its population lives below the poverty line. In retrospect, Pakistan is neither a success story like China to benefit from its huge potential nor a failure like India. It lies somewhere in between.

Pakistan’s Election 2013 and the “Young” Factor

In Pakistan’s perspective, Election 2013 offers an interesting insight regarding the role of young population. An age-wise breakup of the 2012 electoral rolls shows there were about 16.2 million registered voters between the age of 18 and 25 years while 1.5 million were to turn 18 between January and June 2013.The percentage, however, is more significant when one considers that the total turnout in previous elections varied between 32 and 36 per cent.  As a result political parties mainly targeted the youth using the social media. Public rallies were a reflection of this mindset of political parties. Millions of youngsters who were able to vote for the first time played a significant role in the overall results of the elections.

election commision

From the above analysis it is obvious that that Pakistan huge population bulge is ready to play its role in all spheres of life. However a comprehensive response to tap this potential demands a holistic response. Few key areas in this regard for effectively utilizing the young population are discussed here.


The first and the foremost area that needs attention is education. Empowering the young minds with well rounded, contemporary and balanced education along with the instruction of moral values and religious tolerance is the best investment possible in this era. Education of women also needs to be given equal focus and priority. Educated youth can be utilized in spreading knowledge at primary and secondary educational level by introducing a compulsory teaching tenure for university students in far flung areas of the country with poor literacy rate.

Sports and Athletics

Young people are more interested in games, sports, athletics and similar activities because they are spirited and full of energy. As there is a large chunk of young men and women in Pakistan’s population there is a  need to develop infrastructure, organizations, communities, training facilities, grounds and courts to promote healthy competition and utilize their energies in constructive activities. A multi-pronged strategy should be adopted where at schools, colleges, universities sports facilities are provided and competitions are organized. In United Sates, colleges and universities provide youngsters sports facilities that enable them to indulge in positive competition; as a result individuals are healthy, tolerant, disciplined and productive citizens of the society. The focus should be on team sports like soccer, cricket, hockey and basketball rather than individual sports which require greater infrastructure and cost overheads. A culture of sporting events on weekends should be introduced; college and university should enforce participation in at least one sport as a degree pre requisite.

Humanities and Arts

These days interest in movies, games, television is common globally. Keeping in view the size of youth population in Pakistan there is a dire need to engage in humanities, arts and other similar creative activities. The opening of evening musical schools, acting schools, dance classes, theatrical performance trainees will provide young minds to spend their leisure time in more productively. An institutionalized approach should be adopted at community level; it is imperative in creating healthy environment for better development of youth.

Volunteer Work

Pakistan is engulfed countless problems in almost all the spheres of life. Motivated and enthusiastic workforce is needed that can help the state and its institutions in confronting these problems. Weekend based volunteer programs or extended duration volunteer work of up to three months in various field can help Pakistan and resolve various issues facing the country. Young Population can be directed to do volunteer work in public health organizations, old age homes, restoration of parks, maintenance of public places, teaching in rural areas and similar tasks can be identified to channelize this huge work force.

Empowerment and  greater representation                

In order to train and develop capable leadership it is necessary to prepare the youth who can uphold future responsibilities. This can be done through introducing model united nation in schools, colleges and universities. Youth parliaments at divisional and provincial level are also beneficial for creating young leaders.

Business Opportunities / Entrepreneurship

Young minds are full of new ideas. Keeping in view greater exposure of today’s generation due to electronic media and internet these young fertile minds are more capable of coming up with innovative ideas. However, proper guidance is required to channelize these ideas in the right direction. The development of organizations like small and medium enterprise development forums, involvement of various chamber of commerce as well as forming consortiums with the help of established businesses can prove helpful in this regard.


Young population needs to be utilized keeping in mind the national goals and policies of Pakistan. Human Resource Management needs be applied prudently. Misguided, direction less young population can worsen the situation and further deteriorate the problematic situation of the country. These young minds of Pakistan are a reservoir of energy, talent and capabilities; if regulated properly they can assist development of the country.



Presidents And Prime Ministers With a PhD

dsd originally published on The Pyambar.com on  8 March 2013.


Does formal education really matter for statesmen? It should, but how much of it? This is a question with no definite answer. Can a high school dropout perform as good as a premier with a PhD degree? There can be many reasons and arguments. In the past, we have seen renowned leaders with a doctorate degree including Dr Condoleezza Rice (U.S Secretary of State), Dr Gordon Brown (British Prime Minister) and Dr Abdul Kalam Azad (President of India). Below is a list of few incumbent statesmen, who apart from being “Mr President” and “Mr Prime Minister,” are also eligible to be respectfully called “Dr”.

1. Dr Vladimir Putin- President of Russia
Setting aside politically motivated propaganda against all Russian agendas, Valadmir Putin the incumbent President of Russia is a true inspiration. Since 1999, he has been either a President or the prime minister of his country. Apart from the being winner of various local judo competitions he is fond of skiing, skating, fishing and playing badminton. He graduated from the Law Department of Leningrad State University in 1975, and later earned his PhD degree. His thesis was titled, “The Strategic Planning of Regional Resources under the Formation of Market Relations,” and it argued that Russian economic success would depend on creating national energy champions.

2. Dr Manmohan Singh – Prime Minister of India
The Pakistan born (pre partition) Indian Prime minister, Mr Manmohan is a true prodigy with a maculate academic profile. He got his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in economics. In 1960, he went to the University of Oxford for the DPhil and completed his doctoral thesis titled “India’s export performance, 1951–1960, export prospects and policy implications.” His PhD thesis later became the basis for his book “India’s Export Trends and Prospects for Self-Sustained Growth”. He remained the chief economic adviser, finance Minister, governor of reserve bank of India before becoming prime minister in 2004, and was reelected in 2009 for another five-year term. Dr Manmohan Singh is regarded as a man with clear background, whose actions speaks louder than words.

3. Dr Ahmedi Nijad – President of Iran
Mr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, came into power in 2005 and was reelected in 2009. In 1976, Ahmadinejad stood 132nd out of 400,000 participants in Iran’s national university entrance exams .He enrolled in the Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST) at Tehran as an undergraduate student of civil engineering. He was accepted to a Master of Science program at his alma mater in 1986. Later, he joined the faculty as a lecturer in 1989. He earned his PhD degree in 1997 in civil engineering and traffic transportation planning.

4. Dr Mohamed Morsi – President of Egypt
Mohamed Morsi, the incumbent President of Egypt, assumed office as the fifth president of his country on 30 June 2012. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree in engineering from Cairo University in 1975 and 1978, respectively. He later earned his Ph.D. in materials science from the University of Southern California in the U.S. in 1982. His PhD dissertation was titled, “High-Temperature Electrical Conductivity and Defect Structure of Donor-Doped Al2O3.” He remained an Assistant Professor at California State University, Northridge, from 1982 to 1985. In 1985, he returned to Egypt and began to serve as the head of the engineering department at Zagazig University, where he was a professor until 2010.

5. Dr Abdullah Güll – President of Turkey
Abdullah Gül, became President of Turkey in 2007. He previously served as Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. President Gül studied Economics at the Istanbul University. During his graduate education, he studied for two years in United Kingdom. In 1991, he became a lecturer in International Management. He established the Department for Industrial Engineering at the ITU Sakarya Engineering Faculty, which later became the Sakarya University in 1992. He is also conferred to an Honorary Ph.D. degree from Amity University, India in 2009.

6. Dr Heinz Fischer- President of Austria
The incumbent president of Austria, Hienz Fischer, took office in 2004 and was re-elected in 2010. He studied law at the University of Vienna, earning a doctorate in 1961. Fischer served as Minister of Science from 1983 to 1987. Apart from being a politician, he pursued an academic career, and became a Professor of Political Science at the University of Innsbruck in 1993.

7. Dr Tony Tan – President of Singapore
Mr Tony Tan Keng Yam, the current President of Singapore, resumed office in 1 September 2011. In early years, he received a government scholarship, and graduated with first class honors in physics from the National University of Singapore securing first position in his class. He also attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in United Sates where he completed a Master of Science in operations research. He later earned a PhD in applied mathematics at the University of Adelaide, Australia and went on to lecture mathematics in the University of Singapore. From 1980 to 1981, Tan served as the first Vice Chancellor of the National University of Singapore (NUS).

8. Dr Mykola Azarov- Prime Minister of Ukraine
Mykola Yanovych Azarov has been the Prime Minister of Ukraine since March 2010. Dr Azarov earned his doctorate in geology and mineralogy in 1971 from the Moscow State University. In 1984–1995, he became a deputy director and director of Ukraine’s State Research and Design Institute of Mining Geology and Geo mechanics. Since 1991, he has been professor of Donetsk National Technical University.

9. Dr Aníbal Cavaco Silva – President of Portugal
Dr Aníbal Cavaco Silva won the Portuguese presidential election in 2006 and was re-elected in 2011. He was initially an undistinguished student at school, but later obtained a degree in economics and finance from Technical University of Lisbon, with distinction. In 1973, he was awarded a doctorate in economics from the University of York, in the United Kingdom. His thesis at York was a defense of (then popular) Keynesian economics.

10. Dr Pal Schmitt – Ex President of Hungary
A former Olympic fencer, diplomat and member of the European Parliament, Mr. Pal Schmitt was elected president in 2010 by the Hungarian Parliament. In April 2012, he resigned from his post amid a storm of criticism over allegations of plagiarism in his 1992 doctoral thesis. Later The University in Budapest that awarded his doctoral degree stripped it from him.

The man lost both the Presidency and his PhD!