By Brian Cloughley
Terrorism has thrived in Pakistan largely because the education system has failed throughout the country, thus allowing quasi-religious fanaticism to thrive more than it might otherwise have done. The essentiality of education and employment for potentially disaffected young people cannot be over-emphasised. The army can play its part by ensuring that schools can operate without interference, but it is the responsibility of the civil power to build, staff and maintain the schools and to create a societal organization that supports their operation. Without this realisation, the army’s efforts will have been in vain.
The situation in Balochistan is also disquieting because rebels, in the name of nationalism, have attempted to disrupt the province, which is said to be a base for insurgents engaged in conflict in Afghanistan. In November 2009 the central government offered a major package of development and social improvements, including withdrawal of troops, in return for cessation of violence, but the rebels rejected the offer.38 The need to maintain or even reinforce the army presence in the province is an important factor in the army’s overall planning.
The overall picture in Pakistan is sombre.
The army is regarded as a bastion of reliability by most of the population, but it is disturbing that a survey in late 2009 found that “An overwhelming majority of young Pakistanis say their country is headed in the wrong direction . . . and only 1 in 10 has confidence in the government.
The despair among the young generation is rooted in the condition of their lives, the report found. Only a fifth of those interviewed had permanent full-time jobs. Half said, they did not have sufficient skills to enter the work place. And one in four could not read or write, a legacy of the country’s abysmal public education system, in which less than 40 percent of children are enrolled in school, far below the South Asian average of 58 percent.”
10th December 2009
These are a few excerpts from the concluding chapter of a very comprehensive study available online as a report that covers many aspects of Pakistan’s present socio political conflict – SAS / Editorial
For complete report, click link –