Published on WSWS, by Ali Ismail, 09 December 2009.
A new report commissioned by the British Council reveals widespread dissatisfaction and frustration among Pakistani youth. Based on interviews with 1,500 18-29 year-olds from across Pakistan, the report also sheds light on the bleak socio-economic prospects facing the vast majority of young people due to unemployment and underemployment and the lack of basic public services, including quality schooling.
The report warns that unless Pakistan drastically increases access to education and creates millions of new jobs for its young people, social and political upheavals are almost inevitable in coming years.
Currently, Pakistan’s official unemployment rate is about 8 percent, but over 70 percent are employed in the informal sector, where basic labor standards do not apply. The report found that among men who have left school, only 22 percent have full-time jobs. About one-fifth describe themselves as unemployed and most of the rest have unstable jobs. Among women, only 6 percent have a job and the vast majority of the rest describe themselves as housewives … //
… Pakistan’s GDP is projected to grow by just 2 percent in 2009 and 2010. This is far short of the 6 percent minimum annual growth said to be necessary to create enough jobs for the increasing number of young and working age people.
The British Council report constitutes a devastating indictment of the Pakistani bourgeoisie and its reactionary communal-national project. 60 years after “independence,” life for Pakistani workers and the youth remains defined by poverty and inequality. The decision to partition India into two independent bourgeois states was a betrayal of the mass anti-imperialist movement that swept across the subcontinent in the first half of the 20th century and has done next to nothing to provide basic democratic freedoms and a decent standard of living for the working class and rural toilers. Today, billions of dollars are wasted by the military and looted by corrupt politicians while the elite refuse to provide Pakistanis with the most basic necessities of life. (full text).