News / Asia

Pakistan Youth Work to Solve Country's Conflicts

Pakistani Youth Work to Resolve Conflicti
X
December 09, 2013 11:38 PM
In Pakistan, more than 4,000 civilians and security forces died in terrorist violence in 2013. Military campaigns and political outreach have made little headway in reducing the toll. But Sharon Behn reports that Pakistani youth are now trying to open a dialogue and end the violence - even in Pakistan's lawless tribal regions.
Sharon Behn
In Pakistan, thousands of civilians and security force members died in terrorist violence in 2013. Military campaigns and political outreach have made little headway in reducing the toll. But, Pakistani youth are trying to open a dialogue and end the violence, even in Pakistan's lawless tribal regions.
 
Teenager Malala Yousufzai became the international face of Pakistan's youth this year. Young and determined, she narrowly escaped death after being shot in the head by the Taliban for her outspoken advocacy of education for girls.
 
In Pakistan, there are many other young people like her, trying to make a difference by forging peace. Even in the country's violent tribal northwest, where guns are commonplace and tribal feuds a way of life, young people are working to resolve conflicts through dialogue.

University student Mohammad Farooq Afridi is one of those youth leaders. He regularly leaves behind his school in the northwest city Peshawar, and drives out to village tribal communities to talk about alternative ways to resolve disputes.

“People have no patience, they don’t listen to the other side," he said. "I am trying to teach them patience and tolerance. People think more about revenge than resolution, even when they know the consequences, and it’s a never-ending cycle of revenge.”

Afridi has created his own organization called Khadim ul Khalq, or Servant of the People, and he receives some funding from international donors to try to help mediate conflicts.

Like Malala, Afridi believes education will bring change.

He says right now, many children do not study because parents say it is not safe to send their children to class. He wants to set up free street-side schools, cricket tournaments, mobile medical units, all staffed by volunteers.

Afridi says he wants to work more on education because the state of education in his area is pathetic for vulnerable children. He says he wants children to have direction so that they avoid unsocial and unhealthy activities, like violence and drugs.

In northwest Pakistan, recruitment by extremist movements is on the rise, fed by social exclusion, weak rule of law, and a battle between the tribal way of life and the state's attempt to exert control, says the U.N. Development Program's Marc Andre Franche.
 
“One of the aspects that most encouraged me in Pakistan is meeting so many young people that are trying to make a difference, that are trying to change the situation in this country,” he said.

With 56 percent of the country's population under the age of 30, Franche says such youth outreach programs are extremely valuable in bridging gaps in Pakistan
 
Several non-government groups are training and funding youth peace-makers, bringing them to Islamabad to teach them conflict mediation techniques. Arshad Hamid is one of those students. He says in Hangu, where he is from, violence between Sunni and Shia Muslims is common.

“This sectarian conflict is scaring people, they don’t feel safe going outside, running their businesses, or even just having a social life. They are frightened," he said. "They never know if they are going to go out and die.”

While Hamid's efforts and others are still on a small scale, they are a hopeful sign that Pakistan's next generation is focused on finding new ways to solve old problems.

You May Like

Russia Names US NGO 'Undesirable'

Prosecutors determine activities of National Endowment for Democracy to be 'undesirable,' paving the way for it to be outlawed on Russian territory More

Erdogan Vows 'Anti-Terror' Campaign in Syria, Iraq

Erdogan expressed confidence the 'necessary steps' will be taken by NATO leaders, who will meet Tuesday at Turkey's request More

North Korea: 'No Interest at All' in Nuke Deal

Senior US envoy Sydney Seiler visits Beijing Tuesday for talks on how to revive the stalled six-party nuclear talks with North Korea More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Wini
X
July 28, 2015 12:21 AM
The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Iran Nuclear Pact Wins Few New US Congressional Backers

Later this week, President Barack Obama returns from a trip to Africa to confront a U.S. Congress roiled by the nuclear accord with Iran, an agreement that has received the blessing of the U.N. Security Council. Days of intensive lobbying and testimony by top administration officials have won few new congressional supporters of the pact. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Obama Encourages Kenya to Fix Cultures of Corruption, Discrimination

President Barack Obama bid farewell to Kenya Sunday with a major speech at as stadium outside the capital Nairobi where he called on Kenyans to change the cultures of corruption and discrimination that can hold society back. VOA East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.
Video

Video Racially Diverse Spider-Man Takes Center Stage

Whether it’s in a comic book or on the big screen, fans have always known the man behind the Spider-Man mask as Peter Parker. But that is changing, at least in the comic book world. Marvel Comics announced that a character called Miles Morales will replace Peter Parker as Spider-Man in a new comic book series. He is half Latino, half African American, and he is quite popular among comic book fans. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Video

Video California Towns Welcome Special Olympics Athletes

Cities and towns in Southern California are greeting thousands of athletes who are arriving for Special Olympics, a competition for people with intellectual disabilities. The games will run from July 25th through August 2nd. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, where athletes from Namibia, Singapore and Tanzania got a rousing welcome from local residents.
Video

Video Critics of Japan Defense Policy Focus on Okinawa

In Okinawa, many locals have long complained that Tokyo places an unfair burden on the tiny island by locating most of Japan's U.S. military bases there. As Japan's government moves toward strengthening and expanding the country's defense policies, opponents of those plans are joining local protesters in Okinawa, voicing concern about where the country is headed. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Okinawa.
Video

Video IS Uses Chemical Weapons in Syrian Attack

Islamic State militants have added a new weapon in their arsenal of fear: chemical weapons. VOA Kurdish service reporter Zana Omer was on the scene within hours of a recent attack in Hasakah, Syria, and has details of the subsequent investigation, in this report narrated by Miguel Amaya.
Video

Video Historic Symbol Is Theme of Vibrant New Show

A new exhibit in Washington is paying tribute to the American flag with a wide and eclectic selection of artwork that uses the historic symbol as its central theme. VOA’s Julie Taboh was at the DC Chamber of Commerce for the show’s opening.
Video

Video Hoverbike Flying Toward Reality

Another long-standing dream of many technological inventors is quickly approaching reality: U.S.- and British-based firms are cooperating in the development of an individual flying platform they call a hoverbike. They say it may revolutionize the concept of flying, including in the U.S. military. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video As Japan Expands Defense Role, Protests Follow

The Japanese government is moving forward with a controversial security bill that would authorize the military to fight abroad for the first time since World War II. Leaders say it is critical to defend against rising threats from China and North Korea. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Japan on the big changes ahead, and the opposition they are drawing.
Video

Video Replacing Poppies with Coffee in Myanmar

The remote mountains of Myanmar’s Shan state are home to the second-largest opium-producing region in the world. After a drop during the 2000s, production surged in the past eight years to feed an increasing demand for heroin in China. But farmers are now making less on the crop, and the U.N. is hoping many will make the switch to growing coffee. Daniel de Carteret reports for VOA from Taunggyi.

VOA Blogs