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

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid