KARACHI: The young people from violence-hit areas need counselling to help them stay positive, said additional DIG Salman Syed Mohammad at a workshop on Friday. “Life moves on with optimism, and that belief itself helps bring about a positive outcome.”
Non-profit Shehri and the Centre for Peace and Development Initiatives held an interactive session about the effects of violence and conflict on young people and how they can be involved in coming up with solutions.
Young people from these areas were invited to discuss their experiences and give suggestions to promote peace. Participants from Baldia Town and Katti Pahari shared that they were scared to go to school and college.
They are in constant fear that a bullet might come and hit them.
The group was brought to the event by Abdul Waheed Khan of Bright Education Society. They consisted of a dozen people, aged between 20 to 25 - three of them were Urdu-speaking, one was Punjabi speaking and the rest from Pakhtun homes.
All of them said that when firing breaks out in the area, it is impossible for them to get to college or university. Transport thins out during times of violence as it is, but even now, when there is relative calm, rickshaws and buses are scarce as the neighbourhood has developed a reputation. What if there is an emergency in the night, they asked rhetorically.
They also spoke of how the ethno-linguistic divides have hit their academics. The good teachers are Urdu-speaking, some said, lamenting though, that they can’t teach in Pakhtun localities. Equal education should be provided to everyone, Khan said. “The youth should come forward and raise their voice to terminate violence from the city.”
For the young people, the biggest question was why they were being punished even though they were not affiliated with any political party.
Over the years, a fear has settled into their parents’ hearts, as a result of which these young people have to constantly keep them informed of where they are at any given point in the day. While most young people in Karachi face this to some extent, the leash is tighter for the Katti Pahari and Baldia youth.
An exercise was conducted at the end of the workshop. The participants were divided into three groups - two of young people and one of the experts.
Each group had to explain their problems to the others and persuade the other group of their views. The choice of topics seemed to veer off the issue of violence: plagiarism, media ethics, quality education and general insecurity among others.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 24th, 2011.
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