By Madiha Sattar
Surveys conducted by Razzak Abro, Irshad Akhtar, Qazi Asif, Asif Akhtar, Muhammad Badar Alam, Ali Hazrat Bacha, Bashir Baghi, Hassnain Ghayoor, Ali Hassan, Hameedullah Khan, Mohammad Hussain Khan, Muqaddam Khan, Shahnawaz Khan, Sikandar Bakhtiar Khoso, Nasir Rahim, Verda Adil Shah and Shahzada Zulfiqar
If you arranged all 176 million Pakistanis in a line according to age, the person in the middle of the queue would be about 21 years old. This is fairly remarkable, given that the average citizen of this country lives to be 64 — there are as many Pakistanis in the first two decades of their existence as there are in the next four. So while the world’s current geopolitical focus means the country as a whole has been polled on its political opinions time and time again by international and domestic surveyors, what is not really known is how the country’s massive pool of young people – the majority of its future voters, consumers, producers, parents and civil society – will shape Pakistan.
Is this country becoming more conservative as it grows older? Is our future electorate politically engaged enough to make meaningful voting decisions? How has the recent spate of terrorism affected their lives? Will they demand a secular state or a religious one? Will they be able to contribute to the economy? Have they found role models among our major public figures? Are they likely to change family structures, sexual mores and the nature of social interaction between the sexes? What keeps them up at night? And, ultimately, how do they feel about being citizens of the complicated and challenged country they live in today?