Muhammad Ali and Reshma Ali
A large number of people, specially youth, from Gilgit – Baltistan shift to other parts of the country, in search of a better life, due to limited opportunities of job and education in the region. Karachi has been one of the best options for the youth because of its wide range of job options, flexible timings and/or cheap living.
It has been observed that historically, Karachi has played a significant role in providing opportunities for the young people of GB to develop themselves as the leaders of the area and have contributed towards the development of the area. Even today, thousands of young people from GB opt for Karachi to continue their education and/or earn their living. Hence, a considerable number of people from GB live in Karachi, which is considered to be higher in number after GB itself.
Although Karachi offers comparatively multiple options for the young people in terms of education and jobs such as different shifts are available for education as well as job. However, despite the opportunities the young people of GB face various challenges while living in this mega and cosmopolitan city.
Shifting to Karachi and adjusting to its lifestyle is not an easy job. When people move to Karachi from GB, they finds themselves in a different environment. The process of socialization in an urban context- with new language, culture and norms- is, a challenging task. This process needs proper guidance and support. However, majority of the students do not get the support or guidance and so they either return to their home or face tremendous difficulties to adjust themselves in the new context.
Few students from GB live with their families in Karachi but majority live in groups in sub standard residence. Finding an accommodation in proper apartments or family living residences is a difficult job as people without family are not allowed to live. Due to financial constrains the youth prefer to live in overcrowded flats. In addition, there are no facilities of hostel for students in Karachi in educational institutions. Hence, they are forced to live in areas not suitable for living.
Working along with studies is a good opportunity for the youth as they gain experience. In the the developed world, young people are expected to work professionally once they complete their high schools. However at times our youth give much priority to their work than their studies. As a result their academic performance is affected which takes their attention away from their actual goal of getting better education. After years of doing daily wages jobs they remain without any relevant skills and capabilities. Eventually, they return to their home without proper education and skills. This causes stress and frustration for them as well as for their family.
Furthermore, most of the students who come to Karachi are not clear about their future studies or career. Even after coming to Karachi, they face lack of guidance and career counseling. Hence, they try to get their education without proper aims and planning. This results in frustration when they cannot enter in a relevant career after completing their education. Moreover, due to the vacuum of guidance and counseling, sometime youth get indulged in illegal activities or crimes.
Hence, the youth of GB face various challenges in Karachi; therefore, there is a dire need to reflect seriously on the challenges of our future assets and to take actions to response their issues. In this regards few suggestions are forwarded here.
There are several village/region/district/community-based student or youth organizations from GB in Karachi. However, few of them work actively but most of them are non-active as well as ineffective. They lack the motivation, capacity, resource and finance. In this regard a youth development organization is needed that can provide a platform for the the existed small organizations to create network with each other and learn from each other. This youth organization should have the capacity to provide support to the youth in terms of career guidance and planning, life skills, personal development, leadership development and so on. In addition, it should coordinate and create links with different other youth development organizations in order to create opportunities to the youth of GB to realize their potential and develop skills.
Secondly, GB Government has announced to establish a Youth Development Center in Gilgit. The Center aims to enable the youth to develop life skills, get civic education, and enhance opportunity for sport and art. Keeping in view the large number of youth in Karachi it is suggested that a branch of the center can be opened in Karachi. This Center can be proved itself as an umbrella institution for the youth of GB. This intuition can work to enhance the lives of the youth as well as engage them in positive activity to actualize their potential and capacities.
In short, our youth are breathing in a comparative a complex world. Indeed, they need support in many ways to prepare themselves to keep pace with the the fast changing and competitive world. Karachi being a cosmopolitan city life is getting complex and challenging. In this environment, our youth need a strong support system and networking that can enable them in different ways such as socially, psychologically, morally and economically.
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