I’m in Lahore launching the third report from Pakistan’s Next Generation Task Force – I’m the Task Force’s director of research.
In the first report, we looked at the economic potential of young people in Pakistan and its ability to collect a demographic dividend as growing numbers of them enter the workforce.
In a second report, published in the run up to last year’s election, we explored the political implications of an electorate that is increasingly dominated by young voters, who are more likely to be educated, urban, and middle class than their parents.
Our third report focuses on how violence and conflict are shaping young lives. At its heart are 1,800 personal accounts which provide a stunning series of insights into a silent epidemic of political, criminal, domestic and sexual violence.
We demonstrate debilitating economic, social and physical damage, and a largely hidden problem – mental health impacts from post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, self-harm, and suicide.
The report calls for urgent action to give a voice to the survivors and victims of violence, respond to their mental and emotional health needs, create opportunities for young people to opt out of violence, and promote reconciliation at provincial and national levels.
It’s a tough report that often makes for uncomfortable reading, but I think it’s essential not only for those interested in Pakistan’s future, but for all those engaged in the broader debate of how to build peaceful and inclusive societies.
You can download the report here.