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Laiba Aziz

The writer is a researcher based in Peshawar.

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Hilal English

Investing in Future Generations: Pakistan Army

January 2024

This article explores the multifaceted approach of the Pakistan Army to youth development, with a specific focus on education, skills development, sports promotion, and inclusivity. It highlights the unwavering commitment of the army to cultivate a brighter future for the region.


The merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, once shrouded in the shadows of conflict and instability, are witnessing a burgeoning wave of transformation. In this endeavor, the Pakistan Army has emerged as a crucial facilitator, playing a pivotal role in empowering and uplifting the region's youth through a multifaceted and comprehensive approach to development. 
Education: Laying the Foundation for Success
At the heart of Pakistan Army's efforts lies a steadfast commitment to education. Recognizing its critical role in shaping young minds and driving sustainable development, Pakistan Army has undertaken numerous initiatives to provide the youth with access to quality education, catering to diverse needs and contexts. The state-of-the-art Parachinar Education Complex stands as a testament to this vision. Equipped with modern facilities encompassing various educational levels, from primary school to vocational training, the complex caters to the diverse needs of students in the Kurram District. This holistic approach ensures that students not only receive a strong academic foundation but also develop relevant skills and knowledge to pursue vocational careers or higher education.



The state-of-the-art Parachinar Education Complex stands as a testament to this vision. Equipped with modern facilities encompassing various educational levels, from primary school to vocational training, the complex caters to the diverse needs of students in the Kurram District.


Furthermore, initiatives like the mobile education and infotainment school services in Gulak Khel and Sher Khel villages are bridging the geographic gap to reach disadvantaged communities. These mobile units, equipped with educational resources and engaging activities, ensure that even the most remote areas are not left behind in the pursuit of knowledge. The opening of the Darra Adam Khel Library, brimming with a treasure trove of books and digital resources, further underscores the Army's dedication to fostering a culture of learning and literacy. This initiative not only provides access to information but also creates a vibrant community space where intellectual curiosity can flourish.
Skills Development: Empowering for Prosperity
Recognizing the importance of employability in the modern world, the Pakistan Army has actively promoted skills development programs tailored to equip the youth with the tools necessary to thrive in the competitive job market. The Computer Lab at Women's Degree College in Miran Shah, fully operational through the Army's efforts, empowers female students with digital literacy and opens doors to new opportunities in the digital economy. Similarly, the Construction Technology Training Institute program, sponsored by the security forces, provides youth from Bajaur, Mohmand, and Khyber with specialized training in mining, contributing to their professional prospects and fueling the region's economic development.
Digital Frontiers: Embracing the Technological Age
The Pakistan Army has also embraced the potential of digital literacy in empowering the youth. The Digital Skills Training Program, a collaborative effort with the provincial government, equips women in South Waziristan with the skills to earn online through freelancing and other digital avenues. This initiative fosters financial independence and entrepreneurial spirit, particularly among women, who have traditionally faced barriers to economic participation. Similarly, the DigiSkills Program, offering free courses in e-commerce management, graphic designing, and other in-demand skills, further equips the youth to navigate the digital landscape and contribute to the burgeoning tech sector, promoting economic diversification and innovation.
Sports as a Unifier: Fostering Inclusivity and Growth
The Pakistan Army recognizes the power of sports in promoting healthy competition, teamwork, and national pride. Tournaments like the Bajaur Cricket Tournament, the Champions Trophy Competitions in North Waziristan and numerous other sports activities provide platforms for young athletes to hone their skills, cultivate camaraderie, and contribute to a vibrant sporting culture. These initiatives not only nurture sporting talent but also foster a sense of unity and belonging among the youth, transcending tribal and regional divisions. Moreover, the organization of inclusive games and competitions for specially-abled individuals in Miran Shah showcases the Army's commitment to promoting inclusivity and breaking down barriers. These initiatives ensure that no individual is left behind in the pursuit of physical and mental well-being, fostering a more equitable and compassionate society.



The Digital Skills Training Program, a collaborative effort with the provincial government, equips women in South Waziristan with the skills to earn online through freelancing and other digital avenues. 


Beyond the Battlefield: A Commitment to Building a Brighter Future
The Pakistan Army's dedication to youth development in the merged districts goes beyond specific initiatives. It reflects a profound understanding of the crucial role that young people play in shaping the future of the region. By equipping them with education, skills, and opportunities, the Pakistan Army is fostering a generation empowered to drive progress and contribute to a brighter future for themselves and their communities. This commitment extends beyond traditional security concerns, recognizing the importance of social and economic development in achieving lasting stability and prosperity.
As Pakistan continues its journey towards sustainable development, the Pakistan Army's unwavering commitment to youth empowerment in the merged districts stands as a beacon of hope. By investing in the potential of its young generation, the Army is not only securing a stable and prosperous future for the region but also forging a path towards a more inclusive and equitable Pakistan. This multifaceted approach to youth development serves as a model for conflict-affected regions across the globe, demonstrating that sustainable peace and progress are inextricably linked to the empowerment of young people.


The Computer Lab at Women's Degree College in Miran Shah, fully operational through the Army's efforts, empowers female students with digital literacy and opens doors to new opportunities in the digital economy. Similarly, the Construction Technology Training Institute program, sponsored by the security forces, provides youth from Bajaur, Mohmand, and Khyber with specialized training in mining, contributing to their professional prospects and fueling the region's economic development.


A Legacy of Hope and Transformation
The Pakistan Army's efforts in the merged districts have not only resulted in tangible improvements in educational infrastructure, skills development, and sporting opportunities, but have also ignited a flame of hope and aspiration among the youth. By providing platforms for self-expression, engagement, and personal growth, the Army has fostered a sense of ownership and belonging among the young generation, empowering them to become active agents of change in their communities. This transformation transcends mere statistics and manifests in the stories of young individuals who have overcome challenges, excelled in their fields, and embraced a vision for a better future.
From the young women in South Waziristan who now earn a livelihood through freelancing, to the aspiring cricketers in Bajaur who dream of representing Pakistan on the international stage, and the specially-abled athletes in Miran Shah who shatter stereotypes with every victory, these stories epitomize the profound impact of the Army's dedication to youth development. They serve as a testament to the unwavering belief that even amidst adversity, the seeds of hope and progress can flourish, paving the way for a brighter tomorrow. As the journey of transformation continues in the merged districts, the Pakistan Army remains steadfast in its dedication to empowering the youth, upholding its legacy of service to the nation, and fostering a Pakistan where every individual has the opportunity to realize their full potential.


The writer is a researcher based in Peshawar.

 

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Laiba Aziz

The writer is a researcher based in Peshawar.

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