The Root Causes Of Extremism And The Way Forward

The Root Causes Of Extremism And The Way Forward
Today, our country presents a very pathetic picture which makes a sensible person very disappointed. Despite the rapid changes made by other nations in the world, Pakistan is still embracing to orthodox way of thinking. This causes Pakistan to have been faced with numerous challenges like political intolerance, religious extremism, sectarianism and social unrest. There may be more than one factor behind these menace, however, in my opinion, lack of quality education and ignorance from lack of critical thinking are the major factors of this whole upheaval.

Though there are people who know all these challenges from their roots, due to their vested interests, nobody is ready to take the remedy.

According to the census of 2017, more than 60 percent of the population of Pakistan is made up of the youth. It is a huge portion of the total population which is more than enough for a nation to become a political and economic power. Unfortunately, due to low literacy rate and expensive and poor quality of education, these valuable assets (youth) of the nation are used by the influential, whether political or religious, very recklessly and made them a burden on the state.

The main cause of this whole mantra is ignorance from higher and quality education. According to the economic survey of Pakistan (2021-22), only 1.90 million students are enrolled in universities which is almost 1/4th of the total young population. There is no single university in Pakistan which is amongst the top 100 universities in the world. Similarly, only 2-3 percent of our annual budget is allocated to education. Owing to these situations of our education system, a major portion of our youth population is immature and have no major skills to earn livelihood.

The second major cause of this misguidance of our youth is lack of critical thinking. By definition, critical thinking means to make an objective analysis of an issue by studying all the available facts and figures, create different alternatives, then select the best one to make a better decision. Basically, critical thinking asks questions like what, why, how, when, and where. It is a Socratic way of learning to first know about the issue, then investigate all possible reasons, and in the last, present remedy measures to solve the problems or learn a topic.

Critical thinking is to go into detail of a matter step by step by asking different questions to reach the root of an issue. Again it is unfortunate to say that the majority of our youth are unaware of critical thinking and they do not have the capability to analyse a thing or person objectively without any biases.

This ignorance from education and critical thinking has made our youth dependent on others.

Everyone uses them according to his/her personal benefit instead of making them self-reliant and well educated. Therefore, our major part of the population is a ball of game in the hand of the elites and uses it according to their personal nefarious motives. This way of treating our youth has changed the whole fabric of our society and instead of progress, they become extremist whether politically or religiously. That’s why our youth has been misguided by these selfish people.

To cure these illnesses in our society, the government has to correct its priorities. There is no power in the world who has made progress without quality education, research and innovation. Therefore, it is the need of the hour to increase the education budget up to 10 to 15 percent. In the same way, it is necessary to improve our education system by hiring competent and well educated personnel in our educational institutions, upheld meritocracy and avoid nepotism and favouritism.

Secondly, it is also important to cultivate the seeds of critical thinking in our students by encouraging productive debates and teaching them how to analyse situations objectively so that they are not misguided by different impersonators and emancipate them from the mental enslavement.

In this way, Pakistan can come out from political polarisation, religious extremism and social unrest. Similarly, Pakistan can achieve its true independence by imparting good skills and attitudes and make our youth self-reliant instead of leaving them in the mercy of these culprits.