'Frustrated' educated 'strivers' walking the sinister way of 'jihad' in Pak

Posted By: Staff
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New York, Feb.28 (ANI): With the population of unemployed youth growing rapidly and a sluggish economy with very few new job opportunities, young educated men from Pakistan's middle and lower middle class are turning towards militancy which has made the extremist network in the country more sophisticated and deadly.

Scores of 'educated strivers' are falling into the net of the Al-Qaeda and other proscribed extremist networks, which in turn uses their aimless ambition and anger at Pakistan's alliance with the United States, The New York Times reports.

Under the influence of Al Qaeda, their energies have been redirected and turned inward, against Pakistan's own government and people.

Top security officials are also concerned about this latest trend of learned young men taking to militancy which has turned things worse from bad.

"These are guys who use Google Maps to plan their attacks. Their training is better than our national police academy," the newspaper quoted a senior Punjab Province police official, as saying.

The issue needs to be given utmost importance as Pakistan is in the midst of a youth bulge, with more than a million people a year pouring into the job market and the economy not growing fast enough to absorb them.

Although only a small fraction walk the sinister way of militancy, severe job shortage in the troubled country has exacerbated the risk.

According to analysts, poor education system at the primary level has had a huge effect on the mindset of young teenagers in the country. While there was an explosion of modern 'western' things in bigger cities of the country, young men coming to these mega towns could not absorb the sudden change.

"Traffic jams, fancy restaurants, uncovered women. For young people from small towns, unfamiliar with city life, the atmosphere can arouse a rigid defensiveness," said Mugheesuddin Sheikh, a dean at the University of the Punjab in Lahore.

"The student is tempted, but he doesn't understand it because he wasn't educated," said He's been deprived of things like this," Sheikh added.

To ease the adjustment, young people join student groups, which, like powerful inner-city gangs, help them navigate life how to use a bank, which mosque to pray in but also offer protection.

Amir Rana, Director of the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies, said it is the lower middle class in Pakistan that is most vulnerable to 'radicalization'.

"They are recruited aggressively by Islamic student groups in public universities, which are attended almost exclusively by lower and middle-class youth. They're politically conscious, but it's not mature. They have big problems, but when they try to solve them, they get confused," Rana explained. (ANI)

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