Information and Communication Technology (ICT): An antidote for anguish


Youth unemployment in urban and rural areas of Pakistan has been a matter of concern over the past decade. Data from micro tapes of Labor Force Survey shows that in urban areas youth unemployment rate was 13.72 during 2001-02 whereas in rural areas it remained 10.06 during the same year. In 2012-13 youth unemployment rate was 12.80 in urban areas and it was 7.55 in rural areas of Pakistan. This suggests that unemployment rates in urban areas have always remained more than its rural areas. Over the last decade percentage point change in unemployment rate in urban areas is -0.92 whereas in rural areas the percentage point change of rural area is -2.51.

Alternatively youth employment rates in rural areas of the country have always been greater as compared to the urban areas. During 2001-02 youth employment rates in urban areas of the country were 36.86 where as in rural areas it was 43.13 suggesting that in urban areas employment rate of youth is less as compared to rural area. In 2012-13 once again employment rate of youth in rural area is greater than in its urban area i.e. 35.46 and 47.17 in urban and rural areas respectively. The percentage point change of youth employment rates in urban and rural areas were -1.4 and 3.88 respectively.

Now the question arises, which is the sector that employs greater number of youth? Data from Labor Force Survey suggests that in urban areas services sector employs greater percentage of youth whereas in rural areas more employed youth is concentrated in agriculture sector. However percentage point change of employed youth in services sector has not been substantially increased, as it shows a percentage point change of -0.4 during 2001-13 in its urban areas. Whereas in rural areas percentage of employment youth in agriculture sector has been increased, suggesting a percent point change of 2.2 over the past decade. Percentage of employed youth in rural area in agriculture sector was 54.39 in 2001-2002 versus 56.59 during 2012-2013, however percentage of employed youth in urban youth in services sector was 64.0 in 2001-02 which decreased to 63.60 in 2012-13 respectively.

Manufacturing sector is not contributing enough to buttress youth employment opportunities as the percentage point change of employed youth in both urban and rural areas was -0.29 and -0.1 respectively during 2001-13. During 2001-2002, 32.09 percent of the employed youth in urban areas were engaged in manufacturing sector whereas it decreased to 31.80 during 2012-13. In a similar pattern employment rate of youth in rural areas in manufacturing sector was 11.93 percent in 2001-2002 which decreased to 11.83 during 2012-2013. The percentage point change of employed youth during 2001-13 in manufacturing sector was -0.29 and -0.01 in urban and rural areas respectively.

Services sector employs highest number of youth in urban areas of the country. However its growth has not been increased substantially. Therefore more youth must been engaged, trained and given proper skill. Based on statistics from the Labor Force Survey and Economic Survey, there is clear message for policy makers that reforms should be introduced in agriculture sector in rural areas of the country, and micro-finance loans should be provided to people in order to encourage entrepreneurship. Manufacturing sector is once again lagging behind both in rural and urban area. Energy sector should be rehabilitated in order to improve employment opportunities in manufacturing sector.

Due to lack of credit, investment and unstable economy youth is facing unending employment issues. This agony can also be addressed by technology based solutions which help us to introduce more employment opportunities online. Now people can reach the global labor market through information and communication technology (ICT) that has enabled independent tech savvy workers to connect to potential employers who value their skills. Technology fuels entrepreneurship and ICT has reduced the distances to make the global market more accessible than ever which has minimized the gap between labor supply and demand.

Private sector is doing a great job. I am highly inspired by the World Bank, USAID and the Karakorum Area Development Organization (KADO) who have introduced entrepreneurship portfolio among youth by empowering them through advanced technology. Public attempts to empower youth have been fairly wrong. After the 18th Constitution Amendment in 2010 the subject of youth has been devolved into provinces however the ministry of youth affairs in each province is not working efficiently and in Baluchistan it is not even operational. Various projects including youth laptop scheme, youth loan scheme have not been successful in achieving their goal because youth is not trained properly. Due to the lack of training and skill youth is unable to use the resources and according to some cases they ended up in selling out the laptops back to market in order to earn money, which otherwise can change the game in terms of creating sustainable opportunities. Thus a public-private partnership is essential in order to evolve more technology based opportunities for youth.

Online job market is quite large and is expanding at a higher pace. According to World Bank in August 2014, 5 million jobs were posted on which has a total worth of 5 billion dollars. More accurate data suggests that every second 15 jobs are created online, this reveals that how efficient and dynamic is the online labor market. Thus information and Communication Technology (ICT) is an antidote for anguish youth is facing in our country. Given this, there is dire need to create awareness and to train youth so that they can approach potential employers irrespective of the geographical boundaries.


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Industrial Trends of Youth Labor Participation Rates in Pakistan

Labour force increase has been increased in Pakistan as far as statistics are concerned. Data from the Labour Force Survey shows that youth labour force aged between 15-29 years in Pakistan was 17.39 million in 2001-2002 which increased to 23.75 million by the years 2012-2013 showing an increase of 6.36 million.

Among these 6.36 million youth, 3.35 million increased in Punjab, 2.03 million in Sindh, 0.71 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and 0.27 million in Balochistan.

However, the only sector in which overall youth employment rates are improving is the agriculture sector. An in depth analysis of employed youth by industry division in various regions from the micro data tapes of Labour Force survey of 2001-02 and 2012-13 shows that youth employment rates in the agriculture sector show a percentage point change of 0.68 and 2.2 in both urban and rural areas respectively.

On the other hand, the manufacturing sector and the services sector have registered a decline.

The manufacturing sector registered a change of -0.29 and -0.1 point in the urban and rural areas respectively, whereas the services sector recorded a decrease of -0.4 and -2.09 points. This suggests that both the manufacturing sector, as well as the services sector did not progress during the last decade in terms of providing decent employment opportunities.

In spite of the fact that there has been a tremendous increase in the youth population, regional employment rates across various industries have not increased satisfactory.

While a positive trend has been notices in the youth employment rate of rural areas, the urban areas are still on a decline. Employment rates among the rural youth have increased more than that of urban areas. For the last decade, employment rate among the youth in urban areas has decreased by 1.4 percentage points, whereas in the rural areas it increased by 3.88 percentage points.

Industrial segregation of the employed youth in both urban and rural areas has been studied in order to see which industry is progressing in respective regions of all provinces.

The survey further shows that over the last decade, employed youth in Punjab both in rural and urban areas was concentrated in the services sector, showing a percentage point change of 18.17 and 15.9 respectively. Manufacturing sector in the urban areas does not provide enough employment opportunities to youth as it has decreased by 15.05 percentage points, along with the rural Punjab in which it showed a decrease of 4.9 points. As far as agriculture sector is concerned it does not progress across the province, and more decrease is noticed in rural Punjab where it showed a percentage decrease of 13.27 points versus 0.85 in urban Punjab.

The only sector which is improving in both the urban and rural Sindh is the manufacturing sector, in which the percentage point change of employed youth is 1.9 and 10.18 respectively. Agriculture sector in rural Sindh shows a percentage point change of -14.4 where as in urban Sindh agriculture sector showed improvement (1.19 percentage points.) Services sector in the urban areas did not improve, showing a percentage change of -3.1, where as in rural areas of province employed youth showed a percentage point change of 4.23.

More youth in the rural areas of KP have been employed by the agriculture sector conversely urban youth have been employed in the manufacturing sector. Agriculture sector does not improve in the urban areas of the KP showing a percentage point change of -0.78 where as in rural areas it has shown an astonishing percentage change of 23.04. Manufacturing sector in the urban KP has shown a tremendous change of 14.32 percent whereas it shows a percentage point change of -0.84 in its rural areas. Unfortunately services sector did not show improvement in both the regions over the last decade showing a percentage point decrease of -13.55 and -22.13 of employed youth in urban and rural areas respectively.

Balochistan employs more of its youth in agriculture as compared to any other sector, showing a percentage point change of 3.32 and 6.22 in its urban and rural areas respectively, which is more than any other sector in the province. Following agriculture sector is manufacturing sector which has provided decent employment opportunities to the youth; it has improved over the last decade by 1.12 and 3.44 percentage points in the urban and rural areas respectively. Unfortunately this resources rich province does not show improvement in the services sectors showing a tremendous decrease in the employed youth of 4.44 and 9.66 percentage points in urban and rural areas respectively.


Services sector is exacting because it does not provide conspicuous employment opportunities except for Punjab and the rural Sindh. Skill development programmes should be introduced across all regions in the country for harnessing the potential of human capital, particularly the youth. Mere provision of education is not enough for employability, rather skill development centres must be efficiently operated to ensure the required skill.

Connecting youth, using web development 2.0 can be one of the viable options in order to handle the employment issues. Entrepreneurship must be encouraged among youth in order to improve employment opportunities.

The current energy crisis is the root-cause of the vicious cycle. All projects which are in abeyance should be completed at the earliest in order to ensure creating required level of jobs which would meet persistent inflow of the labour force. Provincial youth departments should take practical steps in order to ensure uniformity of the employment in both urban and rural areas of the respective provinces.

The article was first published here,

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Trend of Employed Youth in various industries in Pakistan

Image Source: ILO

Image Source: ILO

Youth is the energetic segment of the society which has ability to contribute to the economic growth at best. Data from the Labor Force Survey showed that the youth population aged between 15 to 29 years has been considerably increased, and hence the youth labor force. The statistics of the employed youth in various industries is as follows:

Although agriculture is considered to be the back bone of economy but mere 37.85% youth were employed in the agriculture industry during 2001-2002,  18.54% youth aged between 15-29 years are employed in manufacturing industry where as 43.61% youth are employed in services sector during the same year.

On the other hand statistics showed that during the year 2012-13, more of the youth have been involved in agriculture sector than before. 40.65% youth have been employed in agriculture industry. Manufacturing industry employees 17.95% youth whereas services employees 41.40% youth.

The percentage change of employed youth during 2001-02 and 2012-13 in the various industries showed that the employed youth have been increased in agriculture industry by 2.8%, in manufacturing it has been decreased by 0.59% where as the percentage change in services sector is decreased by 2.21%.

It shows that the services sector in Pakistan is not much contributing to provide employment opportunities for the youth. For that reason it is essential to flourish services sector. Technical and vocational trainings and skills development programs must be enhanced so that more of the youth can be employed keeping in view the worsening situation of the youth labor market. Additionally if the youth is getting more engaged in the agriculture sector, then modern technology as well as essential resources including credit, and training must be provided to the youth.

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Numbers matter

Pakistan’s young population has grown at a breathtaking pace in the past decade. According to Pakistan Labour Force Survey, the population of citizens aged 15-24 years increased from 28.14 million to 37.4 million during the period 2002-2013.

The gender disaggregation of the 37.4 million youth in 2012-13 shows that 19.35 million are males (51.67%) and 18.1 millions are female(48.33%).

In terms of labour force participation, 43.6 percent of the 37.4 million youth were economically active in 2012-13, while 56.4 percent were out of the labour force and about 8.1 percent are unemployed.

The education profile of the employed youth reveals that 36.74 percent of them do not have any formal education, whereas 55.15 percent studied below intermediate level. Astonishingly, this makes a total of 91.15 percent of the employed youth with education level below intermediate.

Youth with education above intermediate and up to Masters and M.Phil degrees ranging in subjects including engineering, medicine, agriculture, social sciences, natural sciences and all others, comprise of a mere 8.1 percent of the employed youth.

Employed Youth

The analysis of their employment status reveals that the majority of them   (around 57 percent) are working as unpaid family helpers followed by paid employees (42.68 percent), while only 0.23 percent of youth are independent employers.

 Among the 14.5 million employed youth, 43.41 percent are employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing sector, which is followed by the manufacturing sector at 18.2 percent and wholesale & retail trade sector employees 14.77 percent.

Real estate sector employs the lowest proportion of youth at just 0.08 percent of total youth employment.  The remaining 23.56 percent are employed in other sectors including, social work activities, information and communication, and financial and insurance companies.

An analysis of employed youth with technical or vocational training reveals that over 84 percent of the 14.5 million employed youth have not received any kind of vocational or technical training such as auto or engine mechanics, carpentry, tying, computer or tailoring etc.

Amongst the 15.7 percent employed youth with technical or vocational training, 9.44 percent have taken off-job training; whereas 6.2 percent of the youth have taken on-job training.

In total, 2.2 million youth have taken some form of vocational trainings. A majority of the youth have taken training in tailoring and sewing at 28 percent, while 14.3 percent youth choose to take driving trainings.  The remaining 2.2 million employed youth have received other forms of training, including repair of machineries, arm repairs, drillings, garment making and live stock etc.


The analysis of monthly earnings of paid employed youth by education level highlights an alarming situation in the youth labour market. It is observed that youth with no formal education have an average monthly earning of Rs. 7,016.2, while those with pre-primary level of education, on average earn Rs. 7,202 per month.  Young people with education above primary level and below middle level earn Rs. 7,472.8 per month, while employed youth with education achievement above middle but below matric earn Rs. 8,284.2.

Moving up to matric level, the average monthly earnings comes out at Rs. 8,448.5. This comparison illustrates that the difference between earnings of the youth with no formal education and those with matric mounts to just Rs. 1,432.4, highlighting the low returns of education up to the matriculation level.

Those with professional degrees earn, on average Rs. 13,359.5 per month, while for MA/MPhil degree holders, the mean earnings rises to Rs.18, 034.8.

The Unemployed

The unemployment rate of youth for the year 2012-13 is 10.54 percent. The educational profile of unemployed youth reveals that 17.07 percent have no formal education, while 39.21 percent have education up to middle level.

Another 21.47 percent of the unemployed youth have education up to matric but below intermediate level, and 11 percent have attained education up to intermediate but below degree level – while only 3.1 percent of unemployed youth have M.A/M.Sc, M.Phil/PhD degrees. A total of 0.19 million unemployed youth have received some form of technical/vocational training, whereas 1.5 million of their unemployed counterparts have never taken any vocational or technical training in life.  The high share of economically inactive youth is an alarming sign for future growth and development prospects of the country.  A substantial majority of the out of labour force youth is female, representing 78.9 percent of all inactive youth in 2012-13. Both the cases reveal that the impact of gender discrimination is higher in labour market in case of Pakistan.

This large mass of youth does not contribute to the economic prosperity of the country willingly. For this bulk of youth awareness is essential in order to minimize the cost which the society bears as a whole.

The above analysis of youth labour market prospects highlights a number of challenges; including majority of the youth being employed in low skill jobs, low educational attainment of employed youth, high unemployment among educated youth, and low earnings gap among educated and illiterate youth.  Most importantly almost half of the out of labour force youth is not enrolled in education.


The government’s response to the emerging issue is worth mentioning. After the 18th Constitutional Amendment in 2010, the subject of youth was devolved into provinces.

Department of youth affairs in each province is attempting to encourage improvement in youth’s skills and capacities. However, a focused and holistic approach is yet to be developed and implemented, which would directly impact the high rates of youth unemployment.

In some provinces like Baluchistan, the department of youth affairs is not operational yet, while in all other provinces these departments are focusing more on promotion of sports, arranging seminars, and promoting youth organizations; instead of taking any tangible measures.

On the other hand, the Prime Minister’s youth schemes including laptop schemes, skill development schemes, and loan schemes have not shown any positive effects on the current market situation of youth unemployment.

Additionally, government’s attempts as suggested in the annual plans include the promotion and establishment of the National Vocational and Technical Training Commissions, Youth Development Centers, (YDCs), e-learning centers for youth, youth internship programs, IT labs and Danish Schools do not seem to have made much of a difference on the ground level to address youth labour market vulnerabilities.

Traditional attempts have not been very successful in improving the market situation of youth labour force, with youth being exposed to worsening economic circumstances.

In order to adequately address youth labour market challenges, the government should take an evidence based approach, on the basis of which scarce public resources are allocated to the most efficient programs and projects having the highest impact.

The government should stick to the 4Cs rule: Commitment, Consistent, Continuity, and Courage. It should take holistic approach and practice long steps forward to ensure decent employment opportunities for youth.

As a result the dynamic population can contribute to the prosperity of economy and society with their skill and potential which would certainly assist to accomplish economic stability.

This article was published earlier at The News International.

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Will Pakistan be able to achieve its Target by 2015?

Education is one of the important things, which is essential for the development of the human capital.pakistan-school-girls-ogb-79792 MDG2 has aimed to endeavor the increase in the primary education and achieve universal primary education in the country by 2015. The right to education has also been one of the clauses of the article 25a of constitution of Pakistan. Moreover the 18th amendment has also provided the extensive devolution of functions to provincial governments including the subject of education.
Primary School Enrollment
Contrarily statistics show that Pakistan is not progressing according to the targets it has set in order to achieve its goal. Pakistan adopted MDG target of 100 percent for 2015, against its baseline of 46 percent in 1990/91. So far currently the net primary enrollment ratio is only 57%. While in 2001-2002 the net primary enrollment rate was 42%. However evidence from the last 12 years shows that Pakistan has not shown enough progress on achieving its goal. Primary school enrollment increased by 10 percent to 52 percent between 2001- 2002. In spite of the fact that number of primary schools grew more than 50000 in 2005, the enrollment rate has not been appreciable. Keeping this thing in mind, it is really hard to meet the MDG target on this indicator.
On the other hand the completion of 1 to 5 grades is now only 50%; however which was 57% during 2001-2002. The MDG target is 100 by 2015. One of the major objectives is to achieve a total literary of 88% in 2015; the target so far achieved is only 58%, which were 45 in 2001-02.
Disparity among Provinces
There has been significant disparity among provinces as well. Punjab has the highest literacy rates however Baluchistan has its lowest. The national average of literacy has been pulled up by Punjab. The progress of the individual provinces is below.
KPK in spite of the war against terror, performing well as compared to other provinces; it does not witness the decrease in literacy rate.
Due to the impact of floods and the displacement of indigenous population Sindh as shown decrease its enrollments since 2008/09 falling from 54% to 50% in 2011/2012.
AJ&K has show progress up to 2006, but later on from 2007 to 2011, its progress remained stagnant.
The net enrollment rates of the GB climbed up to 41% in 2011-2012. FATA’s NER at 31 percent in 2012 is the lowest in country.
Thus the above statistics show that progress in Pakistan is not significant in the educational sector, either the government needs to speed up its progress or they need to revise its target.


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A threat to the Minorities is a threat to the Ideology of Pakistan

Pakistan was established in the name of Islam, a state where freedom of choice and freedom of faith was to be practiced. Quaid-The Father of Nation made this country with his tiresome and strenuous efforts so that Muslims can spend a peaceful life, conversely what we witness today is a situation of hue and cry, life insecurity, rising unrest, killing in the name of religion, coupled with both social and economical backwardness.

The current threat to the Ismaili Muslims and the Kalash tribe (who are descendents from Alexander the Great) residing in Chitral Imagelocated in North Western Frontier Province in Pakistan is very alarming. It is upside down of the ideology of Pakistan. Moreover genocide is practiced openly in the country. After persistent rise of inhuman bloodshed in the tribal areas, atrocious killings of Shia in the Quetta, and the brutal killing of the Christians in Peshawar, now threats are being sent by TTP to the other Ismaili Muslims and the Kalash minority residing in Chitral.

In a 50 minutes long video released on Friday, 2 February, TTP threatens both the minorities openly, which reads, “By the grace of Allah, an increasing number of people from the Kalash tribe are embracing Islam and we want to make it clear to the Kalash tribe that they will be eliminated along with their protectors, the Western agents if they don’t embrace Islam,”  additionally “The Aga Khan Foundation is running 16 schools and 16 colleges and hostels where young men and women are given free education and brainwashed to keep them away from Islam,” the narrator says.

The incessant rise of TTP in Pakistan is a very big challenge, due to which unfortunately our motherland is known as “The Land of Terrorists”. The practices of TTP are against the basic principles of Islam, the teachings of Holy Prophet, and the ideology of the country. Islam is a religion of peace, brotherhood, and love. The threat to both the Ismaili Muslims and the Kalash Tribe of the valley is not only a threat to the minorities rather; it is a threat to ideology of Pakistan.

Failure of governance, weak public policy and malfunctioning of institutions is solely responsible for current crisis in the country.  For more than a decade we are witnessing escalation of Taliban militants, who started with a number of hundreds, reached thousands and still incessantly increasing in the country. What the government is waiting for? Additionally what pragmatic steps by the authorities we have witnessed so far in order to curb the rising challenge? Alternatively our leaders are offering them peace dialogue. Authorities have still enough time to take some serious steps to check this major issue prevailing in the country. Moreover the current step taken by Tassaduq Hussain is highly appreciated hope it will ensure security to both the minorities of the Chitral Valley. 

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The valley is Bleeding-In solidarity with the people of Kashmir

Historically Kashmir was ruled by Muslims from 14th to 18th century, until 1819 when

Kashmir is bleeding

Kashmir is bleeding

Ranjit Singh, the Sikh ruler of Punjab conquered it. Subsequently he acknowledged Gulab Singh, who entered his services as Raja of Jammu. Gulab Singh expanded his rule all over Kashmir except for the valley which he purchased from Britishers for a sum of 7.5 million rupees in 1846.

At the time of partition there were in total 560 princely states, which were to decide whether to join India or Pakistan. All of them decide except for Kashmir, Junagadh and Hyderabad. Both Junagadh and Hyderabad decide their accession after some time, but the accession of the Kashmir to any of dominions remained undecided.
Kashmir being one of the Muslim majority states, with 78% Muslims want to give its accession to Pakistan, however the ruler being a non Muslim want to be with India, however the matter remained undecided. In June 1947 Lord Mountbatten also went to Kashmir and advised maharajah to join India, who was followed by Ghandi, however it was suggested to hold a plebiscite in the state to decide its future.

Kashmir shares boundary of 902 miles with Pakistan, and only 317 miles with India. The three rivers from Kashmir directly flow into Pakistan. Moreover the two land roots which connect it with rest of the world enter into Kashmir through Rawalpindi and Sialkot. Keeping in view these prospects it is worthy for Kashmir to join Pakistan.

In accordance with these issues, two of the resolutions were passed on 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 but ultimately both failed to have satisfactory results.
The Kashmir issue was taken to UN in 1957, which later seems to do not take it seriously. Several of the presidents of the council visited to observe the issue, but finally they suggested it to be solved according to the will of Kashmir is. In short so far UN also failed to resolve the matter.

History reads, the tyrannical ruler of the Kashmir tried to strike out the massive population of Muslims from Kashmir with the help of the external forces. Since many of the personals were those who fought in the Second World War therefore they were able to face the tyrannical attitude of the ruler. The ruler was accused of the genocide of the Muslim population in the state. Many of the times Pakistani military entered to help their Muslim brothers, but the demilitarization of the forces also remained a long debated issue between the two dominions.

Up till now, hundred thousands of the lives have been lost, the valley is bleeding. No single day passes without violence, bomb blasts. This issue has fueled weapons and nuclear proliferation around the region. In addition to the wars of 1948, 1965 and 1971 between two countries Kashmir issue has been characterized as nuclear flash-point in the region.

Now the questions arises how long the valley will keep bleeding? How more mothers will lose their sons, brothers and husband? How long the people will morn lack of identity, and self determination? Will the UN take a stance to solve it? These are the few questions which need to be addressed.

In conclusion as soon as the issue gets solved the valley won’t be able to take a sigh of relief, it will keep bleeding between the uncertain circumstances. More over regional harmony, prosperity and the peace is not possible. Both the nations are required to think over the matter, and solve it as soon as possible. On this day, I wholeheartedly express my solidarity with the people of Kashmir. May it get identity and live long.

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