LAHORE - Despite being victim of numerous forms of troubles especially unemployment, obscurities of social inequality, and traumatic spate of terrorism, the young generation, almost 45 per cent of the total population, displays strength of mind and willpower to move forward and contribute for the well-being of the terror-hit Pakistan. They say that the militants must be identified as the “devilish criminals” since they shamelessly attack all segments of society like devouring beasts thirsty of human blood. Hence, the government, judiciary, and civil society should own the ongoing war on terror by showing political will to eliminate this menace from the country, they emphasized. During brief interviews many young people, mostly college or university students, attending the Punjab Youth Festival 2014 in Lahore rejected the Taliban philosophy saying they were exhausted of watching bloodshed on the Pakistani streets. Despite Taliban threats, thousands of young men are participating in the annual festival, which began on December 23 with neighborhood-and village-level games, held at union council and Tehsil level in the third phase. This festival, which entered district-level phase last week, is said to have created a history in terms of the large number of participants. The third day of the Punjab Youth Festival district-level games saw 7,332 participants in action. Throughout the province more than 170,000 youngsters have participated in various sports activities.Population estimates for the year 2009 show that there are about 40.32 million children aged 5-14 years and about 36 million youth population aged 15-24 years who, together, account for about 45 percent of total population. No doubt anti-Pakistan elements are employing all possible schemes to exploit the youth by entrapping them into their mischievous sprites to undertake violent acts of terrorism, yet majority of Pakistani youth is fully determined to retaliate against those who are involved in wicked acts of terrorism besides bringing intimidating insult to the nation. The episodes of bomb blasts and flashes of fire causing bloodshed and mayhem at public places, residences, educational institutions, recreational facilities, hospitals, markets, parks and business centers are too painful and difficult to forget. Touching memories of dear ones who lost their lives in terrorist attacks have left behind constant signs of grief and remorse for the youth in Pakistan. Hence, they eagerly urge the government, security forces, judiciary, and civil society to collectively fight the terrorists to bring peace in Pakistan. “The wicked phenomenon of war on terror has pierced through our social fiber and is destroying our country. Its impact is palpably hurting our hearts and souls, as it kills innocent people irrespective of their age, gender, caste and creed, while destroying valuable property,” said Muhammad Afzaal, a 17-year-old boy who participated in 200-mtere race in the competition. Interaction with Pakistani youth at the festival reveals that Pakistani youths are fully convinced that the militants are the most serious threat to country and its population. They assertively suggested that all convicted terrorists (awarded death penalty by the court of law) should be executed without any delay. “This will send a strong message to the terrorists. Judiciary must ensure speedy disposal of all cases pertaining to terrorism,” said Ali Akbar, a lecturer at a public college in Lahore. The government must work on the option of hanging those who have been awarded death penalty by the courts,” he insisted. Arslan Khan, who won arm-wrestling at Tehsil level, said that the terrorists are exploiting the compelling vulnerabilities of innocent youth who end up in terrorist camps where they are indoctrinated to undertake suicide missions. Eighteen-year-old Yasir Ali, whose team won the tape-ball cricket match at union council level, said that media must educate the masses especially the scrupulous youth to reject self-indulgence temptations as facilitated by terrorists. According to Prof Javed Ali, the terrorists must be named as described by Shakespeare, “Sons of Hell” who seriously lack sense of compassion and deserve no sympathy. “We reject the terrorists and their fake claims of religious leaning. They are actually criminal thieves disguised under the forged jackets of Islam,” he added. Bodybuilding contestant Babar Khan says that the entire society including political leaders, teachers, students, govt functionaries, and intellectuals must condemn terrorists deploring their criminal activities. “The government should employ an all encompassing strategy to eliminate the menace of terrorism. It’s time for the political leadership to show sense of responsibility and lead from the front,” he says. According to Akram Nazir, a science teacher at a government-run high school, it would not be incorrect to assert that the menace of terrorism in Pakistan has spread like a civic morbidity analogous to contagious disease such as Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) which is extremely feeble and elusively fragile to withstand environmental exposures. “Thus HCV moves through concealed routes of blood and secreted material to reach the sensitive organs like liver and brain with a view to ensure its survival and consolidate its position to destroy the entire building blocks of human body,” he said. The local support enables the foreign-sponsored terrorists to sell their fractured philosophy and criminal designs. Without the support of local sympathisers, the terrorists would become “fish out of water” and their misguided thoughts leading to criminal acts of violence also die a natural death.This news was published in The Nation newspaper. Read complete newspaper of 02-Feb-2014 here.