An increasingly growing youth population faces questions about an uncertain future, in a country ri­led with insecurity and despair. In the struggle for an education, employment, and eventually societal integration, the younger generation has a tough slog in a hostile environment these days in Pakistan. Neglected are recreational needs, ignoring the fact that the increasingly adverse environment of the country is not the best atmosphere to hone the potential of a disenchanted sect of society. It is important to realize that the coming generation will mould the future of the country. In their tolerance, and humility and generosity lies the salvation of the nation. And these same younger people are bound in and held hostage by the severity of the society that dictates their actions. If it is not an uncompromising social code, it is the lack of opportunities for recreation. Plays have become limited to stage shows in the public imagination, exhibitions and fairs condemned to memory due to security threats, music frowned upon and artistic performances considered practically heretic.

There is no denial of the fact that the situation in the country demands serious introspection and worry; but worry alone will not solve everything. A spirited younger population, with the energy and exhuberance to take on challenges and overcome them will not be moulded with a diet of talk shows and doomsday speeches. Attention needs to be given to encouraging creativity; the young generation also need to experience the cultural and traditional influences in art, music and theater, that helped make us who we are. To those living here, Pakistan is not defined by how many bombs exploded; for us, it is home, a place that arouses feelings of nostalgic happiness with every step. The real Pakistan, with its unpredictable cricket team, the musical greats, the artistic legends and overall beauty is what resonates in the mind. That is what we are proud of. The youth needs to be instilled with that pride too, before it is too late and in the cacophony of headlines and breaking news they lose the sense of belonging to a greater whole. They need to be provided with outlets to distract themselves from the depressing aspects of reality and be able to cultivate a healthy and creative mind. The recent Khayaal Literature Festival was a welcome example of a cultural activity organized in Lahore, a city known for its lively people, after many months. May there be many such opportunities and many other cities for remind us Pakistanis, that there is something other than bad news to experience in life.