The Army Chief of Pakistan warns that educated youth is the key target of Islamic State IS. The army chief visited ISPR directorate on Thursday, and during his interaction with the interns he said, “The educated youth is the prime target of the IS and its affiliates, be extra cautious…” The army chief is not wrong in his assessment of the approaches that ISIS and other terror organisations are using for recruitment purposes. However, it can be said that Qamar Bajwa had failed in explaining why did the youth fall so easily for the propaganda of such organisations.

His words are nothing more than a piece of advice, though a timely and needed one. As only recently, a few Pakistani students have joined the organisation above-mentioned. But until and unless we do not find the reasons behind youth’s willingness to accede to these savage militant groups, no piece of advice to the youth will do the trick. There are many explanations to understand the roots of growing intolerance among the youth.

First, socioeconomic aspects are the factors that explain the swelling numbers of fighters in such organisations. According to research study conducted by PEW, “Unemployment motivates the youth, especially young unskilled and semiskilled labourers, to join the Jihad. For them, going on Jihad was alternative employment.” It is the bitter reality. Irrefutable evidence can be produced in support of the proposition made above. For instance, most of the suicide bombings that have been carried so far, involved teenagers. Most of them belonged to low-income families.

Second, the political interference of the West in the affairs of foreign countries, especially Muslim lands have radicalised the youth without distinction of borders. ISIS didn’t emerge out of thin air. It was the US invasion of Iraq and later on its interference in Syria that has helped the organisation to grow. Now in the times where everyone carries technology in one's pockets, the job of such organisations is already half done.

Third, to secure some narrow interests, unfortunately enough, our state had also played with the idea of supporting militant organisations from time to time. In the past, Pakistani state allowed different ideologues to spread jihadi ideology without realising the consequences.

Nonetheless, the words of the army chief do carry importance. But until the factors mentioned above are ignored, we will see many Noreens joining IS and other militant outfits.