LAHORE - In a representative poll conducted by British Council, it has been revealed that only 15 per cent of the youth in Pakistan, who form half of the countrys population, believe the country is headed in the right direction, though overwhelmingly they have expressed strong feelings of love for their motherland. The report, titled, 'Next Generation Report on Pakistan has made startling revelations about how Pakistani youth think about themselves and different organs of the State. They seem to have developed the right kind of realisation about the challenges facing their generation, according to the report. In the survey, despite the fact that quarter of the sample were illiterate, there was an overwhelming number (92 per cent), who believe education is an important issue that needs to be addressed immediately. The report shows findings in three main areas; the opinions of the youth, the economics of their situation and their placement in terms of the demographic dividend. It is also a major review of the demographics, economics and opinions of the youth that make up our teeming country. The results are extremely interesting having implications for national policy. According to the study, only 10 per cent of the youth have faith in national or Local Government, the courts or police, thereby reflecting their discontent over State institutions. There is also a widespread current cynicism with democracy, as only a third of the young believe it is the best system for the country, while another third prefer Shariah, with 60 per cent having faith in military whereas 50 per cent in religious schools. Only 39 per cent voted in the last elections and half are not even on voters list. Most are extremely worried about what they see as the constant injustice in the country when it comes to the application of merit in awarding jobs, depressing them about their future. Security is another serious problem. Young people are frightened to leave their homes because of terrorism and crime. Young people understand the damage that terrorist violence has caused to Pakistans international reputation, but they want the world to understand that they are much more likely to be victims of violence than its perpetrators. They also get perturbed when their country is labelled as a terrorist nation. The study further divulges that young generation is civic minded: 32 per cent viewing that purpose of education is to create good citizens. About views on reasons for violence, 30 per cent attributed it to injustice; whereas 28 per cent thought it was because of poor economic conditions. A good deal of the respondents were found to be very critical of the international community (the US , UK and others) for their interference in the country and for demonizing the population. On the question of identity, according to the said report, three quarters see themselves as Muslims first, Pakistani second, compared to just 14 per cent who see themselves as primarily a citizen of Pakistan. The researchers believe that given their specific needs and demographic pattern, the youth need to be seen discretely. As per reports projections, half the citizens of the country are under- twenty and two thirds below thirty. 'In just 20 years there will be another 85 million young people added to the population (equivalent to five Karachi). There has been a 44 per cent increase in population in just 20 years (twice the world average), says the study, which also suggests that in order to keep pace with this, the economy needs to grow by 6 per cent every year and create 36 million new jobs in 10 years. According to findings of the report, 40 per cent of households in Pakistan have no electricity, while firewood, dung and crop residues account for over 80 per cent of energy use, even if the economy does grow at 6 per cent annually. The research commissioned shows that Pakistan is in a period of demographic dividend (a once in a lifetime opportunity for a nation where there is a favourable age structure of productive young to old). It has been calculated that one-third of the growth that the East Asian economies had in their boom years can be traced to this demographic structure, a period Pakistan is now in. However, the population dividend cannot just be accrued, it has to be earned. Investments in health and education are vitally necessary. This window of opportunity started in 1990, of which Pakistan has done nothing to address substantially in the past 20 years. The window closes in 2045, meaning Pakistan must act now if it is to change the demographic disaster into an economic and social dividend. If done, as soon as 2030 economic growth could increase by a fifth, the report suggests, and observes that dramatic increase in population of the youth will have major consequences for Pakistan given its current scarcity of resources that will only multiply if high rates of economic growth and job creation are not met. It also underlines the fact that Pakistan, which needs aggressive investment in health and education, has not taken advantage of the window of opportunity that favourable demographics has given it since 1990. It warns that if it does not act now it will lose a once in a lifetime opportunity to address its problems and gain advantage like the East Asian economies once did before them.