TODAY, the pillars of Pakistan, its youth can hardly walk with their chins up. They are virtually caught up in a catch-22 situation. It looks as if a number of evils have all descended to wreak havoc on our next generation. Plainly speaking, the young folks do not have the most essential things they need. In a situation where unemployment is rampant to say the least, the scourge of terrorism has hit the psyche of the young boys and girls in a definitive way. This lack of opportunity has in essence snatched from them their right to shape the country's future. Seeing so much of this mess in their home and not being able to clean it worries them the most. A research titled 'Pakistan- The Next Generation', funded by the British Council, tries to examine where does the youth stand today, what are its needs and what role it could play in nation building; a subject that has been constantly ignored to the detriment of the country's well-being. The study also provides a peep into the mindset of the youth. According to the findings, a large number of Pakistani youth think that the country is headed in the wrong direction. Likewise, on the role of the international community, they are deeply concerned. The words of a respondent that the world community must stop "threatening Pakistanis like a bunch of hooligans," also shows all that is wrong with our senseless alignment with the US which needs to be immediately fixed. Security has turned out to be another major concern as a large chunk of the nation's youth is frightened to leave their homes because of terrorism. The most important thing is that this mass of youth now constitutes a major part of the country's total population. The study posits that Pakistan would be needing 36 million jobs in the next decade to be able to accommodate its young population. This is of critical importance because the failure of the state to convert this force into a useful engine of growth could result in a disaster of immense proportions because a state is nothing without its citizens. The research cannot be written off as a commonplace study of the country's youth. It deals with the identity crisis prevailing among the nation's young lot. It should set alarm bells ringing in the concerned government circles to galvanise into action. Clearly, there should be no delay to rescue the youth out of their dilemma. It's a crying shame that successive government's and political parties have done nothing except forming 'youth wings' to attain petty political ends. The youth must now be provided with the feeling that they own their country in the true sense of the term and that they can shape it the way they like. Given their resilience, there is every reason to believe that they would manoeuvre the country out of the mess. The study's major point is also a message of hope for the nation: that depsite all their misgivings the majority of Pakistani youth have their faith in the country and want to remain here.