The youth vote | Pakistan Today

The youth vote

  • If the government hasn’t the jobs, who does?

Federal Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry has told the nation not to look to the government for jobs. He said so while addressing the second Deans’ International Conference on Engineering Education on Tuesday. He added emphasis to his statement by saying that the government planned to shut down 400 departments. His announcement that 10 million new jobs would be created in the private sector has shifted the entire burden of his party’s manifesto promise to the private sector. There is a certain optimism in what he said, for the IMF has further lowered its growth forecast for the next fiscal year. Already, sector after sector is reporting slowing production, and the loss of jobs. Mr Chaudhry’s revelation of the shutting of government departments indicates that the government is joining in the destruction of jobs that is going on.

His choice of venue was perhaps appropriate, for the government has always been perhaps the largest employers of engineering graduates. The government, like the private sector, is going to cut jobs as a cost-cutting exercise, one which has not been imposed by a need for profitability, but by the IMF. Mr Chaudhry might have been trying to muscle in on the government’s economic team by his analysis of the role of government in employment, when he said that the model of government employment was no longer valid, but he still did not explain how the government expected nation-building to be carried out. Perhaps more importantly, why the youth would continue to obtain education, if the job market could not absorb them?

Mr Chaudhry has exposed the government on a front it did not wish to engage. The PTI had obtained the support of the youth not just because young people were impressed by the 1992 World Cup victory, or because they had fallen for the sleight of hand which portrayed a sexagenarian as one of them, but because they expected the PTI to create enough jobs to absorb the youth bulge that has been hitting the job market for some years now, and will continue to do so now. If those young voters are told to look towards an anaemic private sector, they may not remain loyal in the next election, which is not that far away.