Social Factors behind Extremist Behavior among Youngsters

“Numerous professors in universities in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi show increased concern for radical and extremist thought that incite violence; a phenomenon previously associated with poverty, lack of education and/or limited to madrasahs. Literature on latent radicalization in college campuses across Pakistan helps to provide context to current trends; one need look no further than the brutal lynching of Mashal Khan at the Abdul Wali Khan University. The misuse of blasphemy laws, often for revenge or personal gain, can anger young students enough to resort to murder.”

Rise in extremism by Arsla Jawaid January 02, 2018 DAWN

This question is hard to answer in one straight forward sentence since there are a wide range of factors that propel Pakistani youth towards the path of violent extremism.Interestingly, these influences, while operating in isolation are not strong enough to radicalize the young people. However, it is a combination of these factors that serves as a lethal cocktail that fuels militant outfits and their ugly agendas.

The so-called “push factors” are responsible for driving young people towards extremism. These primarily comprise of issues that cause dissatisfaction of the youth with their environment, including the society and the political economy that they live in and its impact on their psychological well-being.

On the other hand the “pull factors” consist of those conditions that motivate the youth to join a radical organization because it somehow seems to address the young person’s dissatisfaction with his current state.

We took a survey among the students of Bahria University and try to analyze their state of mind about the emerging problems within youth

Around 30 students from the age between 18 to 22 years, the Students had immense knowledge on the raising issues and considered Extremism on the top on the list. The lack of knowledge and tolerance to listening is lacking in our new generation which eventually leads to further problems. However drug addiction also plays a major role in emerging extremism. It is a silent killer to human life. It creates hormonal changes within human body, leads to frustration that results mostly in extremist activities.

We inquired from students, that which aspect or element of life triggers the Extremist and Berber approach the most. Here are the results:

We concluded that the students blamed their society the most because that’s what they had learnt from their environment. Families in most Pakistani cultures are often characterized by a strong, authoritarian and disciplinarian patriarch. This coupled with stringent traditions, often pushes young minds towards rebellion as they want a taste of the “free” life that satellite TV and the internet has informed them of.

The fact that young people are often entirely excluded from the decision-making process only adds to their feeling of powerlessness, thereby making them vulnerable to join a “movement” that offers them importance. This small issue from daily lives of the youngster has aroused the extremist behavior among them.

Around 13 out of 30 students themselves had been victim of the extremism however 19 out of 30 had witnessed such cases. Who would want to live in a country where their rights are been executed and where there is no one to properly talk about them. In our culture, usually it’s prohibited to talk about matters in which ego and self-esteem of others is involved, the more one goes to the urban areas the more this rule gets strict.

Facing such issues on daily basis, Majority of the students had the courage to openly say that they will live in Pakistan after their graduation. Leaving the place will only resolve their issues and by continuing this habit, there will be no one to solve the issues. It is the duty of the youngsters themselves to treat these small issues one by one because they are the Future.

What needs to be done?

Inadequate education and understanding of religion when mixed with the various factors listed above has resulted in the loss of countless young Pakistanis to violent extremism in the last decade.

Accordingly, for Pakistan to become peaceful again, it is imperative that necessary measures are taken by the government and the society to empower the youth, provide them with alternate avenues to vent their frustrations and address the societal conflicts that leave these young people disgruntled.

Moreover, it is equally important to start development projects in the areas that have survived conflict. This will not only offer wide spread employment to the local youth but will also indirectly serve to spike the literacy rate in the long run.

Unless serious steps are taken to educate the naïve young minds and to address their grievances, long-lasting peace is unlikely to become a tangible reality.


1) Factors Pushing Youth towards Violent Extremism in Pakistan

2) Rise in extremism


This Article is written by Abdul Kareem, Zargham Anwar, Zuljalal Ali & Ahmed Gohar. Students of BS Media Studies. under supervision of Ms. Aasia Ashfaq, Lecturer of Anthropology at Bahria University.




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Student of Bahria University

Research Based articles responsibility is taken by the students of Universities, Colleges & Schools in order to show their support to the student welfare organisation The Talib Times. Students...



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