Pakistani students wave national flags at the mausoleum of the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah during a ceremony to mark the country’s Independence Day in Karachi. AFP Photo
Ahead of crucial elections marking the first democratic transition in Pakistan's history, more than 90% of the youth believe the country is heading in the wrong direction while nearly 40% think Shariah or Islamic law would be the best political system, a survey said.
These are among the key findings of a new survey by the British Council that focussed on youths between 18 and 29 years, who are expected to play an important role in the May 11 general election.
The 'Next Generation Goes to the Ballot Box' report, published today, indicated deep pessimism among the youth, many of whom will be voting for the first time.
While pessimism was a worrying trend in the last 'Pakistan: The Next Generation' report, it is "significantly worse" in the new report, said columnist Fasi Zaka, a member of the task force behind the survey.
"In 2007, 50% of the youth thought Pakistan was heading in the wrong direction, today that figure is 94 percent," Zaka told PTI.
A majority of respondents (38%) said Islamic Shariah would be the best political system for Pakistan while 32% backed military rule and only 29% favoured democracy, according to the survey that covered over 5,200 youths across the country.
Those who backed Islamic law said it was the best system for "promoting moral behaviour", eradicating corruption, ensuring access to electricity and water, and providing people with healthcare and education.
64% of male youths described themselves as conservative or religious while the figure for females was 75%.