The entire United Nations family in Pakistan came together on December 16 to condemn the barbaric attack on the school in Peshawar which killed scores of innocent children. We join our voices to those of the country in solidarity with the victims. We extend our prayers to those families who have lost loved ones and pledged to continue working for a more tolerant, educated, democratic, egalitarian and prosperous Pakistan.
The attack unfortunately adds to the sense of crisis in Pakistan. It also highlights the need for a cohesive strategy to address head on the opportunities and challenges faced by young people in the country. Not only were the victims mostly children and young people but the attackers were also young men. National and provincial policies on youth should place greater emphasis on education, employment and engagement in society. The country needs urgent action on violence prevention, barriers to skills development and jobs, gender divides and wider aspirations of youth must take place in an inclusive environment. Unfortunately, for Pakistan’s youth the realization of these aspirations is complicated by numerous crises the country endured in 2014.
The year was marked by the launch of the military operation in FATA leading to the displacement of thousands of people, floods in AJK and Punjab, and a pervasive political confrontation. These events have increased the vulnerability of millions of Pakistanis. The internally displaced people (IDP) caseload alone now stands at over 300,000 families. As in many crisis situations, the worst affected and most vulnerable groups are women and children, representing more than 70 percent of the displaced people. Together with our development partners, we are working together with the Government to address the challenges faced by the IDPs and the hosting communities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).