LAHORE A media report says that 10,825 Pakistanis applied for asylum in 44 countries last year. The number of such applicants stood at 11,287 in 2009.
The asylum seekers sent most of their applications to European countries, possibly because they saw a better chance of a positive response. According to a survey conducted by an Islamabad-based organization, 27 per cent of all Pakistanis want to leave the country and settle abroad. They have different choice destinations, ranging from the United States to Saudi Arabia.
The survey results seem credible as were the conclusions drawn after several exercises carried out by the Gallup Pakistan in the past. There are huge advertisements seen in newspapers quite frequently, according to which industrialists, businessmen, capitalists and professionals having certain amounts of money or experience in their respective fields can get nationalities of important industrialized states. Consultants are available to offer advice to reach their destinations in the shortest possible time. A large number of people have, in fact, already left the country. Cases of hundreds and thousands of others are being processed by some foreign embassies. The day the procedural formalities are completed, the applicants will say goodbye to the Islamic Republic. It is not significant whether people wanting to migrate to their dream destinations will succeed or not, or how long will it take them for the purpose. What is agonizing is the fact that people want to leave Pakistan on one pretext or the other. They just want to fly out of this country, no matter through fair or unfair means.
Normally, nobody wants to leave their motherland. The love of the country is so strong and is part of the innate nature that nobody would ever like to leave it. But if people still want to tread the course, forgetting all bonds with countrymen, relatives and friends, it clearly means something has gone seriously wrong somewhere.
The Quit Pakistan syndrome shows that people have lost all hopes about their future in this country. They are convinced that the present rulers and the future rulers, no matter who they are, cannot set the situation right. They dont trust the leaders have the capabilities to do what it takes to solve peoples problems. They also dont have faith they will ever deliver on their rosy promises made during their election campaigns or on other occasions.
And this should be a matter of serious concern for all political parties and their top leaders. They must bear in mind that those leaving the country would paint a very bad image of Pakistan in the 'host countries. And this will be a sort of damage which nobody will be able to repair by any means.
Political asylum is sought mainly for the fear of persecution.
Adherents of a particular community, declared non-Muslim some decades ago, are approaching various European countries on the pretext that in Pakistan they apprehend persecution because of their religious beliefs. A large number of followers of this community have already succeeded in getting asylums in countries of their choice.
Whatever the evidence in support of their claims, there is no truth in allegations that they face any persecution in Pakistan. If they practice their beliefs without hurting the sentiments of others, they face no threat whatsoever. The problem arises only when they claim to be Muslims which they are not.
Many followers of another minority community are also not feeling comfortable in Pakistan and want to migrate to countries where they have absolute freedom of leading their lives according to their wishes. Many important figures of this community are waiting for suitable opportunities to settle abroad.
In fact, Muslims have no problem of co-existence with other religious minorities. Muslims respect all prophets equally. It is part of their faith that all prophets deserve the same respect.
But a problem crops up when some minority member, ignoring the sentiment of Muslims makes some irresponsible remarks. Co-existence of people of Scripture should not be a problem at all provided they all live within limits.
As for the trend to leave Pakistan, there is no doubt that the prevailing situation has caused despondency among the people. They think the government has failed to discharge its obligations on all fronts. The law and order has gone out of the governments control. Killings are going in unabated. Sense of insecurity is all around. kidnappings for ransom have registered an upward trend. Joblessness is growing because industries are closing down due to power and gas shortages. Those without any source of livelihood are joining the criminal gangs.
Corruption is so deep-rooted that even the top bosses of the government and their families face serious charges.
Prices of even essential items have gone out of the reach of the common man.
Life in Pakistan has become very difficult. In fact, even dying is very difficult because of expenses involved in burial; and other rituals.
In such a situation people who cannot face hardships feel it convenient to leave Pakistan. The trend may come to an end with the improvement in the situation. Its the failure of the government and leaders, having nothing g to do with persecution or religious beliefs.