Brain Drain in Pakistan

There are many disincentive factors from security to the economy that force young people to leave their homelands.

The people of Pakistan, especially the youth, want to live a peaceful and gracious life in their own country but peace and tranquility in this country is far from being available even common people are deprived of basic facilities. On the one hand, there is rising inflation and unemployment while on the other hand, individual economic activities are halted due to hour-long outages of electricity and gas. In such dire circumstances, many people are willing to leave the country in search of employment to better their families’ lives along with making their own lives easier. For this, they want to obtain visas and permits abroad by any means or tactic possible. If they are unable to cross the border legally, they intend to do so illegally, risking their lives by lying and hanging on the bottoms of containers, boats and trucks while paying huge sums of money.

Unfortunately, Pakistani youth are being forced to risk their lives and property to leave the country unwillingly but the ruling elite of this country does not care nor take any steps to remedy it. According to Bureau of Immigration statistics, a total of 862,625 Pakistanis have sought employment in more than 50 countries across the globe as of December 2023, ranking first among the 10 most visited countries is Saudi Arabia with 426,951 (50%), second is the United Arab Emirates with 229,894 (27%), the third place is Oman at 60,046 (7%), Qatar in fourth place with 55,112 (6%) and followed by Malaysia with 20,905 (2.5%), sixth is the United Kingdom with 16,449 (2%) people, Bahrain with 13,345 (1.5 %), Romania ranked eight with 4,947 (0.6%) then Iraq ranked ninth with 4,307 (0.5%) and Greece ranked tenth with 2,914 (0.35%) people have proceeded for employment.

Seemingly, the majority of people have left due to compulsions rather than pleasure. If they had better job opportunities and life facilities in their country, they would never have left the country or faced difficulties abroad. It is a common impression that one becomes settled as soon as one travels overseas, whereas the facts are quite the opposite, abroad is an all-grind hassle that one can understand only by proceeding abroad. The grass is greener on the other side but most of the Pakistanis who traverse for work get a good idea of this as soon as they reach abroad. On the one hand, people have to deal with the envy of their community while also performing tasks that are not in line with their demeanor or what they would ever consider doing. Yet, there is an aspect of satisfaction in this that the remuneration received as a result of employment is somehow satisfactory. In this way, the lives of the families are made easier by the sacrifice of those who proceed abroad.

There are many disincentive factors from security to the economy that force young people to leave their homelands. Such security concerns have increased recently with the rise in terrorism and political instability. While overseas Pakistanis initially face homelessness, culture shocks, difficulties in finding decent jobs and low wages in foreign countries during their expatriation. According to some experts, the exodus of skilled workers from Pakistan is a major concern because it will deplete the country’s human capital and cause brain drain. However, some argue that the remittances sent by these workers can help to boost the country’s economy.

The destiny of the people of this country certainly is to make compromises. Those who live in this country sacrifice by staying here and those who travel abroad compromise by staying there. Pakistanis want to break free from this cycle of sacrifice but they are not offered an escape route. The deteriorating economic situation in Pakistan is making everyone’s lives worse. Promises are made to the people but every time all the claims are left behind. Without increasing the salaries, the public is being made a scapegoat and forced to make sacrifices to pay more taxes. Those making these demands are not willing to give up even a moment of their time to protect public interest.

People are fed up with the previously tested leadership; they want them out and for that they are waiting for the elections which will be held on February 8; however, the elections are still a long way off, and politicians have begun to make false promises. Once again, promises of bread and sustenance are being made, dreams of prosperity are being shown and claims are being made to change people’s lives. However, nothing is going to change in this country, nor does anything seem to change after the upcoming elections. The way the situation is traversing due to the stubbornness to try the tested leadership, it seems that the queue of those who go for work abroad will get longer and longer.

Attiya Munawer

The writer is an activist and environmentalist. She covers human rights and politicoenvironmental issues. She tweets @ Attiya Munawer and can be reached at attia butt121@

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