‘48.7% youth in Karachi want to leave the country’

Published: September 23, 2016

KARACHI: Around 48.7% of young people in Karachi want to leave the country, said Ammad Zafar of Karachi University public administration department on Thursday.

Their reasons include unemployment, insecurity, economic problems and lack of social support and career opportunities, he explained.

Zafar was presenting his research paper, titled ‘Determination of Youth Emigration’, on the third and final day of the international conference, titled ‘Managing Megacities 2016’, at HEJ Auditorium in KU, which was organised by the varsity’s public administration department in collaboration with Shar School of Public Policy and Government, George Mason University.

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Endorsing the facts pointed out in Zafar’s research, an MPhil scholar of the public administration department, Salman Khatani, said that 90% of young people do not see any opportunities for them in Karachi. Around 41% people are uncertain about the future of the city due to the political instability and are, therefore, not inclined to get involved in civic engagement, he added.

Khatani was presenting his research paper on the socio-economic growth in Karachi. Sharing demographics of the city, he said that 191.71 million was the population of Pakistan in 2015. Around 30% of the population was between 15 and 29 years of age.

With an estimated population of over 22 million, Karachi is ranked as the 7th largest megacity in the world and its youth population, with a median age of 21 years, now exceeds 7 million, he pointed out.

Emigration trends

Pointing towards the increasing trend in migration, Zafar said that in the last six years, more than 3.7 million people have migrated from Pakistan to seek employment in other countries, particularly in the Middle East. Approximately 1 million people migrated from Pakistan in 2015, he said.

This high rate of outward migration from Pakistan is creating ‘brain drain’ conditions, especially in the health and education sectors, where there is an increasing shortage of skilled workforce, he added.

Giving numbers, he said that about 4% of the Pakistani population, approximately 7 million people, currently lives abroad. About 48% of Pakistani emigrants live in the Middle East, 28% in Europe, 19% in the United States and 5% elsewhere, he claimed.

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According to a survey by Gallup Pakistan, two-thirds of the population of Pakistan wishes to leave the country, he added.

Strengthening ties

The chief guest at the event, US consul-general in Karachi, Grace W Shelton, remarked that the United States will continue to support the educational institutions of Pakistan through university partnership programmes.

Professors and scholars from KU and George Mason University have done a great job in order to bridge the gap between the people of both the countries, she said. I received a warm welcome in Pakistan and it is just like my second home, she added.

The conference concluded with appreciating the role of KU’s vice-chancellor, Prof Dr Muhammad Qaiser, for organising the event. “This partnership will give fruitful academic benefits to both the universities and this is [indeed] just a beginning of a great academic journey,” he said.

Karachi is the biggest city of Pakistan and it has many problems related to infrastructure, population, water crisis and criminal activities, said Prof Qaiser, adding that the recommendations presented at the conference will help in solving the problems of the citizens. He ensured that the policy recommendations of the conference will be sent to the relevant state authorities for implementation.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd, 2016.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Rehmat Ali
    Sep 23, 2016 - 10:30AM

    Due lack of rule of law and security concerns internal and external.Only law and order enforcing sectors are expanding such as Defence associated departments Army Navy,Airforce personals ,Police men, Security guards ( security companies also prefer ex army and police men so this sector having limitations).Pakistan security is more threaten by internal corroupt elements than externals. We expanded only defense sector and shrinked all others.Need to develop sectors such as education,health,industrial manufacturing sectors.
    Our only China China policy brought this level and we are isolated from rest of the world. We every time sing song China China and follow China. Why we no follow death penalty on Corruption charges as practiced in China?Recommend

  • Khalid
    Sep 23, 2016 - 12:17PM

    No one asked my openion.Recommend

  • Malik Saab
    Sep 23, 2016 - 1:24PM

    I want to interview the remaining 51.3 percent who want to stay in Pakistan. In my view our 95 percent youth want to leave this country. This country is not for the middle class. Lack of opportunity and inequality is too much here.
    This country is only for the rich and powerful. If you belong from the bureaucratic, army officer|s family, politician or a business family then this country is a paradise for you. The rest just want to leave. Recommend

  • M. Emad
    Sep 23, 2016 - 2:43PM

    54% Citizens left Pakistan in 1971. Recommend

  • all
    Sep 23, 2016 - 3:00PM

    new country was created for saying only for muslims and see this is what the result.


  • Bhavesh
    Sep 23, 2016 - 6:46PM

    Now talkative movie is over. Next movie of action. Wait & watchRecommend

  • turbo
    Sep 23, 2016 - 7:09PM

    I wonder where would European nations stand today if their people chose to leave their countries instead of developing their homeland after the destruction of World War II…Recommend

  • wiserneighbour
    Sep 23, 2016 - 8:13PM

    @Malik Saab:
    The whole concept of Pakistan was rooted in that idea.People who jumped to that bandwagon is realising very late.The country created for elite rich Muslims and Army officers.The rest are their servants.Recommend

  • ajkhan
    Sep 23, 2016 - 8:31PM

    India will not exist in next twenty year due to poor quality of life like hepatitis and Aids which they are unaware. Their major spending will be on health by unhealthy people.they must look into health programsRecommend

  • Np
    Sep 24, 2016 - 1:59AM

    India indeed has health challenges and is ranked 143rd country. Guess what is Pakistani rank? 149.Recommend

  • Lahori
    Sep 24, 2016 - 7:32AM

    I don’t know about Karachi since I’ve never visited there,but I live in Lahore and its a very progressive city.Recommend

  • karachhite
    Sep 24, 2016 - 11:45AM

    lol i just graduated from university here and i want to leave the country now. i had a job here, well paid too, but theres more to life than a good job. i hate the lack of freedom and safety here. i hate being a girl here who cant leave her house without asking a million people for permission. I hate the lack of security here (been robbed 3 times). i hate not being able to just walk outside in whatever im wearing. i hate how pepople here are so afraid of each other here, no one even smiles at each other. there is 0% interaction between classes in public.

    i have complete freedom in dubai (ive lived there 3 years) never been robbed, never been assauslted, i can wear whatever i want, i can talk to random people on the streets for directions or anyting without being afraid of them, and im gonna go back the moment i get my work visa. Toodles. Recommend

  • Oommen
    Sep 24, 2016 - 2:43PM

    CPEC and China will change everything :-)
    After-all Pakistan is located at Earth’s most strategic position.Recommend

  • Mamnoon
    Sep 24, 2016 - 3:24PM

    I don’t know about Karachi since I’ve never visited there,but I live in Lahore and its a very progressive city.

    @Lahori ,obviously the seed money came from the earnings of Karachi i.e Lahore has developed at the cost of Karachi .Recommend

  • Seemaab
    Sep 25, 2016 - 12:11AM

    This debate of racism and Qoumiat Parasti has killed us! We have forgot that a person who has recited Kalma-e-Tayyaba is our brother.. His Security is our security… His sanctity is our sanctity his honour is our honour and I would add his progress is our progress…Recommend

  • sterry
    Sep 25, 2016 - 1:13AM

    @Mamnoon: The difference also is that people in Lahore and other Pakistani cities have a real sense of belonging and loyalty to their city. Lahore, or any other city has not been developed at the expense of Karachi but because people there in Lahore are very pro Lahore and want the city to develop. In Karachi most people come from other places or even other countries. Karachi has mostly people who migrated from other places so such people are only too happy to migrate again for better opportunity. The Afghan refugees living there or the Indian migrants may not feel the same sense of Karachi being home as some of the native Sindhis. It would be interesting to know how many native Sindhis would ever wish to leave their home city. Recommend

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