A recent report on emigration trends points towards the level of despair in this country. The research presented at Karachi University says nearly 49% of the youth in Karachi would leave the country if given the opportunity and that 90% of the youth do not see any opportunities for themselves in the city. Karachi, undoubtedly, offers more opportunities than any other part of Pakistan, and yet, this is the level of hopelessness. With such figures for the financial capital of Pakistan, it can only be imagined what the statistics would look like in Balochistan, K-P and Fata or rural areas in general all over Pakistan. Karachi is the seventh biggest mega city in the world but does not have a functional transport system, proper emergency services or healthcare or even water in its pipes. Since years, the cream of the city, its most accomplished doctors and lawyers have been forced to leave because of the spate of targeted killings and sectarian violence. The mass killings of lawyers in Quetta followed by the attack in Mardan will only add to the level of insecurity and desire to escape. In the past six years, nearly 3.7 million people have emigrated from Pakistan of whom 1 million were said to have emigrated in 2015 alone. At present, nearly 4% of Pakistanis or 7 million people are living abroad who have an important contribution to the economy of the country, but also, more significantly, to its brain drain.
Pakistan has fast reduced to a country where there is only space for one religion, one belief system and in many cases, one political ideology. People are so desperate that they are willing to move to any country, even countries that are not among the developed and offer few economic opportunities to Pakistanis. This is the case with the migration of Hindus to India or of Christians and Ahmadis to Thailand and Sri Lanka. These are Pakistan’s real issues — that on any given day a large majority of people will leave all their lives behind for prospects in any part of the world, only to escape the place they call home.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th, 2016.
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