Most internal migration is due to family or personal issues, and only 20 per cent due to economic factors, agreed the participants of a seminar at the FC College Public Policy and Governance on Wednesday.
The seminar was about the state of migration in Pakistan and its relationship with issues of militancy, human rights and health facilities.
“Civil society must be sensitised about the situation which is emanating as a consequence of internal migration,” said Dr Saeed Shafqat, the FC College Centre for Public Policy and Governance director, who was chairing the seminar.
He said there was a need to ascertain whether migration was a social, cultural or economic phenomenon. He said internal migration often resulted naturally due to a growing population and lack of resources.
Participant also agreed that internal migration was commonly prevalent amongst the youth and almost half of the migrating population constituted women.
Sabiha Shaheen from Bargad, a non-governmental organisation working for youth development said that the youth primarily resorted to migration for pursuing education, as a consequence of which they were able to exercise greater social freedom, recreation and explore opportunities for employment. “It is this sense of freedom which encourages youth from rural areas to migrate to urban centres of the country”, she said.
Dr Ijaz Shafi Gilani, one of the founding members of Gallup Pakistan, said that over the years governments had developed different policies to address the growing population, which had resulted in varying perceptions of population as a liability or an asset.
He called for a ‘more realistic’ approach towards understanding the local regions in the country in order to move towards a solution for problems caused by internal migration.
Dr Rabbi Royan, the country representative for the United Nations Population Fund Pakistan, attributed internal migration to urbanisation, terming it an ‘inevitable’ phenomenon in every culture that needed to be facilitated instead of resisted.
The seminar concluded over a general consensus that ‘internal migration is an evolutionary phenomenon that cannot be stopped...and can always be converted from a liability to an asset.’
Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2011.
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