According to the Bureau of Immigration and Overseas Employment, last year more than 832,000 Pakistanis left the country and went to foreign countries in search of better employment.
According to experts, this is an expression of frustration of the youth especially with the deteriorating political and economic situation of Pakistan, where they do not see their future secure. A glimpse of youth’s frustration with the country’s situation is also seen in the recent survey of Pakistan Institute of Development Economics. According to this survey, 37 percent of Pakistanis want to leave the country and move abroad, including 62 percent of young men between the ages of 15 and 24.
After all, what are the reasons for emigration from the country on such a large scale? What will be its impact on the economy of the country and families and how can better employment opportunities be created in the country? DW Urdu has tried to find out from migrant youth and socio-economic experts.
‘Almost 70 lakh youth are unemployed’
Former finance minister Dr. Hafeez Pasha says that the main reason for such large scale migration is “unemployment”. Talking to DW Urdu, he said, “Pakistan is among the top countries in the world in terms of manpower, but there is no room in the local market to accommodate such a large manpower.” The situation is that about 7 million youths are unemployed. The main reason is that young people are increasingly moving to countries where there are better job opportunities.
Commenting on this situation, Political Science teacher and Mazdoor Kisan Party General Secretary Dr. Taimur Rehman tells DW Urdu, “The quality of life is improving all over the world, but unfortunately, the political and economic atmosphere of our country is unbearable.” It is getting worse. In such a situation, young people are suffering from severe insecurity regarding employment, why will they stay in such a country, where they do not see their future secure”.
Inflation and marginal salaries
Figures from the Bureau of Immigration and Overseas Employment show that thousands of highly-educated doctors, engineers and technologists were among those who left the country last year.
Dr. Ayesha is among the 2464 doctors who left Pakistan last year. Speaking to DW Urdu, he said, “I got my degree in dermatology from a private university, which cost around Rs 1 crore. I realized how difficult it was for my parents to meet my fees. I wanted to give them and myself a peaceful life after completing my medical. But when I entered the market, I faced the worst depression.”
“Our entire district had an official set of dermatology,” she explains. Desperate, I turned to private clinics. It was difficult to get a job there, the salary of which was 50 thousand. I calculated that if I continue to do this job for the next 18 years, then I will go and collect the money for the fees, which I have already spent. I decided to go out immediately. I have been in America for four months. I’m very happy. My salary here is three times more.”
Waqar Shirazi, an expert in economic affairs, senior bureaucrat and professor of economics at the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics, says, “The value of the rupee has fallen badly, which has seriously affected the purchasing power.” “Workers are available in abundance in Pakistan, so they are exploited,” he says. If there is no inflation, even a lower salary may prove sufficient. On the other hand, overseas compensation is in dollars, euros or dirhams, which automatically multiplies it”.
What are the effects on the country’s economy?
Dr. Hafeez Pasha says, “Pakistan has a large youth workforce, so this migration is not a concern. When they send money to their families, it not only benefits their own families but also the country’s economy.” Waqar Shirazi says, “When we have nothing else to export, let alone youth workers. But foreign remittances cannot in any way bring lasting economic stability.”
How can better employment opportunities be created in Pakistan?
Dr. Hafeez Pasha says, “If agriculture and industry sectors are not focused, the employment problem in Pakistan will become more serious.” Despite being an agricultural country, even wheat has to be imported. If agriculture is developed on modern scientific lines, not only the economy will be stable but also employment opportunities will be opened directly for the youth. Similarly, setting up a factory gives employment to thousands of people.”
Waqar Shirazi says, “Our domestic policies and energy crises have not provided a favorable environment in which to encourage the industrial sector. The downside was that Seth started investing money in real estate business, limiting the circulation of money to a few hands and creating no employment opportunities. We have to shift from real estate to the industrial sector so that the benefits reach as many people as possible.”
Economic stability is not possible in a bad political environment
“Young people have energy and dreams, they want to do something,” says Amar Ali Jan, a well-known progressive social thinker. If they don’t find a favorable environment in their own country, then they choose a country where better opportunities are available.”
Speaking to DW Urdu, he further said, “Better employment opportunities are not possible without a strong economy and a strong economy is not possible without a stable political environment.” We have to improve the political culture so that the energies of decision-makers are focused on a strong economy rather than on manipulative and ephemeral interests. This will provide better employment opportunities to the youth, they will get out of the feeling of insecurity and move towards new heights of building and development of the country”.
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