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More and more Pakistanis keen to leave country as political, economic uncertainties rise

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan vows to continue the long march

The uncertainty in Pakistan’s political and economic landscape is pushing more and more of citizens to relocate. The number of Pakistanis wishing to leave the country will rise further as the country’s economy continues to battle amid rising threat of a possible sovereign default, analysts fear.

“There is nothing left in the country…uncertainties are increasing and people are now giving up hope with the economic condition of the country remaining the same,” a Pakistani taxi driver who has relocated to Dubai said.

A recent report by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) revealed that 37 per cent of the citizens want to leave the country. In urban Pakistan, the figure is 40 per cent compared to 36 per cent in the rural region. The desire to leave the country was more intense among the educated.

The PIDE report showed that among the four provinces of the country, the desire to leave was the highest in Balochistan with 42 per cent showing keenness to relocate, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Sindh. Though the desire to leave the country is lowest in Punjab, the figure is not very satisfactory. As many as 35.8 per cent from Punjab said they are willing to leave the country

Among the three territories, people in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) have the highest proportion – 44 per cent showing keenness to leave Pakistan followed by Gilgit Baltistan GB, the study showed.

Pakistan’s Bureau of Emigration Overseas Employment (BEOE) data last year revealed that more than 286,640 workers had registered for overseas employment. This was a 27.6 per cent rise over the previous year. The most preferred destinations remain the Gulf countries.

As Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan took the Shehbaz Sharif government and the Army head on following an attack on him, things could get worse, analysts fear.

Not only has the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Islam top boss vowed to continue with the long march, he alleged that the attack on him was premeditated, directly blaming Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a top official from the Pakistan’s intelligence agency (ISI).

Business Recorder in a report said that while the World Bank has projected a GDP growth rate of 2 per cent for 2022-23 for the South Asian nation the long march may cost the country “around 0.5 to 1 percent of GDP which needless to add the country can ill afford.”

The country is slated to go for general elections next year.

“An attack on Imran Khan, a loosely held coalition government, which is already under pressure and now the Army coming under question will make things worse, at least in the near future,” an analyst told India Narrative.

Also read: Imran Khan – ‘the enfant terrible’ pushes Pakistan to brink, martial law not ruled out