English News


Our education system cannot compete with India’s, says Pakistan ex-minister

Miftah Ismail, Pakistan's former Finance Minister

Pakistan’s former Finance Minister Miftah Ismail has said that the spendings on education is neither sufficient nor is the amount being judiciously.

“India made five institutes of technology within 10 years of its independence,” he recently said at an event. “Pakistan’s education system cannot compete with India’s,” he said, adding that the country’s leadership has failed the system. The fact that most educated citizens are desperately looking to leave the country has only made things worse. “There are no jobs, no fresh investments are taking place..it is only natural for the citizens to aggressively look for opportunities outside the country,” a Pakistani citizen, who lives outside the country told India Narrative.

“And now with this situation which is somewhat unprecedented with the country facing multiple challenges at the same time, the desperation among the people is even more,” he said.

In 2022, more than 800,000 citizens left the country. Data released by the Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment last month showed that more than 127,000 citizens have already left the country just in the first two months –January and February this year. The actual number is higher as the bureau does not track those who relocate for purposes other than employment. The urge to leave the country is significantly higher among the educated.

Meanwhile Ismail also said that Pakistan is in a debt trap.

The country’s foreign exchange reserves may further fall in the coming months even if China decides to provide some support in the form of loan rollover. The country’s current foreign exchange reserves on May 12 fell to $4.31 billion, a drop of $72 million on a weekly basis. On May 5, the central bank held $4.38 billion. Pakistan’s fate hangs in balance as it will have to repay $3.7 billion in the next two months.

Despite intense negotiations Pakistan and the International Monetary Fund have failed to reach at an agreement. “When you have to borrow money to pay interest, you’re in a debt trap,” Ismail said, adding that Islamabad is yet to assess the true extent of the economic emergency since the country has always been in a crisis situation.

“I blame myself too. Our leadership is the worst in the world,” he said.

Ismail, who was instrumental in reviving the IMF bailout package last year was unceremoniously removed and replaced by PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s close aide Ishaq Dar.

Also read: Pakistan’s political turmoil will further impact inflow of foreign loans