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Pakistan’s brain drain turns alarming as educated queue up to leave

What's in store for Pakistan?

As Pakistan battles multiple crises –economic, political and security—all in one go, citizens are getting desperate to leave the country. 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.

Even as Pakistan is expected to go to polls this year, there is little hope that the situation will improve.

“It is a dangerous trend as the country will be brain dead and this will lead to a serious problem but the citizens have little hope in the country’s future..nothing has changed even after so many years,” an analyst said. “There is a sense of despair and hopelessness – whether or not Pakistan manages to get the bailout package from IMF (International Monetary Fund),” he said.

Pakistan is currently in talks with the IMF to resume the $7 billion loan package to avert a debt default.

Many pundits have opined that for the South Asian nation, the biggest challenge is survival.

A report by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) last year 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. What is worse is the fact that the desire to leave the country was more intense among the educated.

“It’s getting difficult to determine which one among Pakistan’s myriad crises will finally engulf the country. Inflation is hitting historic highs, unemployment is pushing young men into the ranks of extremists, the military is torn between its loyalty to the state and the terrorists it helped create, and leading politicians are engaged in a battle for mutual destruction. The reality is that Pakistan is fighting for its survival,” Foreign Policy magazine said.

Also read: How Pakistan’s economic crisis has derailed Haj pilgrimage this year