The ruling elite has pushed Pakistan into a severe crisis. They kept on borrowing money from International institutions with the assumption that their load will be repaid by the following governments. Each political party was thinking that let borrows more money and enjoy our tenure and let the next government pay back the loan. As a result, the external debt reaches to the stage, which is beyond our capacity to pay back. It is a real threat to the sovereignty of the country.
Almost all the political parties have practiced nepotism to various degrees and appointed their loyal irrespective of their competency, relevancy, honesty, and integrity. As long as they serve their political objectives and remain loyal to them, they can appoint them to key positions. After the similar practice by consecutive several governments, the bureaucracy became full of incompetent, greedy, corrupt, and politicized officials. Resulting in damage to institutions and their performance. Of course, there are few honest, competent, and merit-based officials, but, often cornered or undermined.
Understanding the matter better
Bureaucracy’s incompetence and politicization have become the major hindrance to good governance. Resulting in failure in multiple dimensions. Like economic growth, industrialization, job creation, policy formulation, and research-based solutions. Lack of planning resulted in a severe shortage of electricity, lack of Gas and the Industrial sector suffered leading to an increase in imports, for which dollars are essential. Pakistan’s exports are limited and much short of imports and the trade gap is huge. Foreign remittances also dropped suddenly creating a crisis-like situation in the foreign exchange reserves at the central treasury.
IMF’s conditions are like a double-edged sword on our neck and economic activities have faced serious challenges. Political instability has adversely impacted our nation. Global crisis like COVID, Ukraine Crisis, and the China-US tension has also negatively impacted Pakistan. Pakistan is facing internal as well as external challenges which are beyond our capacities.
The poverty index has increased, and the middle class has been almost pushed into poverty. No jobs for youth, and no economic opportunities for the masses, have created anxiety among them.
Youth are left with no option to explore opportunities abroad
Few nations are aware of this situation in Pakistan and have offered incentives to attract talented, skilled, and above-average youth. Some Western nations have relaxed immigration policies, and relaxed visa regimes to attract more youth from Pakistan.
As a result, more than 750,000 educated youth chose to seek employment overseas mainly because of uncertain economic and political situations amid a shrinking job opportunities in the country.
According to documents available to The Express Tribune, 765,000 people left Pakistan for abroad in 2022, nearly triple the 225,000 departures in 2021 and 288,000 emigrants in 2020. This year’s data also included 92,000 highly-educated people such as doctors, engineers, information technology experts, and accountants.
According to the Bureau of Emigration, an overwhelming majority of the emigrants went to Middle Eastern countries, mainly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Among the European destinations, the preferred choice of the Pakistanis appeared to be Romania.
“The effects of the deteriorating economic situation as well the political uncertainty have begun to affect the workforce of Pakistan,” a bureau official told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity because he was not officially authorized to speak with the media.
“Hundreds of thousands of young men, including highly educated people, who are worried about inflation, unemployment, and uncertain economic and political situation, are going abroad every year in search of employment,” the official added.
According to the official documents from the Bureau of Emigrants, this year 765,000 young people went abroad. The documents also showed that the number of emigrants had risen after registering a fall in two consecutive years, following 625,000 emigrations in 2019.
According to the documents, those who left the country in 2022, included more than 92,000 graduates, and 350,000 trained workers, and the same number of untrained laborers who went abroad. The documents also showed that 736,000 people went to the Gulf States.
The emigrating educated youth included 5,534 engineers, 18,000 associate electrical engineers, 2,500 doctors, 2,000 computer experts, 6,500 accountants, 2,600 agricultural experts, over 900 teachers, 12,000 computer operators, 1,600 nurses, and 21,517 technicians. The group of unskilled workers comprised 213,000 drivers.
According to the data, over 730,000 youth went to the Gulf States, and nearly 40,000 went to European and other Asian countries. The country-wise breakdown of the data showed 470,000 Pakistanis headed to Saudi Arabia for employment, 119,000 to UAE, 77,000 to Oman, 51,634 to Qatar, and 2,000 to Kuwait.
The way forward
Also, according to the official documents, 2,000 Pakistanis went to Iraq, 5,000 to Malaysia, 602 to China, 815 to Japan, and 136 to Turkey. The documents also revealed that 478 Pakistan went to Sudan in Africa in search of employment.
The highest number of people immigrating to a European country was 3,160 youth, going to Romania. It was followed by 2,500 to Great Britain, 677 to Spain, 566 to Germany, 497 to Greece, and 292 to Italy. The Bureau of Emigrants also registered 700 people going to the United States.
More than half of those leaving the country were from Punjab. The documents said 424,000 emigrants this year were from Punjab, 206,000 from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa plus 38,000 from newly-merged tribal districts, 54,000 from Sindh, 27,000 from Azad Kashmir, 7,000 from Baluchistan and 6,000 from Islamabad.
The prevailing situation in Pakistan is entered into a crisis stage and is scared of to even worst scenario. God forbid, if the country default, the ruling elite might escape from the country, as they have already safe assets abroad and they can survive in safe heavens without any problem. They have transferred their assets sufficient for the next generations too.
It is urged that the Government must make legislations that no one minister, MNA, MPAs, or Senator, either from the ruling party or opposition, can escape from Pakistan. Government servants either civil or armed forces should be not allowed to fly out of the country. There should be no amnesty to anyone, no one should be above law and must remain in Pakistan under any circumstances. The flow of capital, funds, or transactions must be monitored and regulated strictly. This should be applicable to all Pakistanis, even though they are having dual nationality or foreign passports.
Author: Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan, Founding Chair GSRRA, Sinologist (ex-Diplomat), Editor, Analyst, and Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization). (E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.