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Youth wants Immigration; It is not Brain Drain but Alienation

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By Muhammad Bilawal Kamran

The population indicators suggest that it is a youth bulge in Pakistan. Currently, 64 per cent of the Pakistani population is under 30 years, while 29 per cent belongs to the 15 to 29 years age bracket. For statistical purposes, the United Nations defines ‘youth’ as persons aged between 15 and 24. However, this definition is not universal. As the experience of being young can vary substantially across the world, between countries and regions, we consider ‘youth’ as a flexible category. As such, context is always an essential guide in UNESCO’s definition of youth. Hence, youth is transitioning from childhood to adulthood to realize individual, physical and economic compulsions. It is the beginning of an independent life.

Given the necessary skills and opportunities to reach their potential, young people can be a driving force for supporting the development and contributing to peace and security. Youth-led organizations need to be encouraged and empowered to participate in translating the into local, national and regional policy and implementation goals. They play a significant role in the implementation, monitoring and review of policies and in holding governments accountable. With political commitment and adequate resources, young people have the potential to make the most effective transformation of the world into a better place for all. The youth of Pakistan may be the driving force in developing the social, cultural, economic and technological aspects of the national life.

Roles for youth in the process of nation building

  1. Critical thinkers: Part of being young involves making sense of personal experiences and asking questions about the world around you. Youth can identify and challenge existing power structures and barriers to change and expose contradictions and biases.
  2. Change-makers: Young people also have the power to act and mobilize others. Youth activism is on the rise worldwide, bolstered by broader connectivity and access to social media.
  3. Innovators: In addition to bringing fresh perspectives, young people often have direct knowledge of and insights into issues that are not accessible to adults. Youth best understand their problems and can offer new ideas and alternative solutions.
  4. Communicators: Outside the international development sector, few people know that world leaders have reached a historic, far-reaching agreement to improve people’s lives. Young people can be partners in communicating the development agenda to their peers and communities at the local level, as well as across countries and regions.
  5. Leaders: When young people are empowered with the knowledge of their rights and equipped with leadership skills, they can drive change in their communities and countries. Youth-led organizations and networks, in particular, should be supported and strengthened because they contribute to developing civic leadership skills among young people, especially marginalized youth.​

Then, the youth of Pakistan is disenchanted and disillusioned for manifold reasons. Economic deprivation and exploitation, coupled with unjust economic opportunities, are the primary reason for their alienation—no business, entrepreneurship, jobs and other economic opportunities available for the youth. Public sector recruitment is rife with nepotism and corruption. The recruitment through FPSC and PPSC may be transparent; however, other modes are highly corrupt. There is no growth in the economy. Therefore, no jobs and businesses are available. It is an economy of the elite and cartels. Youth professionals, technicians, experts and skilled youth of all professions are exploited in jobs and business. Even doctors, engineers, scientists, and experts are not finding economic opportunities in Pakistan. Hence, professionals, commons, generalists, technicians, and sundry prefer to settle abroad. 

What is brain drain? Brain drain is a slang term that indicates a substantial emigration or migration of individuals. A brain drain can result from turmoil within a nation, favourable professional opportunities in other countries, or a desire to seek a higher standard of living. In addition to occurring geographically, brain drain may also occur at the organizational or industrial levels when workers perceive better pay, benefits, or upward mobility within another company or industry. Pakistan has been facing the challenge of brain drain since its inception. Some of the main reasons why people choose to leave Pakistan include:

  • Economic opportunities, including new and better jobs, higher standards of living, access to housing and health care
  • Political strife and instability
  • Persecution based on religion, gender, or sexuality
  • it also includes terrorism, security, biases and denial of human rights

Pakistan faced the scrouge of terrorism, and it exacerbated the brain drain. The skilled and professional human resources fled to settle abroad. Subsequent extremism also alienated the youth of Pakistan to flee the country. Irrespective of the political argument, however, the political campaign of the former prime minister of Pakistan IK during the last decade created hope among the youth of Pakistan for better standards of national life. Hence, the imagination to live up to the ideals of political change is almost gone. Then, the political drama during the last few months has virtually alienated the youth of Pakistan from the state structures of Pakistan. The youth of Pakistan does not trust the institutions of the legislature, executive, judiciary, military, bureaucracy and all other socio-religious institutions.

Pakistan is a challenging society for women. Not only the male but also the female youth of Pakistan want to settle abroad for multiple reasons. Most educated female youth believe there are severe challenges to their privacy and rights in Pakistan. They are under pressure that they can neither dress nor pursue an independent way of life according to their aesthetical taste. They can not even follow their choices of life in Pakistan. There are so many social, cultural and economic taboos associated with them. Hence, it is the primary reason most young females want to settle abroad.

The brain drain is grown to alienation now. The new phenomenon is the denial of political and democratic rights. The educated youth believes in democratic principles of representation and the rule of law. The absence of the rule of law has despaired them. They do not trust the institutions of government. They believe it is an elite capture of the state, society, and all the institutions behind the elite. The institutions are more potent than the will of the people. Political alienation is the cruellest form of exploitation, making the youth rebel against the system. The state and society must understand that it is not a brain drain but political and social alienation. It can be catastrophic if not rehabilitated. The youth is alienated and does not believe in any institution.

The writer is a young doctor.

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