The issue of emigration from Pakistan has gained significant traction as more than 450,000 Pakistanis have departed the country in pursuit of improved job prospects overseas during the first half of 2023. Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar ul Haq Kakar addressed this pressing concern, emphasising the dual nature of this trend as both a challenge and an opportunity for the nation.

Speaking to an audience at the University of Harvard’s interactive session in Islamabad, Prime Minister Kakar acknowledged the historic pattern of individuals leaving Pakistan in search of better livelihoods abroad. He highlighted the positive contributions that these expatriates make to the country through remittances, underscoring the integral role they play in supporting their families and contributing to Pakistan’s economy.

Amid discussions about Pakistan’s desire for a constructive long-term partnership with the United States, the premier also turned the spotlight on the phenomenon of emigration. He stressed that the exodus of individuals seeking better opportunities was a recurrent trend and not exclusive to the present time. Prime Minister Kakar further asserted that the pursuit of a better life beyond national borders was a valid aspiration, echoing the sentiment that the success of these individuals, whether at home or abroad, was of paramount importance.

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Prime Minister Kakar’s address touched upon the challenges posed by high expenditures and limited resources in Pakistan. In this context, he emphasised that democracy served as a cornerstone of the nation’s strength and resilience. He commended the Pakistani populace for their ability to navigate crises with determination.

The premier’s discourse extended to the issue of unemployment, which he identified as a concern shared by individuals both within the country and those who have sought opportunities abroad. However, Prime Minister Kakar also shed light on the positive aspects of this migration trend.

“This is not only a challenge but also an opportunity, as these individuals bring benefits to the country through remittances,” Kakar said.

“It is not wrong for them to go to other countries in search of better opportunities,” he said, adding that when individuals return to Pakistan, they bring not only financial assets but also valuable professional skills, enriching the country’s human capital.

While the emigration trend remains a matter of significance, Prime Minister Kakar drew attention to the historical context. In the past, the country has witnessed varying levels of emigration, with the highest numbers recorded in 2015 and 2016. He underlined that this movement was a testament to individuals’ quest for better prospects and should be understood in that light.