Pakistan’s Brain Drain: Do We Not Know or Do We Not Care?

Posted on April 2, 2008
Filed Under >Irum Sarfaraz, Pakistanis Abroad, Society
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Irum Sarfaraz

The term brain drain was coined by the spokesmen of the Royal Society of London to describe the outflow of scientists and technologists to the United States and Canada in the early 1950s. Since then the term has become synonymous with human capital or the migration of highly educated individuals from the developing, mostly third world countries, to the developed ones.

Over the past few decades, more since Pakistan has been lurched full throttle into economic and political chaos, the phenomenon has become the bane of the society. The number of repining Pakistanis who wish to settle abroad is rising every year and the ones who are actually capable of breaking loose are coincidentally the educated ones, contributing alarmingly to the growing crisis of the Pakistani brain drain. To leave the country and settle abroad has become the zeitgeist of current day Pakistan.

Unfortunately either the government does not realize the severity of the problem or prefers to brush it under the proverbial rug like so many other issues. The migration of the Pakistani professionals to foreign countries, namely, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand has increased considerably with young educated and skilled Pakistani such as doctors, IT Experts, scientists and other professional either already gone or planning to leave. The fact that workers from all skill levels are losing or have completely lost faith in the economic future of the country was revealed by the Gallup survey that indicated that even the semi-skilled and unskilled workers want to migrate outside in search of better prospects. 62 percent of the adults who were surveyed expressed the desire to migrate abroad while 38 percent said that they would prefer to settle outside permanently.

It is often thought that the transmittance of funds by the ones who leave the country as a result of brain drain is a good enough substitute for these individuals actually staying in the country and working. But that idea is valid only to a minimal extent as there can be no substitute for services these professionals could be rendering the country by staying within the borders and adding to a far rapid economic, scientific and technological development of the country. Again, that can only happen if the proper infrastructure is provided to them whereby the country could earn manifold the money it receives from transmittance from the migrated workers.

According to Dr. Fitzhugh Mullan of George Washington University every doctor who leaves a poor nation leaves a hole that cannot be filled. He says,

“That creates enormous problems for the source country and the educational and health leaders in the country who are attempting to provide healers”.

Research shows that at 20 countries export more than 10 percent of their physician work force to richer nations with nearly no reciprocation as the US exports less than one-tenth of 1 percent of its doctors. Economic factor is primarily responsible for this mass migration of the scientific community from poorer, host countries like Pakistan. In Pakistan the value placed for a scientist with an advanced level degree is Grade 17 which comes with a salary that is totally insufficient to meet the basic requirements of a family. So it is no surprise that the advanced countries are exploiting the situation by offering these individuals far more handsome incentives.

Asif J. Mir writes in ‘Pakistani Think Tank’,

“We cannot achieve long-term economic growth by exporting our human resource. In the new world order, people with knowledge drive economic growth. We talk a lot of poverty alleviation in Pakistan. But who is going to alleviate the poverty-the uncreative bureaucracy that created poverty? Hypothetically, the most talented should lead the people, create wealth and eradicate poverty and corruption”.

Phillip Bonosky, contributing editor of Political Affairs, writes in his book Afghanistan-Washington’s Secret War.

“Pakistan seems to have nothing but problems. Endemic poverty which was Great Britain’s imperial gift to the colonial world-a poverty on which the sun never sets-skilled (badly needed in Pakistan itself) abroad in search for jobs. Hardly any country has suffered more from the brain drain than has Pakistan. Nearly 3,000 (annually) graduates of Pakistan’s medical colleges are jobless; most go abroad. The educated see their future not in their home country but in any country but their own”.

According to a report in the The Observer, London,

“Pakistan is facing a massive brain drain as record numbers of people desperate to leave their politically unstable, economically chaotic country swamp foreign embassies with visa applications-The biggest number of applications for British visas are from Pakistan. Doctors, lawyers and IT professional and leading the exodus, but laborers and farmhands are joining the queues of malnourished people who gather daily outside the US embassy in Islamabad”.

The greatest effect of brain drain on any country is what is seen in Pakistan today; rampant corruption, poor administrations, lack of motivation and a fast diminishing nationalism. Unless there is nationalism there can be no collective progress and poverty and crime will continue to increase under the umbrella of plethoric apathy. Whatever the solution it needs to come fast and it needs to be come now otherwise – when the educated are away, the uneducated will play – as they are playing at the moment.

Photo Credits: Clicking on the photos will take you to their source pages.

94 Comments on “Pakistan’s Brain Drain: Do We Not Know or Do We Not Care?”

  1. ali says:
    April 2nd, 2008 9:29 pm


    which is why i will be heading back soon.

  2. Khurram says:
    April 2nd, 2008 11:13 pm

    Its true that the political instability, corruption and insecure future in Pakistan are one of the few reasons making us go abroad. And a part from all the negative aspects of it I think in the long run skilled people going back to their country always bring lot of experience with them which is always beneficial for their country.
    I think atleast as far as I am concerned, the most important reason for moving abrod is to get the exposure. When you study or work abroad you discover a lot. A whole new world full of rich experience opens up to you.

  3. Dewana Phir Say says:
    April 2nd, 2008 11:55 pm

    Don’t worry about brain drain. There are 160 million more where they came from. Let them make a life for themselves.

  4. Daktar says:
    April 3rd, 2008 12:16 am

    Actually, the brain drain situation is not as simple as it used to be. More and more we are realizing that people abroad form a country can be asset to that country in terms of knowledge as well as FDI transfers. Both India and China have seen this as well as many South East Asian countries. So, Pakistanis outside can be a source of strength even more than problems.

  5. April 3rd, 2008 12:18 am

    We in India have 2800 psychiatrists for a population of 1 billion but all our NEW psychiatrists who pass out go to UK,Australia etc. Ofcourse the world knows about our IT professional export.
    The fellows who go from India are the best of the best from IIT and IIMs which are subsidised by the state. These well off educated Non resident Indians(NRI as they are called ) are doing a great service to the host nation which is America and is awarded Padma medals by our country for flying the shuttle(smitha williams) and heading PEPSI( Indira Nooyi) etc.
    You have your DESIES in the form of Haqanie(now) and had the PM from world bank who has vanished when Musharaff’s star waned.
    The real NON RESIDENT PAKISTANI HEROES are the ones who are slogging in Saudiarabia, gulf,dubai etc building the infrastructure for those Arabs who pay and who leave their families home and send money home.But you will award the NONRESIDENT PAKISTANIES who serve the host nation.

  6. Adnan says:
    April 3rd, 2008 2:12 am

    Pakistan is facing a massive brain drain as record numbers of people desperate to leave their politically unstable, economically chaotic country

    and they’re being forced for it. The national issue with Pakistani nation is that they DO NOT LIKE to share what they learn. Pick any field and you will find similar problem. In the era of Internet, physical existence in country doesn’t matter. The thing which matter is association with homeland and it can be exhibited remotely as well.

  7. Shahzad says:
    April 3rd, 2008 2:27 am

    I am a dual citizen and now living and working in Pakistan for a couple of months after being abroad for a couple of years. One of the reason that makes me want to go back is the financial position I am in here.

  8. Ali Dada says:
    April 3rd, 2008 3:02 am

    Brain drain will be reversed if law and order situation gets better, economic policies become strong, and stable government emerges.

    Until then, don’t blame me for not wanting to live in Pakistan.
    The day the problems I mentioned are removed from Pakistan is the day you will see me at the travel agency buying a 1 way ticket to Pakistan.

  9. Nimi says:
    April 3rd, 2008 3:28 am

    Brain drain or simply migration. As you said rightly, this nation offers to the best of its lot, a 17th grade salary, urging them to recover a decent living through corruption only.

    What else one should do ? I think individuals are not to be blamed. Migration has always been a permanent feature in the human history and why should Pakistanis be an exception. And by the way settling down in the west not easy either.

  10. Irfan says:
    April 3rd, 2008 3:35 am

    The HEC initiative led by Dr Atta-ur-Rehman will probably improve the situation, as even if half the higher education scholars sponsered abroad return, they will create a positive impact on the human resource situation. The new government has to ensure that these people are adjusted well here.

    Living among your own people is a most satisfying experience.

  11. April 3rd, 2008 4:03 am

    Dr. Abbas Zaidi, Dr. Shahid Bukhari and many many more who sincerely tried to settle in Pakistan just couldnt. Recently Dr .Riaz from Univ. of Karachi was treated as a convicted criminal of the heinest of crimes that he was beaten up so badly inside the university.

    A woman doctor gets raped in our interior regions. Some doctors get killed in northern areas for giving polio vaccination.

    Brain Drain is also accompanied by Brain Damage here.

  12. April 3rd, 2008 4:10 am

    Atif sahab….one always have 1001 “bahanais” …to justify thier running !

    just giving one or two examples….and thinkingb that have proven your point is just kidding !

    Dr Bokhari served Pakistan for 25 years….and made Electrical Engineering of UET to that heights ..and nobody many generations will be able top pay back the debt !

    he served 25 years…unlike those who run from Pakisatn just after 5years of MBBS..and then start dancing thier fingers on “Cyber Patriots” !

  13. Dewana Phir Say says:
    April 3rd, 2008 7:51 am

    Tehmeena Doltana, who can’t muster two coherent sentences, appointed as minister for science and technology one can imagine the value given to brain in Pakistan. Why could they not have picked one of the renowned scientists as the S&T minister? Many would accept the post for their country even if it means leaving job abroad and taking a pay cut only if someone would let them.

  14. Rita says:
    April 3rd, 2008 9:02 am

    Its hard to stop people from migrating. Sometimes people come back attracted by social work. We have instances in India of the Indian diaspora returning to rebuild villages. We also have people coming back to work in the still booming IT sector in Bangalore. Mostly, as we all know, its about money and opportunity. But doctors? There are dedicated docs who work for the poor. Sometimes they combine private practice with social work. But not so many. Even within India doctors go from the public health system to lucrative jobs in private hospitals. Health tourism is a sector thats being promoted.

  15. Mudassar says:
    April 3rd, 2008 9:56 am

    We dont have any thing to export , so we export humans…,, we send money back for the enjoy better life style…and we think we are rich:), I have only realized this after coming abroad…we keep increasing our population without planning…and we keep exporting people..if we dont have enough to feed ourselves.. then we should stop…., people sell their organs to get rid of poverty…oh my GOD please help

  16. Ahmad R. Shahid says:
    April 3rd, 2008 9:59 am

    The problem of brain drain is simply exaggerated. It has always happened in history and will continue to do so for ever because there would always be people looking for greener pastures. It happened when a large number of Europeans moved to America. It happened when a large number of Russians moved out. Now these countries are facing reverse migration. So things change and they would change for Pakistan as well.

    While looking at migration one should not loose sight of one of the main reasons. Pakistan’s population growth rate is around 2%, which means the population increases by more than 3 million, around the same number as in the USA. But USA’s population is almost double that of Pakistan. So many people are jobless in Pakistan and they obviously want to move abroad. But the population growth rate is going down and would go down further and finally reach the stable level, whatever it is. The fertility rate, which is currently 4 children per woman, would ultimately go down below 2.1, which is the replacement level. I wonder if there would be much emigration at that level. All the major countries where people love to migrate have population growth rates of 1% or less. Sooner or later Pakistan’s population growth rate would be less than 1%.

    Also when a few professionals leave the country they improve the job chances for those left behind, hence there is lesser incentive for those left behind to move abroad.

    Also the proportion of young people in Pakistan is very high and they are the people looking for entry level jobs. Thus there is a lot more competition at that level for jobs with far fewer jobs, hence the starting salaries are not good. So many young professional like to move abroad. But as they gain experience their incomes rise were quickly because there is lesser competition for experienced people and they make a lot of money. So the incentive to move abroad decreases with more experience. And hence many experienced people also like to return.

    It is not true that the educated people can only make as much as a grade-17 officer. It all depends on their skills and qualifications. Obviously if they just get a BA and have no other marketable skills they are going to get a grade-17 pay or even less. So many people don’t learn the skills valued by the market and end up doing mean chores. That is bad decision making on their part. Because many people see their incomes rising 5-10 times within 5-10 years of starting their jobs and that is not exceptional.

  17. MQ says:
    April 3rd, 2008 10:21 am

    Isn’t emigration (brain drain) an historical social phenomenon? People have been emigrating voluntarily and involuntarily throughout history. Europeans emigrated to the US in the 17th through 20th century, including some of the great names in science and education. Chinese, too, emigrated to the US in large numbers in the early 20th century. It enriched the US and didn’t hurt Europe or China either. Therefore, I don’t think the current ‘brain drain’ will hurt Pakistan in the long term. On the other hand, it could benefit Pakistan not only in terms of the much needed and talked about remittances but also in terms of back and forth flow of talent, ideas, information and investments.

  18. ali says:
    April 3rd, 2008 10:36 am

    Atif said:

    [i]Also when a few professionals leave the country they improve the job chances for those left behind, hence there is lesser incentive for those left behind to move abroad.[/i]

    you say that like it’s a very efficient way of going about things. surely, someone professional can do the job better than someone not-as-professional.

  19. ali says:
    April 3rd, 2008 10:41 am

    The concept of Pakistanis who go abroad end up investing their foreign earnings in Pakistan is largely a myth.

    Barring exceptions, the “investments” they make is more so to amass personal wealth rather than taking part in entrepreneurial ventures or anything that remotely allows job-creation. (i.e. they invest their money in stock markets, real estate etc.)

  20. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    April 3rd, 2008 11:13 am

    @Pakistani authorities should have, long ago,
    with-held quite many National passports, but Pakistani
    politician is a born corrupt animal, they must be held accountable of their treason.

  21. kamran says:
    April 3rd, 2008 12:56 pm

    well! its is true that we have seen migration trend or u can say brain drain throughout history .but in pakistan’s case it is really a problem. Look at our education and health system now, total apathy. Just visit any good reputable instituation of pakistan and you can see most of the top brilliant student there want to leave the country for good because of either they know it very well that one day when they forbade student life and enter into practical life the situation will gonna change for them. It is true that they might get a job but not to their standards. I have seen many examples in pakistan that a person who failed in every subject get the highly paid job due to some source and the most brilliant student belonging to a rural or lower class end up in having nothing.

  22. Sarmad says:
    April 3rd, 2008 1:43 pm

    What do we do with the undrained? I’m positive the bulk of it remains in the country. Ours is the God-gifted land where doctors and engineers, the so called professional product, after completing their degrees choose to join the civil service of the country. What wonders they do and why are no secrets. Compare the life style of a professor in a university and any senior civil servant, you would see the difference. And now, courtesy long dictatorial rule by the military, we see senior officers asserting their self-granted previliges, which they lovingly call perks. No matter how dumb the boss anywhere may be, by sheer dint of his/her office, his/her merits are given new heavens by those who want their pound of flesh. At times it looks like everyone who has some power to bring a change wants his/her share. The executive becomes a vegitable when bureaucracy becomes partisan or corrupt or both. The laws and rules are nothing if none is interested in regulating them. The fall of Soveit Union became possible mainly because the bureaucracy there had become an obnoxious interest group. Our case is not much different: we have our regulatory body whose majority is both partisan and corrupt.The party is self interest and as someone put it the most corrupt are those in anti corruption setups. The first thing a new combunt of a public office does is to see whether his/her office and residence go with his/her designation and taste. The corruption has become so institutionalized that today education department is considered one of the most corrupt departments. Education is what gives a nation its tomorrows. If that is gone to dogs, what is left behind? The brain? No! One fleeing from one’s land you call brain? What a joke! It is only the clever and cunning who is eveready to exploit any situation.Do not call them our brain who have abandoned us to our fate. I wouldn’t worry them. As the persian saying goes: Khus kum jehan pak( less dirt makes world purer). Our job and duty is to mind the undrained, the ones who prefer to stay here. The solution ought to come from education, from the wise ones. The blind Terrisias in Greek tragedy Oedibus says: “To be wise is to suffer”. Do our wise suffer? No, they either run or hide behind the gun. We send our smartest boys and girls to bureaucracy which is universally considered the least creative profession. Our wise are wonderful, aren’t they?
    Set the direction of education right, the rest will follow.

  23. Amna says:
    April 3rd, 2008 2:03 pm

    On the related topic, i saw a very interesting post at Lahore Metblogs a few days ago. here is the link. A good read!

  24. Aamer says:
    April 3rd, 2008 5:03 pm

    I think most everyone covered both sides of this topic..
    I am coming to a point where I think we need one or two people that are competent, sincere, honest and capable- to lead a position of public entity – to turn this country around..

    Why only 1 or 2 people? well they may start a chain of events..

    Now that is if they are not kicked off their post before making any significant impact.. which happens WAY to often in our country..
    Believe me, i want to go back to Pakistan Soo Soo bad. Well, I wont say i want to GO BACK, since i have never lived there.
    But i do want to go there and mke some impact, I have many an ideas aspirations and plans.
    More importantly the problem for me is my family (parents), that live me (or I live with them ) which makes it difficult.
    Plus of course the thought of failing, which always creeps in.
    One day I will just pack-up and move there and do something.
    I just hope that I don’t end up in the same market that a suicide bomber is.

  25. Eidee Man says:
    April 3rd, 2008 5:33 pm

    I think _one_ way to do this is to initiate and further support projects like the LUMS SSE (I’m not affiliated in any way). Great universities are an ABSOLUTE prerequisite to the kind of progress we all wish to see….and it really should not be that hard!

    I’m a Ph.D. student (in the U.S.) and I can tell you that there are MANY top-notch, bright Pakistanis who really do want to make a positive impact on their country….the reason most of them do not, is because they wonder where they would be employed….money is not everything, but, in all honesty, you cannot expect them to spend years in an intense graduate program just to waste away in some government university.

    Also, a lot of countries have trouble finding hard-working, talented students….again, we don’t have that problem! Pakistani O/A-level students have broken all kinds of records…unfortunately this performance stops at the high school level simply because of the sub-standard education available. Children of the well-to-do go abroad for their education in the thousands every year…..maybe LUMS, etc can create a system similar to the one the Ivy-league schools use: charge high tuition from the wealthy, and give out generous financial aid to those who qualify.

    I’m no fan of India (as many of you know), but I think Pakistan should adopt an IIT-like model…..I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that India’s success in this area is largely attributable to their investment in such schools…where we have been sorely lacking.

    It would be great if someone did a salary survey or something about scientists or people with Ph.D. degrees working in Pakistan…

  26. Eidee Man says:
    April 3rd, 2008 5:39 pm

    BTW, I don’t really buy the investment argument. Workers in gulf countries (who mostly go alone, without family) do send quite a lot of money back…..the Pakistanis who live in the U.S. are not really a financial asset to Pakistan. Actually, they might be a hindrance….like someone said before, they are mostly responsible for the huge inflation in the property market in Pakistan….I’ve met people here who own around 6-10 apartments and rent them out in Karachi!

  27. Aamer says:
    April 3rd, 2008 5:42 pm

    Eidee, To respond to your question about LUMS adopting the same model as the IVY league, what would they base their criteria upon? I mean in the US, they can mostly look at the tax returns and say this person or his parents made this much money so they can afford it. What about Pakistan, Can we rely on that data?
    I cannot say for sure, since i have no experience about it, ‘People’ say that Riches in pakistan evade taxes like anything and of course that means that they are mis-representing their income.
    Dont get me wrong, this happens in the US too, but here (in t USA) they do it the ‘legal’ way which some may considered as the loopholes. Plus here you have to report your numbers before the loopholes/deductions and after.
    Again, I have never seen a pakistani version of 1040 return so I cannot comment on that.

  28. Zulfi mir says:
    April 3rd, 2008 5:51 pm

    last para: it should be patriotism —- not nationalism.
    just a small but essential correction.

    nice article by the way.


  29. libertarian says:
    April 3rd, 2008 7:33 pm

    Successful expatriates heading back to Pakistan are still much more missionary than mercenary. If Pakistan can turn the corner and attract the “mercenaries” within a generation, the brain drain becomes the best investment it ever made. China, Taiwan, S. Korea, and India are increasingly seeing the reverse brain drain, where the origin country looks more attractive than the current one. Fixing the basics – law and order – is usually the best way to turning the vicious brain drain into a virtuous reverse brain drain. Doesn’t have to be perfect – or even up to western standards – just workable will do. Opportunity will take care of itself once the basics are done.

  30. Imran says:
    April 3rd, 2008 8:23 pm

    Brain Drain has been there for sometime now. It is not a new thing and it is central to all third world countries. Pakistan is not unique in that respect. Most people will not return to their roots based solely on patriotism or nationalism. Several have tried and have gone through a bitter experience. It becomes increasingly difficult if one has kids who either were born in the western world or were raised there. Also I dont think that returning of one or two will make a difference, it has to be a critical mass to bring about a meaningful change.
    The reason one is witnessing a reverse brain drain to countries like India or China is mostly economic. Their economies are not only able to absorb those returning but provide an acceptable standard of living as well. That is not true for Pakistan. Poor infra structure, over populated urban centers, appalling law and order situation and acute energy crisis will continuously the journey back to the roots.
    It is not enough to provide quality post secondary school institutes without providing means to absorb the graduating product. In fact it will speed up the brain drain with just the education part, the economy also has to grow and provide a decent standard of living hand in hand with premium education.
    However I think we are also witnessing the beginning of a global economic workforce irrespective of borders and language barriers. They will go to any corner of the world if economic opportunities are attractive enough and quality of life acceptable enough to make a living so this whole debate of nationalism and patriotism will be a moot one in times to come if not already.

  31. Abdul Hai says:
    April 3rd, 2008 9:10 pm

    This reminds of the recent book, “Reluctant Fundamentalist,” by Mohsin. In this book Mohsin writes that in old days the old and children used to be evaucated or migrate first. However, if you board a plane from Lahore these days, it is the best and the brightest who are leaving the country. The Western nations welcome these twentieth century slaves (I being one of them) with open arms.

    I know that the current flow of the young bright people out of Pakistan is due to political insatbility and quality of life. However, I can tell you that people who left the country in the late 60s and early 70s in the first wave were upset with the relative disparity of life style of a 12th grade educated army officer and an engineering/medical graduate from the few top schools of Pakistan. Bottom line is the dictators and feudal lords who made us come out, and kept us out.

  32. Tina says:
    April 3rd, 2008 10:47 pm

    Captain Johann–

    rest of you please forgive the rather specialized comment….

    When you say there are only 2800 psychiatrists for 1 billion people in India and all the mental health people leave…please remember that part of the reason is cultural hostility to psychiatric care and psychology.

    For example I know of one counselor working in Mumbai. She is a psychologist, but she is limited in India. She may be counseling a 19 year old girl who has just been married and the husband is hitting her viciously. Well, we know what a psychologist will say in the States–if you are being abused you must leave that relationship and go through therapy for the trauma. In India that’s not an acceptable answer. You have to say that any two people can be successfully married as long as they work hard enough at it, that is, if you want any clients to come to your practice. So, you have to try to keep the girl with her husband even if it’s evident she is being mentally and physically damaged by that.

    I imagine it would be hard to be educated in a certain field and then be unable to use your knowledge or even do things that violate your training. How frustrating it would be to feel you were not living up to your potential, keeping apace with new developments in your job, or even, because of the environment, compromising your ethics.

    I also once met an engineer who had completed a project in a remote area of Pakistan and the villagers were so grateful they gave him a twelve-year old girl as a thank you.

    You know, when people leave it may not simply be about money. The diaspora are not all just greedy people; good professionals can find work in a third world country disheartening for all kinds of reasons, even if its their own country.

    If I were in any mental health field, India or Pakistan would be the last places I would want to work, unless I was writing a research paper. Let’s not be too hard on the people who migrate.

  33. ali says:
    April 3rd, 2008 11:17 pm

    the educated who migrate for good with no intention of returning even though they have no pressures (of a family to feed, sisters to get married off..etc.) reek of selfishness.

    they put themselves and their careers before the opportunity (i would go so far as to say responsibility) to make great changes in their very own communities.

    their successes arent really successes to begin with.

    nothing sits more apt than: “jungle mein morr nacha kiss nay dekha?”

  34. ali says:
    April 3rd, 2008 11:19 pm

    oh and of course,

    so does: “ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

  35. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 3rd, 2008 11:48 pm

    Nothing is pure anymore….whether its food, drink, patriotism or love for building your nation…..Maybe its not ‘brain drain’….maybe its just khudgharzee…..

  36. April 4th, 2008 1:42 am

    @ Eidee Man….

    Dr. Asim Loan…a very renowned professor of Electrical Engineering is..taking Rs. 250,000 from UET,EE Department,Lahore….previously he LUMS….but now UET.A PhD..of UC Los Angles….and scored very high GPA..there…

    Dr. Haroon H Babri…is taking Rs 200,000 from UET,Lahore…a PhD..of Pennsylvania…taught in Singapore also….previously…with special field of radars…etc…

    Dr. Amjad Butt …the man who is considerd after Dr Shahd Bokhari…for his resech in also taking same amout UET,Lahore.

    Any Fresh PhD…at getting Rs. 70,000 – Rs 80,000 at a start by new HEC policies….

    further mre…HEC OMAN Chair..gets $6000 per month in different universities….

    so..point is salaries are much precious..but few people are willing to serve pakistan !

  37. April 4th, 2008 3:37 am

    @ Eidee Man….

    Private universities like SSE,LUMS.. Lahore University…COMSAT…FAST NUCES…are also offering heavy and precious pay rates to the young bright doctral and post doctral reserchers…

    Muhammad Sabieh getting around Rs. 300,000/month…though he wa willing to work even at Rs 35,000 at UET…but due to lack of facilities..he joined..SSE,LUMS,Pakistan…

    Dr. Zubair..the next Chairman..of Electrical Engineering Department..after Dr. Saleem Mian..was offered Rs. 500,000 by SSE, LUMS…but he refused and not left his own UET…

    UET..Punjab University..Government College…have sent hundreds of fresh students for PhDs to Europe..and US etc..and they will reurn ..after PhD..with bond of 5 years to serve thier institution….they will be appointed directly as Assitant Professor…with pays starting from Rs. 90,000 +..with quick promotions..and HEC ..also gives heavy allownce if you have some student doing Doctarte under you….Muhammad Sabieh Anawr also appointed as PhD Advisor by HEC..the youngest PhD Advisor of Pakisatn…yet !

  38. April 4th, 2008 4:30 am

    thats exactly the point, if people like Dr. Bukhari who managed 25 years without accepting any lucrative offer abroad HAD to eventually leave, then those fresh brains who dont even have that intention cant be questioned.

    I hope u r quoting me in ur references because i didnt say so…:)

  39. Ali Choudhury says:
    April 4th, 2008 6:33 am

    Bangalore’s IT sector would be nothing if it wasn’t for the networks, contacts, skills and experience of the Indian scientists and engineers who studied and worked in the US and then decided to set up companies back home.

    I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned the amount of remittances that overseas Pakistanis send back. While those mostly fuel consumption, at least it helps develop the retail sector.

    While the ITT network is great, the quality of universities other than them is not very good. Pakistan does not need universities catering just to the highly intelligent elite but ones fitted for the needs of the broader population. The population growth rate is such that the brain drain is not so much the issue as the country not investing enough in the people already there.

  40. April 4th, 2008 8:00 am

    @ Atif….

    already said that runners have 1001 bahanais !

  41. Dr Azfar says:
    April 4th, 2008 11:34 am

    What ever has been metioned is right,
    but in my opinion, this should not be taken as such, that all talented will go away ultimately after some time. This phenominon is not new and unnatural. Even happens in advanced countries, like from Europe people have been migrating to US etc.
    No doubt it is also a good scale of one country’s social, political and economic growth. We should take it as a scale only like Stock index, that shows what’s going on but does not predict exactly what could happen next, means its a sign not itself a cause.

  42. veteran says:
    April 4th, 2008 12:20 pm

    Well if you treat people badly in their own country, this is exactly what they are going to do. No one likes to leave their home country. Can you imagine the suffering people go through, not knowing whether they should stay in Pakistan and let their education and skills go to waste, or to go abroad and live in an alien country ? What crime have they committed by working hard to get a good education, or become skilled at something. The sick mentality of this country’s rulers, and really at all levels of administration, has led to bad treatment of educated and skilled Pakistanis. The examples of Eqbal Ahmed and Abdus Salam being a case in point.

    Pakistan is getting what it deserves. If you treat your own people badly, deny them rights and opportunities, they will not and they should not care.

  43. Asif Beg says:
    April 4th, 2008 12:30 pm

    Let us look at the brighter picture of migration with an example of our neighboring country.

    Today Indian IT companies like Infosys and Wipro are world leader in IT innovation. They are now no more third world order taker companies, but are setting the agenda of IT growth in the US and UK. If you look at the senior leadership of these companies you will find that they are almost 100% manned by one time immigrants to the US. They built all their network, their skills, their understanding of business while working in the US and returned back when Indian economy opened up.

    Immigrant Pakistanis should not be seen as a brain drain but an investment in human capital. If set our economic regulations right, we will no doubt be able to reap a rich dividend on this capital.

  44. ali says:
    April 4th, 2008 2:59 pm

    “ask what you can do for your country; not what your country can do for you”

    to migrate, especially, if you are from the educated elite – is in every sense of the word a “cop-out”

    you had an education and the opportunity to bring change to the society you so despise. but here you are, on a plane to a foreign land in a quest for your own careers.

    the greatest pleasure in life is derived from helping others. the “others” in our case, are own kind – and there’s just so much work that can be done in every field, in every walk of life.

    however. here we are. bitter as ever. whining about the status quo in our country – forgetting that, we (the educated elite) are the only qualified solutions in the first place!

    my friends, treat your country as your own.

    sigh…and now, i submit.

  45. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 4th, 2008 3:24 pm

    naheen tera nashaiman qasr-e-sultani kay gumbad par
    tu shaheen hai basaira kar paharon kee chatanon main!

  46. April 5th, 2008 7:53 am


    true Irum..but this verse is for those ..great people…who work…without any greed..hawis…with passion for thier country…..

    and certainly..10,ooo memebers of AAPNA…and other professionals…who run from pakistan…for them…pounds..dollars..luxurious cars…palace like home at Bath Island…some offers of $8000/month at Harvard Medical School..or John Hopkins ….etc etc ….

  47. Jamshed says:
    April 5th, 2008 11:03 am

    Nice article. The situation is alarming no doubt. I speak to enterprenuers in the US who want to set up their overseas businesses in Pakistan but can’t do it for 2 reasons:
    1- Law and order situation
    2- Lack of talent

  48. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 5th, 2008 11:40 am

    But who will fix the
    ’1- Law and order situation
    2- Lack of talent’
    if the very people who are capable of doing it keep buying one way tickets out of the country? I guess it is a catch 22….Like I said in the article, ‘when the educated are away, the uneducated will play’ and they are playing to their hearts content.

  49. Jamshed says:
    April 5th, 2008 7:36 pm

    umm… who will fix? thats a good question.. i thought about it as well and I answer lies in economics 101.. apply the supply and demand rule .. the fact of the matter is that right now we produce ‘VERY FEW’ high class talneted individuals and ironically, most of them have the dream to go abraod or have already migrated like you said..

    we cannot stop the brain drain but what we can do is increase our production so the remainig talent who opt to stay in Pakstan are in good numbers…. in addition to that out top nothc talent need to change their mindset to become produce “LEADERS” and not just followers.. Like when I sopke to some of the gold medalists of my time, they all wanted to go abroad and work for some Big 5 companies.. none of them had the ambition to be one of those Big 5 or be #6 at leat.. our bright doctors’ dream is to pass the USMLE and the top tier technologists wnat to get H1B visa.. they just cant think beyond that..

    and talking about the average graduates, the majority of the students that graduate form our schools are, sorry to say, “NON-QUALFIED”… they are good for nothing.. the quality and standard of education in Pakistan is at all time LOW.. that needs immediate attention, we should have fixed it yesterday..

  50. dawa-i-dil says:
    April 6th, 2008 1:38 am

    @ Jamshed

    Gaussian Curve represnts the same phenomenon….!

    world is full of average ..low mentality..self-centred…dollar-lovers..materisltic approached mindset….USMLE crammers …runners….and consider it very “successful” life…with $8000/month etc etc….

    but only few….will think about Pakistan..Islamic World…the rekindling the Bagdad..Cordava era…reburning and relighting the torch of Nishapur…Cairo..and Damasqus….

    nothing new or Gaussian Curve represents….only few diaomonds…falls in that all are coal mines by-products…..

    Vultures and Crows fly in the same blue airs…but Hawks are seldom !

  51. April 6th, 2008 1:39 am

    Being myself a physician of Pakistani origin in USA, I can tell you – I myself tried 4 times in 15 years to return to Pakistan but political, law and order, economic or religious instability forced me back to USA.

    As much blame we put on USA for global problems, we pakistanis have no interest and probably no clue of taking care of ourselves. There is a reason ‘paki’ overtime became a slur in west. Its heartbreaking but did we ever pause why our own cream wants to go away !

    Lot of comments in this post makes a lot of sense and was a very important post – congratulations

  52. dawa-i-dil says:
    April 6th, 2008 9:19 am

    @ Zindagi Ki Diary …..

    Docs specially have nothing to do with politics !

    Good Law and Order cannot make anyone escape from death….the nighr in teh graveyard will not be spent on the face of earth…

    9/11..7/7..and Madrid Train their anything uncertain than death !

    qualified professional can get reasonable money at end of month in pakisatn to live as an honurable man..but not minarates of pounds and dollars….but with 3rd class citizenship…..

    I can sweep the streets of my own country…instead of being a 3rd Class Citizen of US..UK…or by hearing leave our land…and other racial…and filthy comments !

    the same 1001 bahanais….we all are fed up hearing these lame excuses. just if you dont want to serve Pakisatn..plz. dont add salt to our wounds by these crocodile tears….sorry to say !

  53. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 6th, 2008 10:45 am

    you have again demonstrated the catch 22….unless the educated return and try to fix the situation, Pakistan will remain in the slumps but the educated won’t return until the country is out of the slumps hence Pakistan will remain in the slumps and the educated won’t return…..Who will break the latch on this catch?!

  54. Ali Aminuddin says:
    April 6th, 2008 11:02 am

    The reason there is a brain drain in Pakistan is because there is no justice in Pakistan. People who work and become successful are targeted by low lifes using the state machinery such as police and courts. The police and the judges can be bought and sold so there is no justice. Even if someone manages to get justice and takes himself out of the false cases he has been subjected to, then the police and the judges create hinderances to stop the law taking its course and punishing the false allegation of the accuser.

    Why is this injustice here? Well, what do you expect when you do not dole out justice to the Judge, whom you pay a paltry Rs18,000 to Rs20,000 per month and then expect him to dole out justice when he himself is not getting justice… or take the police man, who is facing the same problem. These individuals wield a lot of power but are powerless to feed themselves and hold their body and soul together without buying and selling justice as if it were a commodity.

    Cure. Give justice to everyone, and Pakistan will prosper

    It was Hazrat Omer (may allah be pleased with him) who said:

    If a stray dog dies of thirst by the side of a river, then, even that is my fault!

    We need a leader who thinks like THAT.

  55. Gill says:
    April 6th, 2008 11:29 am

    “It was Hazrat Omer (may allah be pleased with him) who said:

    If a stray dog dies of thirst by the side of a river, then, even that is my fault!

    We need a leader who thinks like THAT.”


    A lot of Pakistanis abroad are looking to come back, dissatisfied with increasingly negative views towards Muslims and immigrants as well as an increasingly immoral culture.

    I am one such person. I was born and raised in the States but I came to Pakistan for graduate studies and to at least get in touch with my family and to lay the foundations for possibly living and working here myself one day, as well as raising a family here, inshallah. I’ve still got a long ways to go to adjust.

    A lot of recent government programs have made it easier, but the overall state of affairs (particularly on the economic front) need to continue improving. The unfortunate truth is, as long as the economy’s growing, most Pakistanis coming back in would love the opportunity to pay their way to get everything, justice included, since they’ve got plenty of money (and an advantage over many locals in that respect).

  56. Gill says:
    April 6th, 2008 12:07 pm

    I think one solution is to change the way the educational system is run. The country might need to invest more into education in the short-term in order to get a return on that investment in the long-term.

    Most people who are likely to leave the country can afford to do so. Yet education is possibly the single most important thing to Pakistanis, culturally, religiously, politically, however you want to view it. The average Pakistani’s dreams rise and set on education. We need to concentrate our educational system’s efforts on those Pakistanis whose dreams don’t include leaving Pakistan.

    A greater amount of merit-based scholarships starting from earlier ages all the way through graduate school would ensure we’d have a professional class that would, at least for the time being, stay, work, and contribute to Pakistan. Simply because they can’t afford to leave.

    I also think we need to take advantage of the madrassah system. While there are many basic madrassahs where kids go simply to learn Qur’an, I’m talking about the ones which offer actual traditional “degrees” (usually the ones based on the Dar ul Uloom Deoband model), starting from basic 4-5 year courses and all the way up to professional “takhassus” (Ph.D. equivalent) degrees.

    These people, for the most part, are active, practicing Muslims who, for better or worse, will never seek to leave Pakistan. For one thing, Urdu has become one of the most important languages of Islamic study after Arabic in the world today, and for another, very few other countries allow them the freedom to live as Islamic a lifestyle as they please. Especially the women who observe the full veil or niqab, who simply have no choice of working in the US, UK, or Canada. Or in countries like Saudi-Arabia which are more Wahabi than traditional Sunni.

    If the government instituted scholarship/grant programs to give graduates of these programs free rides into equivalent secular (or rather “arts and sciences”) schools. For instance, in many colleges in Pakistan, especially the government-run, there’s a substantial fee discount and lax admission standards for kids who have completed Hifz of the Qur’an. This program should be increased for those seeking to get into A/O-level programs (I’m not sure what they call that here, secondary schooling?). Those with the Alim/Alimah degrees and better should get free scholarships (provided they meet entry requirements) to undergrad/graduate programs in all fields, not just medicine or engineering, but philosophy, languages, etc. These kids are usually more committed to schooling and that Pakistani dream of education. Already there are so many women in government colleges at least who you can tell are from religious backgrounds, the more of them that are educated, the more jobs that will be created for them.

    People might be afraid that the country might automatically “Islamicize” this way, with gender-segregated schools, hospitals, etc. popping up so women observing Islamic etiquettes of hijab/niqab can see only women patients for example or other things… but what’s wrong with that? More doctors are better than no doctors.

    And the people from these backgrounds don’t necessarily need a good economy. Their trips through madrassahs are mostly free and many of them wind up working for free after they graduate because of how they are taught to avoid taking money for such things. It stands to reason they’d be a lot more affordable in the engineering, medical, civil service, sectors.

    This would also root out and destroy all the causes of extremism, particularly those not rooted in traditional Sunni or Shi’ite schools. The government should selectively stick to Sunni and Shi’ite programs to endorse initially, and boycott all Salafi/Wahabi institutions. This would change the demographics of the nation and solve most of our current political problems. Not to mention it would finally accomplish Allama Iqbal’s vision of Pakistan as the vehicle of reconstruction of Islamic thought. We always talk about how Pakistan and Pakistanis are Allama Iqbal’s vision. Well, maybe it’s time we looked at his ENTIRE vision. The Muslim world is acutely aware of the lack of true Muslim professionals/scholars (i.e, practicing, with credentials in religion as well as worldly sciences… like the Muslims of old who made Islam the leading civilization).

    This can only happen in Pakistan. Other Muslim countries are either too liberal (Turkey, Tunisia, etc. who ban Islamic activity altogether) or too conservative (Wahabi/Salafi-minded countries). We should embrace our true ‘moderate’ Islam, which is to say… straight up Sunni Islam, which is already moderate enough, even in the most strictest sense (even the ‘Deobandi’ style, despite having its reputation tarnished by the Taliban, is by doctrine much more liberal than the Wahabis of Saudi-Arabia yet that country enjoys a great relationship with the West and all the economic leaders of the world… religion is not the problem).

  57. Gill says:
    April 6th, 2008 12:15 pm

    I forgot to add… no need to worry about this Shariah business. I know people are worried that they won’t be able to go to cafes and start flirting or hitting on girls, or that their liquor supply will be cut off, but I’m talking about targeting the people who are so poor that they’ll be too busy schooling, then working, to worry about politics.

    So maybe at one point 50 years from now we’ll have a country of powerful, educated, enlightened, Muslims who want to worry about the Shariah thing. Well so be it, then. That won’t be our worry, and if the majority of the country is behind a certain course of action, inshallah Allah will see it through.

    In the meantime we should probably re-institute Zia ul-Haq’s Shariah laws on a provincial level, letting provincial assemblies vote whether to enact or not. All the militants in the NWFP would turn out for the polls next time, vote it into power, and that province could have all the Hadood Ordinances it wants, and serve as a test vehicle or guinea pig of sorts for the rest of the Islamic world for the next few decades as we slowly educate and develop the area. That, along with strictly controlling the border with Afghanistan and abandoning support for the US and NATO, will end our problems there (well aside from internal sectarian differences which will require some deeper thinking).

  58. Haider says:
    April 6th, 2008 1:10 pm

    The question is why do they jeopradise their successful careers and go back to one of the most ‘unsafe’ countries in the world where they can’t even get the bare minimum necesseties of life like water and electricity, and at the same time, are deprived of their basic human rights as well??

    Just out of patritoism? Only a fool would do so…

  59. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 6th, 2008 4:13 pm

    Lord Byron has said, ‘He who loves not his country, can love nothing’ but you have gone a step further in calling all patriots mindless fools who expect payment for loving their country or contributing to its advancement.

  60. aijaz says:
    April 6th, 2008 4:57 pm

    All that has been written in the article is true, still not a lot problematic because of the reason that they will eventually return :)
    When children grow up, when they are searched multiple times at airport, when they want to sit and talk with the people who can understand them … … ….

  61. Haider says:
    April 6th, 2008 5:38 pm

    Economic migrants CANNOT be classified as unpatriots.

    The same Iqbal who once said that “Saray Jahan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara” later presented the idea of Pakistan. Would you call that unpatriotic? Absolutely not.

  62. Ahmad R. Shahid says:
    April 6th, 2008 6:40 pm

    Well the problem of “brain drain” is not as acute as some self-styled commentators make it out to be. Go to any hospital or clinic or a university in the big cities in Pakistan and one would find USA and UK educated people everywhere, and not just from ordinary run of the mill universities there, but from universities such as Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Imperial College and what not. The thing is that people have become used to stereotyping things. Many think that people only might out of Pakistan, which is an utter non-sense. Like any big country many people also move into Pakistan.

  63. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 6th, 2008 8:04 pm

    Exactly my point. When Hindustan was Iqbal’s land, he wrote for it. When he got Pakistan, being patriotic, he wrote for Pakistan and not Hindustan. And as we all know, Iqbal was hardly a fool…

  64. April 7th, 2008 4:54 am

    @ Haider…..

    yes..we have lack of electricity or water…but we are not slaves…of white masters..neither we are 3rd Class Citizen in all pakis living in US..UK etc are !

  65. faisal says:
    April 7th, 2008 6:31 am

    I am associated with IT. The only reason I am still sticking around is my family, otherwise I would have left already. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country and all, but the law and order situation and the security sucks with little or no prospect of improvement. I don’t want to become a statistic in evening newspapers just for carrying a stupid 4 thousand mobile phone.

  66. Asfand says:
    April 7th, 2008 6:50 pm


  67. Haider says:
    April 7th, 2008 7:28 pm

    3rd class citizens? What are you talking about? This debate is not focused around ‘cabbies’, the topic is “Brain Drain” and that applies to the top notch talent of Pakistan. Most of the them are living a lavish life abraod which they deserve by all means.

    And if their kid is talented enough, he/she could be the next Barack Obama even though he doesnt come from “bhutto” or some “choudhary” family..

    But in Pakistan, I still see debate over whether the PM or President or Chief of the staff should be from this province or that, instead of being judged by their capablilities.. what a shame…………….

  68. Gill says:
    April 8th, 2008 9:28 am

    “Most of the them are living a lavish life abraod which they deserve by all means.”

    That doesn’t mean they aren’t second-class unless they have completely assimilated culturally, socially, etc. (if a woman wears a headscarf, if a person abstains from drinking, then even that is considered not enough… if Muslims refuse to marry non-Muslims then even that is considered not enough… You cannot be comfortable in the West unless getting past all of these and more, and I was born and raised there, I’m speaking from experience).

    Even then, the completely assimilated face the occaisonal xenophobe or racist.

    It’s even impossible for people’s children to straddle two cultures. A girl who decides to stay within an “Islamic” lifestyle, but while maintaining a Western appearance on the outside, will be harassed by men for it. They won’t rest until they’ve gotten her into bed. It works for both sexes this way, if you’re a part of the culture at that age, then the people see you and everything our (Pakistani or at least Islamic) culture considers personal or private as something they have a right to. At least maintaining a non-Western appearance (via hijab or whatever) gives them the signal that “she’s not worth the trouble to harass or complain about”, but it doesn’t change the mentality or mindset of entitlement that Westerners have with regards to everything. At least the liberal ones’ idealogy keeps it within their borders…

    I mention children of this age because of all the Pakistanis who seek to come back to Pakistan or to another Muslim country, that is the reason 99% of the time.

  69. April 8th, 2008 10:18 am

    Moreover …..

    despite of all hardships and difficulties…yes..we are proud of being a Pakisatni…we have our own country..own land..and own Identity…where nobody will ever dare to stop his car and said to me ..that “Leave our land”…where nobody will make me naked on lahore International as on Heathrow ..J F Kanday etc..where nobody will look at me suspiciously on tubes..subways..planes….and buses..where i have no fear of FBI..and other agencies…where nobody wll search the call hsitory of my cell on the airports etc etc…..

    Yes..we have tough time..but we are proud that we are the 1st Class Citizen of our belovd country..and we have Identity…..and we are not that “Identity-less” US Pako blend…who even not know…whats its real Identity is….and still clinging between 50 50 !

    @ Haider ….

    yes..thats why in pakisatn..a hindu can reach the seat of the most prestigious post ..the Chief Justice of Pakistan !

  70. Gill says:
    April 8th, 2008 10:52 am

    dawa-i-dil: Excellent point.

    If anyone wants to turn sour on the idea of emigrating to the West, just try to go through Heathrow or JFK.

    They held Edhi at JFK for 8 hours, and then took away his passport, so he was stuck in the US for weeks earlier this year. EDHI!

    I unfortunately know too many people who have been harassed at these two airports. It’s almost necessary for every Pakistani (even if you’re on a plane full of Pakistanis).

  71. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 8th, 2008 1:19 pm

    Actually we can do a whole post on the issue of the present harrassment of ‘desis’ on American airports. My kids and I all have different last names. I am stopped at the airport because the authorities are always unsure if the kids are really mine and we are all individually questioned about this…!

  72. Asif Beg says:
    April 8th, 2008 1:46 pm


    “yes..thats why in pakisatn..a hindu can reach the seat of the most prestigious post ..the Chief Justice of Pakistan !”

    So what’s the big deal? Indians have had several Muslim Chief Justices so far. Isn’t “equal opportunity to all” is the barest minimum that every civilized society expects from itself?

  73. ali says:
    April 8th, 2008 2:21 pm


    stop complaining/justifying.

    rather than being so negative about everything back home – look at it as an opportunity – in fact, i consider Pakistan to be the true land of opportunity – in that, there is just so much work that can be done (not necessarily charitable work) – but we could definitely use some true visionaries – who have the knowledge and perhaps, thought leadership, to make a big difference.

    to quote a great politician, (ironically, in the west) –

    “we are the change we have been waiting for”

  74. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 8th, 2008 2:43 pm

    Sadly, we are only ‘the change Iqbal envisioned…we are not the change that can change Pakistan’…..

  75. Ahmad R. Shahid says:
    April 8th, 2008 3:53 pm

    This post and comments are full of unnecessary pessimistic views. Many overseas Pakistanis have taken upon themselves to be “sympathetic” to Pakistan and Pakistanis while living abroad in peace.

  76. Haider says:
    April 8th, 2008 8:11 pm

    Excellent posts and maningful comments. I am glad to see such sound minds amongst us.

    Irum’s comments sums it up quite well. Very well said:
    “Sadly, we are only

  77. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 8th, 2008 11:13 pm

    …..’once a Pakistani, always a Pakistani….!!!!!’ :)

  78. Ahmad R. Shahid says:
    April 9th, 2008 5:13 am

    Many people just keep repeating the mantra that the present lot of Generals, politicians and what not can’t change the system. Surely they believe in a revolution and not an evolution. The age of revolutions is probably over. Drastic change is never the real solution to any problem but evolution over time achieves far greater results with lesser pain, obviously it takes longer time.

    Surely Britain is one example where the things have evolved over time, and rather than doing away with any institution, even the monarchy, its the thinking of the people that changed over time. Britain still has monarchy but also has one of the stongest democracies in the world, the result of evolution and not revolution.

    Now many people come up with skewed arguments in favor of drastic change, such as:

    1) Pakistanis are illiterate.

    2) We can’t wait as long as it took Britain to change.

    The answers are simple. How much literate France was in 1789 at the time of French revolution? How literate was Britain in the 17th century when the Parliamentarians defeated the supporters of the monarchy? How much literate USA was in 1776 at the time of the passing of the constitution? Definitely less than how literate Pakistan is today.

    For the second, the answer is even simpler. If we keep vying for drastic change then we would still be vying for it say in 3,000 AD. But if we allow evolution then we would be a lot better even 2,100 AD.

    So the same political parties, the PML(N), the PPPP, MQM and what not would evolve over time. The same Army would evolve over time. The same institutions would evolve over time to create a new Pakistan that is much better than what it is today.

    As for those who are trying to spread panic by creating doomsday scenarios for Pakistan, must find an other job than writing senseless things implying that Pakistan would implode if their thinking is not heeded to. Pakistan is going to stay, they like it or not.

  79. Irum Sarfaraz says:
    April 9th, 2008 10:13 am

    Jaan kee aman paoon to kuch arz karoon…..
    Literacy has little to do with revolution, the examples you have provided amply illustrate that. If the people in all the examples you have cited, as well as the Russian Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 that was the result of centuries of oppression of the lower classes by the Tsarist rule, were not literate then obviously it does not take a literate nation to cause a revolution, it only takes an extremely disdainful and fed up one. Just like the Pakistanis are today. Evolution for change is a method of literate people, while the less literate can only resort to revolution. Pakistani don’t have the capacity or luxury of time for evolution because by the time this happens the country’s borders might even have dissolved. In the face of the oddds we face, we need a revolution, we need revolutionary leaders and we need to resort to revolutionary tactics. Lets prove that ‘we learn from history that we do learn from history’…

  80. Ahmad R. Shahid says:
    April 9th, 2008 11:42 am

    It is one of the most absurd of arguments that we need a revolution and evolution might take too long.

    For one, Pakistan won’t cease to exist just because there are problems within the country. Afghanistan still has the same borders as it had in 1947 when Pakistan was born on its Eastern border despite going through the Russian invasion, the Taliban’s rise and the latest war. Bangladesh was separated because it was a 1,000 miles away from the West Pakistan. The Pakistan we know today has parts, which are joined geographically. Also other unifying factors are: 97% population is Muslim, and almost every one can speak Urdu. Even the differences in culture are going down.

    So the conclusion is that nothing would happen to Pakistan and it would still be there for a long time to come. Obviously one can’t predict what might happen a 1,000 years from now. Since only 1,500 years ago Britain was just a province of the Roman Empire. America, as we know it today, didn’t even exist. In fact many of the countries that exist today didn’t exist 1,500 years ago and there is no guarantee that they would 1,500 years from now. Some countries would obviously go before others.

    As for a revolution in Pakistan, there are many factors that don’t support it. Of course it is in chaos, so have been many countries in the past that never witnessed a revolution. Furthermore there are many things in Pakistan, which might block the way of a revolution. Pakistan is much more urbanized. Urban areas always have more wealth and better standard of living. The one factor which might bring a revolution is the gap among the rich and the poor. That gap normally rises during dictatorships and go down during democracies. With democracy gaining greater stength, the chances are that this gap would go down.

    Another reason for a revolution is the lack of justice. Surely there is lack of justice, the situation further exacerbated by Musharraf’s draconian steps of removing the independent minded judges. But the reaction of the people has made it sure that chances of any such actions are reduced, if not entirely removed. With the judiciary becoming more assertive and independent, the chances of a revolution based on lack of justice are going down.

    Another reason for drastic change is normally when governments take wrong decisions based on fudged data. That happened during the 1958 draught in China. But that normally happens in closed societies under dictatorships, where people try to flatter the man in charge to get promotions. There were more chances of it under Musharraf, but even then we had a much freer media, which could not be fooled by Shaukat Aziz and company. With this new government and media even stronger than before, it is difficult for the government not to be transparent. Transparency would ensure that absurd policies are not executed.

    Another reason for drastic change could be if an unpopular government could not be changed through the will of the people. With the elections taking place and the incumbent government the reasons for such change are reduced to a minimum.

    What other reason you see for a revolution?

  81. April 11th, 2008 6:33 am

    Fresh students of Engineering…the super brains…are comaratively willing to serve Pakistan….unlike crammers…of USMLE….whose only aim to get admission to medical college to hunt for a cool spouse and then run from Pakistan after 5 years ..of cramming of MBBS !

    Arslan Munir…the boy who took fourth position in Matriculation from Crescent Model School… 1998….broke the 17 years record of Government College ,Lahore…in 2000 by getting 981/1100 ..and won Roll of Honurs….and Topped in Electrical Engineering,UET,Lahore…and won 5 Gold Medals…in 2004..presently at British Coulumbia,Canada…for Masters ..EE…and will return to Paksitan ..after that ….

    Muhammad Usman..the Silver Medalist…of 2002…EE…UET,Lahore…presently at Stanford..Schooolof Electrical Engineering…for PhD..will serve UET, when he will return…

    Zohaib..the Gold Medalist…of 2003…EE, UET…is shortly leaving for MIT…and will return Pakisatn after PhD….

    Salman Asif…the Silver Medalist of 2003…is doing Georgia Tech. and will return Pakistan after Phd…to serve UET,for atlest 5 years….

    Saqib Bin Sohail..of 98 Electrical…the favourite student of Dr. Shahid Hussain Bokhari doing PhdD…at Colarado…and willreturn to Pakisatn after his Doctarte….

  82. April 11th, 2008 6:43 am

    Mujaeeb…and Hassaan..presently at the Faculty..of EE…,UET,Lahore…have won Fulbright Scholarships…and are leaving for Georgia Tech…in these summer..for PhD..and will return Pakistan after that….!

    Fahad..the son of Dr. Zubair the next Dean of EE, UET,Lahore……presently at EE, Faculty, UET…is also leaving for Phd…to Georgia Tech…for PhD..and will return Pakisatn after that….

    Nauman ….which was previously at EE, faculty…is also ding US..and will return Pakisatn..after that…..

    Dr. Abubakr Muhammad…is doing 3rd Post the age of 31..from Macgill…in Quantum Information Processing..and will return pakisatn after that…to SSE,LUMS,lahore…where he is a visiting scientist….

    Muahmmad Salman Bhatti…which was previously at EE also doing PHD..and will retun in a year…to UET…to serve it for at least 5 years….

    and the the list goes on !

  83. April 25th, 2008 3:30 pm

    Thanks but no thanks.
    I am referring to the use of my image “sitaron se aagy”. It is not hosted on flickr, yet links to the photo page. This means that my photo has been saved on external sever without my permission, yet giving me half of credit.
    If you know some HTML, you can use a flickr hosted image on your blog. Please learn it and do not cause copyright trouble in future.

    Also being a UETian, i fear that the phenomena of brain drain is actually present around us. :(

  84. saira says:
    May 29th, 2008 9:05 am

    wel!i have read you people talking about the problem of brain either or blaming the system.what about the remidies to cure the problem….u have inlisted names of people who have thought to come back,don’t you think its better to present a role model…..who actually have converted brain drain to brain gain?

  85. Waqas says:
    July 9th, 2008 8:08 pm

    dawa-i-dil, tell us when they return back to Pakistan :)

  86. dawa-i-dil says:
    October 22nd, 2008 6:07 am

    I think in a year or two

  87. zaheer abbas says:
    December 15th, 2008 11:59 am

    The greatest effect of brain drain on any country is what is seen in Pakistan today; rampant corruption, poor administrations, lack of motivation and a fast diminishing nationalism. Unless there is nationalism there can be no collective progress and poverty and crime will continue to increase under the umbrella of plethoric apathy. Whatever the solution it needs to come fast and it needs to be come now otherwise

  88. sidra shaoib says:
    February 7th, 2009 2:30 am

    i think if we would be morally strong enough than we do not need to even think about brain drain

  89. April 25th, 2009 1:36 pm

    Hello Fellow Professionals & Nationals

    This is very well known to all the medical, paramedical, and other health staff that our governments, and the administration have failed through out in implementing health care as a whole. We are lacking work regulations, work hours’ limitations, drug regulations, medical legislation, career growth in each and every term; while the nation being ignorant about health awareness, suffers a great threat as MDR-TB and other drug (pre-dominantly antibiotics) resistance has reached our bed-rooms already; quacks are on the flourishing part of the society, while health education means only to pursue FCPS as a mean to prosper. Myths stinging us in the best manner they can, and the busters are keen to flee the country leaving only aroung 50,000 practicing doctors nation-wide in 2025.

    We have launched a crusade and willing to proceed in the best possible manner to give the country a healthier society, and happier medics and paramedics.

    We have launched a crusade for Enhanced health care in Pakistan and need to have as many doctors as possible with us.
    I’d like to add you to my professional network to join a crusade for the vast aspects of enhancing health care in Pakistan. This would include the following:

    Be one of Us;
    Join our Campaign; Your Campaign.
    Details @


    Dr. Atif Ashraf

  90. Zain I. Syed says:
    June 7th, 2009 11:55 am

    I guess the core problems are lawlessness, inequitable distribution of wealth and discrimination (in all its forms).

    There is no respite from these issues in the forseeable future.
    Successive military dictators have deprived the country of practically all institutions.

    There seems to be no way out. Nationalism seems to be our only hope.

    Zain I. Syed

  91. Javed Iqbal Shah says:
    August 28th, 2009 12:31 pm

    Dear all,

    1. I was searching internet for writing an article on brain drain syndrome from Pakistan that I came to read the article of Irum Sarfraz. I want to congratulate Irum for writing such an informative, comprehensive and thought-provoking paper.

    2. I just want to add another dimension, which I consider as one of the causes of staying back of Pakistani professionals after completion of their studies abroad, and that is disregard for higher values, like service of one’s own motherland, urge to pay back what this country has done for us, and urge to contribute positively towards tranquility and progress in our country.

    3. Probably, I also came back from Norway to Pakistan after completing my MS because whenever I thought about staying back, I was overtaken by feelings of constructive shame and guilt for betraying my motherland.

    4. For the last 21 years, I am serving in defence forces of Pakistan and still feel proud of my decision to serve my people.

    Regards to all


  92. Javed Ali says:
    November 19th, 2009 10:51 pm

    Key to reverse the brain drain is economic development.
    Three basic factors to develop economy are following:

    1. Stable Currency
    2. Political Stability
    3. Fair tax system and improving govt. dept. controlling commerce and trade (eliminating corruption)

    If govt. can achieve these three things people would love to invest and work in an economy with bright future. PAKISTAN ZINDABAD

  93. Ali says:
    March 7th, 2010 1:03 pm

    Why we leave home the land where we born , grow and have our families and culture. Feel shame sometime but what a personal can do when society and the government has nothing to give back. I don’t blame the once who left Pakistan for good life. Almost 95% of my friends has moved to Europe and the rest of them are trying. My self move to US for better life and opportunities .The question is who is responsible for this brain Drain.
    Did first degree in Mechanical 98 then another in Journalism 03
    And spend the worse couple of year at home with no job. Move to US did another degree and working on Master. I achieved my dream life in just couple of year that I have always wanted. But at the same time feel guilty not staying back home and to serve my country. So many reason to leaving Pakistan.
    The Brain drain will never stop unless the government provides job ,security, benefits ,facilities .

  94. Asif says:
    March 19th, 2010 4:32 pm

    I honestly feel its a game of ‘priorities’….all of us are aware of the current situation in the ask WHO is responsible for this…is not going to bring any good..instead we should be questioning ourselves …WHO is going to HELP …if not us???..

    quite obviously ‘brain-drain’ is only worsening the situation….

    Our country is in a dire need of sacrifices from its individuals…esp from those that have received education IN
    (and thus …FROM) Pakistan….

    the DYING nationalism is a very important point raised here…and i honestly feel….every Pakistani…should contribute towards injecting positivity (even if its in the form of a smallest e-mail)…in the society…

    All eyes r on us…even the smallest of (bad) incidents are being over highlighted by the media…esp the international media…and with each bad news….we are being given a minus 1….for being a Pakistani…

    On the other hand…we should be sympathized..for being adversely affected..and consoled…

    its not difficult to understand…that an ‘average’ citizen of Pakistan…is not ‘involved’…in the ‘bad’ that is going on…EVERY ONE HATES IT…then why should we feel ashamed of being a PAKISTANI??

    A strong faith…that it is MY country…my ancestors have sacrificed a lot for it…and now the duty for betterment is on MY shoulders…

    If anything that has to leave is the BAD..

    Its a tough choice to make….but its the one that HAS to be made…

    Asif Raza

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