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Pakistan faces brain drain as youths head abroad

Pakistan is facing a potential brain drain as many of its youth head abroad to search for work due to the lack of facilities and development opportunities.

LAHORE: Pakistan is facing a potential brain drain as many of its youth head abroad to search for work due to the lack of facilities and development opportunities.

Six-year-old Mehroz Yawar, a computer genius, is the world's youngest Microsoft Certified Professional.

"I have done two certifications: Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS) and Microsoft Certified Solution Associate. I want to grow up and become the president of my country and also a part- time cricketer,” said Mehroz.

Stories of child prodigies like Mehroz are remarkable, but his future career in Pakistan is far from assured -- and he is not alone.

According to government figures, in the past five years, more than 2.7 million Pakistanis have left the country, with many of them chasing education and job opportunities which they cannot find at home.

The fact that many are leaving the country is fanning fears the nation's best and brightest will continue to be lost, leaving Pakistan with a critical drain across crucial industries.

Azfar, 23, a filmmaking student, said he sees little chance of his talents being fostered unless he moves overseas.

"The government is not offering us facilities that they are supposed to offer, and the technologies out there are much better than the technologies that they are offering here.

“People are really talented over here, they need and they should get the right amount of facilities,” he said.

However, the government maintains that its focus remains on improving welfare for marginalised youth, not the departing talent.

Maiza Hameed, Member National Assembly (MNA) and coordinator of the Prime Minister’s Youth Scheme, said: "Yes, what you are talking about needs to be recognised too.

“But what we are targeting and have been targeting is the street level youth, most of whom get neglected. So that is our first concentration."

Everyone wants a better future, but academia experts say that wick of hope does not burn bright in Pakistan and it can lead to an eventual brain drain.

Smart kids like Yawar are likely to seek opportunities in foreign lands as the Pakistani government continues to ignore the academic sector, which has all the ingredients to form the nation's research and development backbone.  

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