Understanding migration

World Migrant’s Day was observed on 18th December. Migration is a natural process,which has been taking place for centuries.

Prophets had migrated from one place to another for various reasons. Our Holy Prophet’s (PBUH) migration from Makka to Madina had brought a lot of people into the fold of Islam. This migration had been considered as a great step of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) in the history of Islam.

The 19th century is known as the era of Industrial Revolution in British history. A large number of people from England migrated from rural to urban areas due to the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution came to other countries as well, paving way for urbanization.

According to the UNO report (2015), there are about 244 million migrants living in other countries. This number is now the highest ever. Moreover, the number of migrants is increasing day by day. On the other hand, in 1990 and 2000, there were only 154 million and 175 million international migrants, respectively.

Here the question arises: why do people migrate? Why do they leave their homeland and settle in any other country?

The answer to these questions is that migration takes place for multiple reasons including social, economic, political and environmental, and force. In social sector, people migrate to find a job/work to make their future secure. The social sector includes both educated and uneducated people of the society.

As an economic factor, people choose migration for earning a handsome amount of money. They move to those countries where they can find suitable job/work for strengthening their economic position.

The third factor is political. Many politicians are those who are involved in politics so they move to safe places in order to escape political victimization.

Fourth is the environment factor.This factor causes migration as well. As in some regions, people face natural disasters owing to environmental changes.

Forced migration includes war, violence and famine. Recently, more than 600,000 people of Myanmar have been forced to migrate to Bangladesh. Myanmar’s forces’ atrocities had left no choice in front of the people of the Rakhine province except to leave the country and take asylum in nearby countries.

There are two major aspects of migration: push and pull. Push aspects are those which force the masses to leave an area. They include the lack of services, lack of security, high crime ratio, crop failure, drought, floods, poverty, and war, etc.

Pull factors are those which attract people towards traveling to a specific region. These include greater number of employment opportunities, better wealth prospects, better services, pleasant weather, safety or fewer crimes, political stability, productive land and less risk from natural calamities such as floods, and drought.

Pakistan is on the list of countries which face the process of migration. According to Pakistani officials, 1.7 million Afghani migrants/refugees are living in Pakistan (1 percent of Pakistan ‘s population in 2016).

These Afghani migrants are distributed as follows: KPK 81%, Punjab 10%, Baluchistan 7% and Sindh 1%. Most of these Afghanis left their country owing to the war and extremism in their homeland.

Pakistan provided shelter to millions of Afghan refugees/migrants and in return paid a hefty price in the form of drugs, weapons, and extremism.

About 7.6 million Pakistanis live in foreign countries. From the huge number of people, nearly 4 million live in the Middle East, around 1,900,000 people live in Saudi Arabia. The next largest number of people; around 1.5 million, live in the United Kingdom.

A great number of the people who settle in the Middle East are generallyeducated or uneducated Pakistanis who live there for work purposes and leave their family behind in their homeland.

Moreover, migration is taking place in Pakistan from rural to urban areas to a great extent. Rural to urban migration creates many socio-economic problems such as congestion problem, overpopulation, lack of health and education facilities, unemployment, poverty, potable water, and many more issues.

There are several causes of rural-urban migration. For example, migrants are fascinated by the remuneration received in urban areas. People migrate to urban areas in search of a better job as there are fewer opportunities in rural areas.

Most of the rural area residents depend on agriculture for their livelihood. But considering that these days land is becoming unfertile owing to the climate change and extra use of pesticides etc. people are forced to seek other opportunities to support themselves and their families.

As people travel to cities, the urban populations number rises and the gap of demand and supply increases. The demand for many things such as food, water, transportation, employment and accommodation rise while supply remains low.

Inequality of demand and supply gives birth to many problems including frustration, violence, crimes, unemployment, and poverty.

Karachi’s population was recorded at 9.3 million in the census of 1998, while in 2017’s population census; Karachi’s population recorded was 14.91 million- an addition of 5.56 million people. This massive rise in population indicates an alarming rate of migration towards the metropolitan city.

Migration should take place by choice and not by need or force. Migration from Afghanistan and Myanmar is by force. These migrated people live in refugee camps without basic facilities. Migration by force gives birth to numerous problems for refugees and for the country where they stay.

Policies are required to ensure good governance, rule of law, access to justice, the safety of human rights, and the abolition of violence, conflict, and extremism.

Education, better opportunities for employment, reasonable salaries, affordable health facilities, and decent accommodation should be available to everyone so that they can start their career in their homeland.

The young generation, including educated and uneducated, must be given opportunities in their homeland so that they can utilize services in their own country in the process of development.

The government should provide them with opportunities to make them productive members of society rather than letting them work in foreign countries.

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