Pakistan Institute of Development Economics



Population Mobility across the Pakistani Border: Fifty Years Experience

This paper describes population mobility across borders experienced by Pakistan during the past fifty years. Some consequences of this mobility have also been briefly mentioned. The dichotomy of this population mobility into inward and outward flow reveals that while the former can be traced to political factors like the partition of the Subcontinent and the Afghan war, the latter mostly represents a job-oriented move. Every flow is associated with its own set of effects, difficult to be encompassed by a single research exercise. Migration from India in the wake of partition is associated with a higher level of urbanisation and a rise in religious homogeneity associated at the same time with increased ethnic diversity, which according to some can be linked with the current Karachi situation. Pakistan also engaged in manpower export and experienced brain-drain. Both of these outward flows, to some extent rooted in history, have particular effects for the society and economy. These differences emanate from the pattern of permanent or temporary settlement abroad, characteristics of the emigrants particularly in terms of human capital endowments. and the nature of links maintained with families in Pakistan which have a bearing on the inflow of remittances. Illegal migration to Pakistan from the surrounding countries is alleged to be substantial at present. The ease with which the identity cards and passports of Pakistan are acquired by these illegal migrants simply reveals the level of control and the standard of honesty prevailing in the situation. In this context, the importance of peace and economic stability in the neighbouring countries emerges to be quite obvious for Pakistan.

Mohammad Irfan, G. M. Arif