Want to move abroad? Think again!

Published: April 18, 2013

People of other nationalities may be treated better than Pakistanis even at a local general store! DESIGN: ERUM SHAIKH

The life of a middle class Pakistani immigrant overseas is gravely misunderstood by both the people in the immigrant’s homeland and the people in the country to which the immigrant has emigrated.

There are a couple of (read: many) things that are immediately dismissed once it is mentioned that a person is a Pakistani living abroad.

For one, it is often forgotten that moving abroad means starting over– from scratch.

From waiting at the airport for eight hours because of a miscalculation in hotel costs, to renting a basement for immediate accommodation, to living in the basement for approximately six years until you can afford an apartment, to finally being able to buy a small to medium sized house in a semi-safe suburb (because the public schooling and medical facilities are better in a suburb than in the city or countryside) at a ridiculously high mortgage rate, which will take approximately 25 years to pay off.

Starting over from scratch may also apply to one’s academic and professional career, as education equivalency is usually unfair.

It takes years for a Pakistani professional to get a job and attain a salary that his/her profession deserves, in a foreign country.

For instance, a civil engineer may end up driving a taxi for seven years in order to accumulate enough money to pay for his equivalency exams, while feeding his children.

Furthermore, moving abroad does not mean getting rid of politics.

Political grievances of one kind or another exist for anybody, anywhere; regardless of whether they live in Pakistan or abroad.

Another one being discrimination and discrimination can take many forms.

This means that people of other nationalities may be treated better than the Pakistani and this can be seen anywhere- even at a local general store, only because it is a universally acknowledged fact that everybody deserves preferential treatment over Pakistanis.

This may also mean that a Spanish girl at your child’s school may be celebrated for being “ethnic, exotic and cultured” while your Pakistani child will be called a FOB (fresh off the boat) for wanting to listen to Abrarul Haq at lunch.

Oh, and let’s not forget that other countries have economies too. Food is not free in these countries, and jobs are not handed out like wedding invites. Money does not grow on trees- heard that one from my nani as she might have heard from her nani, and it is true.

Moving abroad does not mean becoming wealthy.

While these overseas Pakistanis may tell stories of owning acres of land (which at one point or another was probably sold to fund a family member’s education), and may claim to have found that they trace back to the Mughal dynasty (or the equivalent), they still lead lives in which they have to struggle to make ends meet, and are merely trying to save face in a society that is obsessed with material wealth.

I wish people would stop assuming that life for a Pakistani must be easy if he/she is living abroad, because something about being told that my family and I did not have to work for what we have, as though everything was handed to us on a silver platter, does not sit well with me.

The life of a middle class citizen (who has to work to become a middle class citizen in a foreign country from a lower class citizen) is not easy; not in Pakistan, not in any other country.

Follow Eman on Twitter @TinyFey

Eman Cheema

Eman Cheema

A Lahore-bred, Toronto-bound; life enthusiast, who is aspiring very-many-things, Eman tweets as @TinyFey twitter.com/TinyFey

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • citizen

    whats new in this blog? Guess we all know this. Though people say life style is little bit better in middle eastern countries .anyways Negativities apart, No other nation treats you the way your homeland treats you ! it is a blessing . Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    My husband and I have been living in Canada for 5.5 years and he (my husband) is doing really well, so are his friends. He worked hard and now he falls in the top earning percentage of the country. Hard work gets you places, no work gets you excuses.Recommend

  • anonymous

    Can you buy a 500 sq.yards plot in a decent area in Khi with the salary you earn in this country?? if not … better move abroad.. reason … 1 USD = PKR 100, 1AED = PKR 26 Recommend

  • Rameez

    This happens when you abandon your country to be treated as second or perhaps third class citizen in the foreign country,

    And tell me,how can some one respect you when you can’t even respect Pakistan and its people.Pakistanis have a self-hating disease.

    The only solution to Pakistani problem is IMRAN KHAN.

    For God’s sake, please vote for Imran Khan.He is the only hope for the people of this country.

    His rise to power Inshallah will change everything radically.

    Do not waste your vote in this election.

    Vote Imran khan.Vote PTI ….

    Pakistan ZIndabad.Recommend

  • Smile

    BCCI is involved!Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    I guess your article to relevant to Canada, since the Canadian economy is not Large (even though the country is massive) its really hard to get jobs there….I came to the UK 9 years ago, did my masters and got a good white collar job about 7 years ago. The UK economy back then was booming and by the grace of Allah I found a good job, then the recession came but because I had built up UK experience, I was able to continue my career and am still working and doing very well, I would consider myself to be the top upper middle class in UK, all thanks to Allah. However new pakistani students that came after the recession have not been successful and 90% have had to return back and 10% doing petty jobs.

    Last year I also got Canadian PR and went to Toronto on a 1 month holiday, hoping to get a job here, work for 3 years and become a Canadian. But despite my UK experience, I was not able to get much success in my 1 month of job search in Toronto. So I came back and joined my job in UK, but have been remotely applying for roles in Toronto since the past 1 year, but to no luck. Canada is particularly notorious for calling in skilled immigrants who then have to do blue collar jobs. Recommend

  • I am a Khan

    regarding the 2nd or 3rd class citizen status….believe me you are treated much worse in Pakistan if you are a middle class person. In the west you are still better off than in Pakistan, as far as discrimination is concerned.Recommend

  • Tishna

    The you missed is that here in Pakistan you’re not paid for your hard work. If you wanna start business here in Pakistan, all government departments will open their mouths wide open and create undue hurdles just milk out of new comer. This is not the case in abroad. Plus the discrimination is also very much ubiquitous in our dear homeland. The driver of an MNA/MPA is given more respect that qualified person without reference.Recommend

  • http://none Big Man

    So why the Fey you left Pakistan in the first place?Recommend

  • Faraz

    Okay – so I have no idea which middle class Pakistanis you might be referring to here but being someone who belonged to a lower middle class background, I strongly differ in opinion. I graduated at the age of 22 and joined the workforce ‘abroad’ – bore all the expenses for my mother’s treatment back home (which were in millions of rupees), bought my first BMW at the age of 23, paid for my wedding and have supported many people in the family/social circle since then. I strongly believe this would not have been possible if I decided to move back to Pakistan post graduation and had started working for one of the banks there. I am where I am through sheer hardwork…and about being discriminated, I would much rather be at a disadvantage abroad than have to face nepotism, glass ceilings and lack of security back home…finally, I moved from being a lower middle class person to a fairly well-to-do self-made man in a span of few years…could I have expected the same in Pakistan?Recommend

  • v

    I agree with the author, there is no pride in moving abroad to be treated like animals by these so called modern countries. Instead we must focus on taking our country forward. Brain drain is a serious issue and if more people were patriotic, the country can really become wealthy on its own.Recommend

  • KDP

    If possible young South Asians who are not Engineers or Doctors or computer professionals or even without any college degree should move to the USA. After initial problems and frustration mostly caused by linguistic difficulties most will do far better than they would in their native country. Couple earning minimum wage in the USA perhaps is far better off than being poor and unemployed in South Asia. I would rather be poor in the USA than in any South Asian country.Recommend

  • http://UK Saleem

    This is the first class citizen treatment you get if you stay in land of pure. No electricity, adulterated food, no clean drinking water, corruption in every department so need to bribe to get routine jobs done, no law and order etc etc.
    I feel better as a second class citizen in a first class country than a first class citizen in a third class country.Recommend

  • Sigh.

    Jobs? I want to move abroad for peace.Recommend

  • sohail

    This is an interesting article however it is very rarely as black and white as portrayed here. Many individuals have select stories as to how they arrived to their eventual destination. Firstly, the poor state of truly world class education in Pakistan for the masses means only the most privileged can have an education to match that of the West where if they were to come to the West, they would have little trouble integrating. University level education also entails graduates to sit other exams relevant to the country they want to move to.Recommend

  • Kashif Zia

    Give the girl a break. The concept of respect and equality is subjective. Some people would never understand it if they are living in so-called piece and earning well. And do not criticize the author on where she is living. Maybe she is in Canada due to her parents. Look only at what she is saying. Recommend

  • Rock Star

    Well these days people are not moving abroad for earning $$$… they are “running” to save their lives. Honestly, looking at the present situation, this country has nothing to offer so better run and save your life.Recommend

  • Ahmed

    Middle class families in Pakistan are doing much worse, and God forbid if they ever need health care, better education, job assurance etc etc.Recommend

  • shadi

    I think you really have a negative image of people who go abroad, i live in canada my self and life is definitely tough. However one thing i take pride in is the fact that I take responsibility for my own self and I work a LOT harder than I would have in Pakitan. About mortgage, I have a cousin in Pak who cleared all 3 of his CFA exams, but is paid barely over 1 lac which is definitely a lot less compared to what he deserves. with that pay you can’t even afford to send your kids to a good school which usually charge 50000 per month or buy a house ever. It seems like buying a house in Pakistan is left only for the rich upper class or people who have goverment job and are assigned plots. The mortgage does take years to pay off but at least it gets u the house you wanted it interest rates which are a lLOT less compared to those tht are charged in Pakistan. Recommend

  • tj

    This article is overly exagerated , yes there is preferential treatment , but hard work does pay off iam a working as an accountant in kuwait , 25, and as to, and i although they are some negativities but im living a peaceful life with my fam MA. Recommend

  • Milestogo

    We should move to Islamic countries instead – much better.Recommend

  • kaalchakra

    Very good blog.Recommend

  • Naya Pakistan

    There is no country in the world barring our loving brothers in religion where you are treated differently by law. Examples abound of successful stories too numerous to mention. Get a life wherever you are and stop exporting paki values and live within your means. Mingle with the society and try to be a model citizen and don’t, whatever you do, try to light your shoes, otherwise suffer the consequences. Recommend

  • syed hasan

    I guess it depends how you came into foreign country if you are on illegal/student visa you won’t be able to get into a better life style and makes money immediately.But if you are on immigrant/working status than you could make money easily and surely will get a better life style. I’ve many example in relative who came to USA 2-3 years back empty handed(I really mean it..) and now every one have a much better life style as compared to Pak. They can never think of to buy a new model car in pak but here they bought and that too with doing average jobs.


    A new immigrant of USARecommend

  • cautious

    Welcome to the real World. Even American’s who transfer to other countries have to get certified by that country. No one forces you to immigrate — and doing your homework before you immigrate is just common sense.Recommend

  • Final Solution

    I’d prefer to be a 3rd class citizen abroad and live with security of my life and my belongings, than live in Pakistan with insecurity of life and property.Recommend

  • Tee

    I am Pakistani citizen living in the US for over 10 years and I strongly disagree with this blog. I have a huge Pakistani community of friends here. a) None of them drives a taxi. b) they all are well-settled and earning really well. c) none of us faced any discrimination in finding a job. So in the end its the hard work combined with a good education that pays off. Recommend

  • Truth

    Good Stuff!

    I experienced Pakistanis struggling in Europe and North America. If someone says everyone enjoys high income, its not the case. Job market is terribly skewed, its very minimal percentage, who acquire some good working atmosphere.

    I recommend, you learners to gain some practical experience and return Pakistan to broaden the job market in Pakistan. Asian market is key to entire world, while Pakistan is key energy corridor to economic gains of entire region.

    Political instability and insecurities forced many of Pakistani skilled force to leave for peaceful environment. Hope Pakistan picks some sensible political transitions, so it can retain its social capital.

    Otherwise, “dur k dhor shohaney”Recommend

  • Raza Khan

    Hate to disagree with your article! When 9/11 happened we used to live in a suburb of Houston known as Katy mainly due to good schools & exclusive neighborhood where there was hardly any crimes. Except locking from inside at nights, we never locked our house. Coming back to 9/11, in the evening once the residents of that sub division were back from work, they all came to our house assuring us that if there is any issue, please call us, since they knew we were from Pakistan. Can you imagine this happening in Pakistan? Just imagine, you are a Hindu living in Karachi where earlier in the day two passenger air-crafts were rammed in Habib Bank building killing over 3000 Muslims by Hindus. Guess what Pakistanis would have done to that Hindu family living among Muslims? Greatest country in the world to live & die is USA! I love USA & Americans.Recommend

  • sensible

    I totally disgree with writer. I don’t know who fed her with all these about overseas Pakistanis. I am Pakistani in US, I didn’t face any discrimination regarding job and other oppurtunities. Pakistanis In US and mostly in europe are fairly well financially and most of them are highly educated doctors and engineers. Here people don’t judge you by your nationality, rather by your credentials.Recommend

  • Uqs

    Very well written facts, the lady puts forth some realties that go unnoticed, nevertheless no harm in living abroad and helping people where ever you are, the world is in your handsRecommend

  • http://India Akshay, India

    I loved the discrimination part and that too coming from Pakistanis!!!Recommend

  • Parvez

    There are many, many sides, shades and colours to this picture and you have only shown one.

  • The Rebel

    @Rameez: Voting for any leader won’t change a thing. It’s the people who live in Pakistan and their mindset which has to change in order for Pakistan to be ever able to become a normal functioning country.

    With that said, Yes, I will vote for Imran Khan as he seems the best man to take care of the government side of the issues.Recommend

  • mind control

    I would say ‘Go’ all the same, because

    A. No one will bomb you while you play pool, a la Quetta.

    B. And no one will Bomb you while you are sitting at home, a la Abbas Town.

    C. And no one will burn your house down for your religion , a la Joseph Colony.

    D. And no one will knock your house down for writing the Kalima, a la Ahmadi homes.

    PS. But migrate to the ‘decadent’ West- They give you citizenship in 8-10 years. The ‘biradar mumalik’ don’t, even if you serve them all your life.

    PPS- But if you can afford to roam around in a ‘double cabin’ with Kalashnikov guards, stick around in Pakistan, by all means.Recommend

  • World Citizen

    This article is such baloney. You are treated far better in the US then you can ever imagine in the land of pure Pakistan. Moving countries is not easy, but unlike Pakistan, hard work gets you places. If you are a hard worker and know what you are doing, you can move up the social ladder really fast, because unlike in Pakistan, people respect and pay for talentRecommend

  • Raj Kafir

    She mentioned about very high interest rates. Interest rates in Canada are now historically lowest. Banks beg you to lock your mortgage at 3.89%. Recommend

  • Sterry

    @Sigh.: Let’s say you live in Punjab where a majority of Pakistan’s people live and there is relative peace and stability – even then most people from 3rd World countries want to move abroad for better opportunity. The number one source of immigration to Canada is India and China, despite their supposedly booming economies. It goes tos how you that in a global village, people want to move where they can make a better life. You can’t just blame Pakistan any more than you can blame China, India, Africa etc. The problem is that a lot of 3 rd World people, Pakistanis inlcuded don’t have the same work ethic, social skills and even qualifications because the Universities in most devloping countries don’t have the same facilities. Compare a teacher from a developed country to a teacherfrom Pakistan. What this article doesn’t mention is that there are plenty of Pakistanis or immigrants in general who not only toil away in low paying labour jobs but also large numbers that live on state khayrat or social assistance because they don’t work at all. They all conveniently neglect to mention this when they go home to visit relatives and pretend to be millionaires with businesses! I disagree with your contention that Pakistanis are treated any better or worse than other immigrants – people like to make excuses to makeup for the fact that they are not willing to work hard and it’s easy to blame things on racism. Living in the US where Arabs and Iranians suffer more racism than Pakistanis, they often complain that Pakistanis are better off because they don’t suffer the same hatred from people directed against Arabs and Iranians.Recommend

  • Fasi

    See this is the exact problem with Pakistanis. Everyone abroad complaints about racism and being treated as second class citizen, I disagree. It only depends on the personality one has and how loyal he is to his work. I graduated 1 year ago and I had got a decent job before I even graduated. Now I am leaving this job and I am starting a better one from this coming Monday. If you notice your Indian fellows abroad, they are living a lot better life than us and it is not because that they do not belong to pakistan; to a white man we all look the same but because of their positive perspective, they are succeeding in every profession. All we do is complain and blame others. I ask this question from everyone “Why do you think we are treated as second class citizens here when we treat our own citizens in our own country worse than this.” I belong to Peshawar and I have seen how we treat the Afghans, who compared to the Pakistani Pashtoons, are the same color, religion and culture. Recommend

  • http://www.greenrevolt.org Ahmed

    You don’t need 7 years to get you’re degree verified if you’re moving to Australia. It takes less than 6 months to get the status of PE (Professional Engineer) and that is a fact. There is no doubt that you’ll have to struggle to make a decent living but isn’t that the case in Pakistan as well? Moreover, I’m certain that there is very rare chance of being blown up or shot. Can you expect the same in Pakistan? Recommend

  • Mariyah

    I live in Sydney with my family. Have two older sisters and we’re doing just fine.
    Working in corporates earning up to $20 an hour.
    Its not easy but its not hard eaither.
    There is no class difference, its easy to get jobs and you’re SAFE.
    Little bit of hard work wont kill you!
    This is a very discouraging blog.

    even the basements here are hygenically clean, theres running water, electricity and gas ALL THE TIME.
    Driving a taxi does not make you a 2nd class citizen. . Its called ‘hard work’. Recommend

  • kumar

    i dunno how u got these information about discrimination and all but letme tell u my story…i graduated from NED one of top engineerin uni got job of 25K which is like average…in 3.5yrs i got upto 60K and den applied for masters in us and came here…its been 9 months now i am not doin petty jobs im a programmer and i have paid almost half my loan which i got for my education…and in those 3.5 yrs i was robbed 5 times…although i was living in clifton an had a car…plus was discriminated in pakistan told that you are indian and all because of being HINDU(Minority) ! and u wont believe ppl here support pakistanis who come here and get education and jobs! So Hardwork will get u wht u deserve…!Recommend

  • bb

    @ Author
    your blog is so misleading. ive been living abroad for quite a while and never ever have i been discriminated against.. Its us pakistani people, the most racist and discriminatory.. do you have proof or evidence to back your statements?Recommend

  • Atif

    I agree with your article up to some extent because people coming on student visa especially from middle class background face lots of problems because they normally go abroad to settle down not to study as such, once they complete their studies they already know how to survive in that country. As far as professionals came on PR visa have 50/50 chance as they know themselves from inside how good they are. In my experience I have not seen a single PR person is not well settled, secondly there is security, education and better health system as compare to Pakistan and even if you have a very good job in Pakistan you cannot think of having your own house because inflation and corruption ruined the country. I still wants to live abroad unless people like “Imran Khan” who have vision and reputation all over the world to lead the country. If not then I would encourage others to settle abroad with right visa because life in Pakistan without security, jobs, discipline, health and education is miserable for them as well as for their families. Recommend

  • http://gujrat RAW is WAR

    So what is the status of minorities in Pakistan?????


  • Omer

    Well said faraz. Better be a second class citizen in West rather then a 3rd grade citizen in Pakistan. Recommend

  • Uzzi

    @citizen: Yupp.. – you can say that again! Recommend

  • observer

    Many commentators have already commented on job opportunities and standard of living, I will only add one caution.

    Migrate to the ‘decadent West’. They give you full citizenship with all rights, unlike some ‘biradar mumalik’ who will not. And even in your home country the ‘minorities’ don’t have all the rights.

    PS- If you are from a group in Pakistan that moves around in ‘double cabin’ SUVs with Kalashnikov guards, then please stick to Pakistan.Recommend

  • nadeem

    Just want to highlight a different aspect of migrating to the West: raising children. Nothing was more fun and rewarding for me than my 11 years in Texas, but in my late 40’s my world view has changed. I want to raise my children as good Muslims and in the Pakistani mould (just like I was raised). In America you have to work really hard to achieve the first objective, and you have to completely give up on the second objective. Recommend

  • Skeptical

    I agree with you on the excahnge rates.

    My friends working abroad and are leading a more luxurious life then I am here. Better car, better family support, they have the liberty to travel more often because they are able to bear the expenses!! Plus they are in Peace!!
    We do face ethnic differences and “Favourites” culture in our own land and dont get rewarded, then why to blame the foreign-land people.Recommend

  • http://www.linkagoal.com sara-J

    I Think writer share their experience with us . But i am totally disagree because in Pakistan People get degrees in hands but no one gives job without referencing so its better to move out aboard where only gives job on merit basis. If we are talking about current situation of Pakistan so there are no jobs and plus life’s of people are also not safe, its really shamed to our Government that they don’t give shutter to people so that’s why people run away from Pakistan. In aboard people treat you much better than Pakistan. In Pakistan only gives first priority of upper class and there are no value for middle class/lower class so its good for middle class/ lower class that just runaway from these country and safe their lives.Recommend

  • http://arunahussain.com Aruna H

    Pakistanis are the biggest discriminators on the planet, on the basis of religion, sect, caste, gender, color of skin, social class, even area of residence. Discrimination abroad may mean at the worst lack of decent job, discrimination in Pakistan can easily lead to loss of life. What do you prefer.Recommend

  • babu mian

    I am a Pakistani immigrant living in the USA for 16 years. We were “lower middle class” in Pakistan. In Pakistan we were happy and lived in our grandfather’s home. We left Pakistan in the mid 1990’s.

    In America we started from nothing. We lived in a rented basement and eventually bought our own apartment with family support. So yes live in America is though. There is a lot of hidden anti-muslim discrimination in America. America is not the land of milk and honey where you become rich automatically as is imagined in Pakistan. There is a lot of economic struggle and cultural problems. But you still have equal educational opportunities in America and you can still make it with hard work.

    I would say upper middle class people in Pakistan have a better life than most Americans. Stay in Pakistan if you’re happy and well off. Recommend

  • Just random

    First point, we Pakistanis are very racist and discriminatory in a lot of sense so why is it wrong if someone else does it? All said, i don’t think that discrimination is such a big issue as it is made out to be in this article and generally in Pakistan. I have a many friends who moved abroad after their bachlors to UK, USA, Canada and Australia… they all are doing just fine and face no too many issues. The only issue if it can be called an issue is hanging out with natives from that land but then that’s a cultural aspect and not due to any discrimination.

    Any like said earlier in a few posts, Pakistanis of lower and lower-middle class, minorities are treated far worse here then abroad! I would say “WANT TO MOVE ABROAD, DONT THINK, JUST MOVE”Recommend

  • S

    it is a good read. Dont worry too much about comments from people above. People living abroad are very easy to offend.Recommend

  • 80s

    A Lahore-bred, Toronto-bound writer has a word of two about how moving abroad is not the solution. How convenient! Regardless, anyone listening to Abrar ul Haq should be judged even at homeland.Recommend

  • BritPak

    @Rameez. “Pakistanis have a self-hating disease.”

    So, So Right on that and IK/PTI.

    The truth is, unless you’re in the top 5%, scientists, engineers, doctors (jobs of some use/skill, unlike “banking” lol) “outside of pakistan” really doesnt want you. US, UK, Canada..etc.

    Make a change in Pakistan, plant the foundations, and THEN you’ll see opportunities open up.

    180 million people. Possibilities are huge.

    And if you aint going to do that, then be quiet, because otherwise nothings going to change anytime soon. Recommend

  • Shah (Berlin)


    I live in Germany for the last 6 year….studied here and now working…..Yes descrimnation can take place but the way you sketched the picture, I cannot agree with it.

    Living abroad or in Pakistan has it advantages and disadvantages…….I was never treated in Germany as a THIRD CLASS citizen or even second class.

    Yes its a difficult world out there. You have to start from scratch and this makes your life difficult..but if you want ot achieve some thing ..you need to work hard ..simple……..I think you are feeling home sick….Recommend

  • Eman Cheema

    I’d like to clarify that the blogpost was edited by the Tribune and several ideas that come across were not implied. Including the title. Advising people not to move out of the country was not my intention.

    By no means was the purpose of the blogpost was to say that life abroad (or in Canada) is bad. Au contraire, life is great here. But it has not been without hard work.

    Though I am grateful for being here, moving to abroad was not a personal choice.

    My intention was not to express that hard work goes unnoticed, just that for a larger percentage, it has been a difficult journey. If you are among those that made it to the top by sheer hard work, all the more power to you. I would only ask of you not to discount the ways in which you are privileged, and distinguished from those that struggle, that moved abroad seeking a better life or a sanctuary.

    The blogpost was not a comparison of lifestyles; living in Pakistan or abroad both have certain advantages and disadvantages. It was meant to merely highlight that living abroad does not necessarily mean ease.

    Though I am happy for each and every one of you that made it big, for your success, please take into account that your ease of access, your anecdotal evidence, is not representative of all 124,730 Pakistani Canadians. This figure is not accounting for Pakistani immigrants that are not Canadian citizens yet. Neither do your experiences represent the 3% of the Pakistani population that has migrated outside the country.

    My intention was to place an emphasis on the assumptions made by people about immigrants; those that are in Pakistan assume those abroad have always had it easy, and those that are here (abroad) assume the immigrants have come from mud huts.Recommend

  • Shamy

    Depends which industry sector you are in. An accountant or an IT professional can earn loads abroad even if they are from Pakistan. Recommend

  • binger

    my father used to say “jirha ithay koray O Makkah ja kay ve koray”
    means that those who can’t work hard and find a good job in their homeland
    they can’t do well and reluctant to work hard at any other place
    First you have to prove your abilities and skills in your motherlandRecommend

  • sabah

    okay, so i have been going and coming back from america for quite some time now. they never make me wait for 8 hours, yes they make you go through gruesome security but everyone has to do that, everyone takes off their shoes, their belts and why not? we should have such standards in pakistan as well. they don’t want another 9/11 happening i don’t blame them.

    Secondly, what do we really expect. There are people like shahrukh jatoi who flee from our country while they are on trial for murder and you expect people abroad to RESPECT us. BAH HUM.

    and the funny part i still know a mere over 100 people who are living there including most of my family who earn 10 times what they will ever earn there and if you go and ask them why do you choose to stay there, they would have one simple answer.

    ‘good life quality and security’ . trust me no job in pakistan can guarantee you that, even if you are the ceo of lever brothers pakistan.

    and that is worth anything. no parents want their kids to die in a sec or never see their face ever again when they leave home. why shouldn’t we move abroad, allah is everywhere. why are we bombarded with insults on not being patriotic enough. Fine, maybe i really don’t have the guts to be patriotic because i don’t want my kids to die like shahzeb khan did or maybe i want to enjoy my life.

    please let people live and let be.patirotism doesnt mean standing with a flag in ur hand. it means supporting your country wherever and whenever u are.


  • http://tribune.com p r sharma

    Unless you are equipped with skill ( technical) life won’t be easy in the west, i mean how it is assumed in homeland.( just reach there legally and every thing will be fine).Recommend

  • http://www.kirfan.com/ khalid irfan

    Despite of all the issues and challenges i still love Pakistan and strongly believe will see good days too after all these rainy days.. INSHALLAH :)Recommend

  • AIN

    If you are treated as second class citizen in PAK and your Hard work is not getting rewarded and you are facing religious discrimination in PAK then it better to off from this Land.

  • fmk

    Whatever…. In the present scenario of the country nobody wants to live here….. Being treated discriminately abroad is better than being victimised at the hands of dacoits, bandits, extortion mafia and what not on a day to day basis. Discrimination can be tackled by following practical examples from the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)….. Your motive living abroad should be to attain the highest points in your respective work fields….. respect, admiration and recognition will follow….!!! Justuju Jo karay wo chuhay aasmaan….,,,!!!!Recommend

  • Darwesh

    Ms. Eman Cheema,

    This article shows how immature to figure out that a normal Pakistani, in his own country, is deprived of respect, he is discriminated and humiliated in the society due to his regional, religious, lingual background. To add to the ailement and even being highly educated he has no future without “chitthi”, no job, if married he even dont know how to feed his family. With the passage of time Pakistani Society is bringing up children with no or very less moral values. Money is everthing, cleverness or better said cunningness. Ask yourself who get jobs on merit nowadays? Could you start any business to earn “halal” ?? Do you? the list is very long…
    Atleast living abroad nobody pinches you about your religious background, make fool of you and charge anyone with blesphemy what in Pakistan the case is to get rid of “unwanted” people without realizing that at the first instance they are “human” too.
    Abroad if a Pakistani is well educated then he enjoy the status if he struggles for it and if he is competent enough. He has peace of mind and his family is secure. Recommend

  • Ammar

    Disagree completely. This happens but to very few who don’t plan their life well. Life is much better abroad than in Pakistan todayRecommend

  • Raza

    I think what this article is talking about is that life’s not automatically a bed of roses if you go abroad, as many ppl continue to think. Thats all she’s saying. Its true. She’s not saying people dont make it abroad (so ppl, stop quoting your success stories eyes roll). As far as problems go, there are less abroad; that’s a fact. As far as discrimination goes, sure there exists some; but nothing actually troubling unless you get unlucky. Besides, we face discrimination back in Pakistan too, for different reasons of course. Recommend

  • Shanawar Hashmi

    Here are my views on moving/living abroad:
    First off, it depends on the country you’re moving to and what you want out of your life. If you want a muslim environment, but don’t mind discrimination and also okay with not getting a foreign passport, move to the middle east. If you don’t mind discrimination or a muslim environment but need a foreign passport, move to Europe. If you don’t need muslim environment then move to North America.
    Secondly, the best age to make the move is when you’re under 35. Because at that age, you won’t really lose much if you start from scratch.
    Thirdly, adaptability. Most Pakistanis are adaptable and get accustomed to new environments. Although, I agree that for most professions, its hard to find a job. But from my experience, here are some ball park stats from the hundreds of Pakistanis that I’ve met while living abroad:
    50% eventually landed jobs in their profession
    30% got local certifications and improved their credentials, eventually landing themselves jobs in their professions or related
    20% could not get a job in their professions. They switched careers. Some opened up stores or other small businesses. Some got into real estate. 10 years ago many switched to IT.
    10% did not strive hard enough and either ended up either doing odd jobs or returned to Pakistan. For those doing odd jobs, when asked as to why they didn’t go back to Pakistan, they would say that they’re sacrificing for their kids’ future.
    There are a lot of taxes but no tax on food. Food and gas (petrol) is cheap in North America. True, its hard to save but there are several ways to save if you want to.
    True, buying a house is easy but paying it off takes a while if you take out a mortgage. Renting is almost the same in terms of monthly payments but with buying you at least “own” the property. You have to watch the real estate market when buying or selling.
    In my opinion, discrimination exists everywhere – including Pakistan. If you can’t get a job without safarish or rishwat then that is the worst form of discrimination. Having said that, in my brief professional experience in Pakistan, I did get a job without any safarish/rishwat which was back in mid 90s. Maybe things have changed for the worse since.
    Bottom line is that most Pakistanis like myself dearly miss our homeland. We always look forward to the next visit back home as soon as we’ve saved up for the trip (that’s where all our savings go!) We hope for the day when there will be peace, justice and prosperity in Pakistan. Maybe then we would go back home.
    Apart from Pakistan, I’ve lived in Saudi Arabia, UK, USA and currently residing in Canada.Recommend

  • Reality check

    Immigrant is such a horrible word, brings negative connotations immediately.Recommend

  • Raj Kafir

    @Shanawar Hashmi:
    50% +30%+20%=10%=110%. If this type of math is taught in Pakistan, then this atricle makes perfect sense. If you are taking in percentages, the sum total of your variables should not exceed 100 percent.Recommend

  • Shakil

    @I am a Khan:

    exactly my story barring I never tried to go to Canada. Do not agree with writer at all or atleast its not very relevant to UK. came here 14 years ago, done masters in a year, got 4 job offers straight out of university(may be i was lucky), bought the house in suburb 13 years ago. Yes it takes work hard to get to decent levels of success but stereo typing all overseas Pakistanis is completely wrong!

    Only lot i have seen failing here are those who were failure in Pakistan too, most of them get here and set the aim lower or be imported as spouces. People with professional skills do get jobs and are successful in life!Recommend

  • Shah

    Any excellent article. It’s strange that ET has published such an article. I must congratulate the writer for calling a spade a spade. I have lived abroad and second each and every word written in the article. People opposing the views/facts given by the author are the ones who are ashamed to accept their true status outside Pakistan. Any Pakistani who works hard like they do overseas, can and will be successful in Pakistan too. Recommend

  • Shanawar Hashmi

    @Raj Kafir:
    Good catch. Since its a ball park figure as I had mentioned, you can take out the 10% from the first 2 combined. But this was my view only. You may find different estimate from another person.Recommend

  • sana

    i think she lives in Pakistan and just giving her opinion after watching some movies!Recommend

  • intelektual

    How come all my middle class relatives who moved abroad are posting photos of themselves and their Paki wives on FB in sports cars and sub-urban villas on FB within a years time ???
    Not to mention their frequent Holiday trips to neighbouring cities and adventure parks !!!Recommend

  • Shahi

    @p r sharma:
    Even the most skilled will be treated like second class people. A person with quarter the skills will get hired if he is white. Recommend

  • Mehdi

    @Raj Kafir:

    You are very astute sir. Love your analysis.Recommend

  • Mehdi


    Being a taxi driver does not make you a less valuable person. I like anybody who is willing to work hard.Recommend

  • someone

    I think one of the another major reason for Pakistanis to move America is 24X7 availability of power.Recommend

  • HZ

    Err. yah okay. We never said it was easy. Recommend

  • Spigot !

    I had been living in Germany for some time now and I am earning pretty decent. Infact, I can safely say that I am living like a king but honestly it feels utterly hollow. No matter how much we earn, what we do, we are second class citizens. I am never giving up my Green Passport for a Maroon one. Infact, I would return to Pakistan pretty soon. I am determined ! Inshallah !Recommend

  • BB

    @ Shah
    Come on, i am better off abroad where my family is safe, i dont get oggled at by the bystanders, dont get harrassed on daily basis, i get RESPECT here, it’s sad and shameful that I never felt it in my home country where I was born and bred :(
    and last but not the least, no family politics of star plus watching aunties hahaRecommend

  • Sane

    @Ayesha Pervez:

    My husband and I have been living in Canada for 5.5 years and he (my husband) is doing really well, so are his friends. He worked hard and now he falls in the top earning percentage of the country. Hard work gets you places, no work gets you excuses.

    Wow…..that’s great that you are among the elite class. But do not generalize.Recommend

  • Sane


    @ Shah
    Come on, i am better off abroad where my family is safe, i dont get oggled at by the bystanders, dont get harrassed on daily basis, i get RESPECT here, it’s sad and shameful that I never felt it in my home country where I was born and bred :(
    and last but not the least, no family politics of star plus watching aunties haha

    So you ran from your motherland. By the way in which utopia you live now, where you are respected more than your own country.Recommend

  • Asjad

    Take your own advice come back to Pakistan…try it… (I am assuming that you are living abroad that is why you have such 1st hand experience) Recommend

  • Insaan

    Don’t tell that REASON when you go for an interview to US Embassy.Recommend

  • Zee

    Not quite true.
    Based off of circumstances and situations as well.
    Based here in US working for a company which has a market capitalization bigger than the economy of Pakistan. Who wouldnt want to move from $160Billion economy to a $15Trillion economy?
    There are more opportunities and hardwork is rewarded.
    Pakistani and Muslim and never faced any baisness (Allah ka Shukar hai).

    This world is a global village…who cares about countries and all? Just make some money, make some love, save for retirement and kids and die. Period. Why get involved in all these things. Read the news and blogs while having lunch for fun.

    Relax kero sarray :DRecommend

  • Bharat

    @Spigot !:

    Hello Sir, i second what you say and completely agree

    The racism in rich countries is too much, i am sure very successful immigrants are also treated second class citizens and can never integrate

    Its simply not possibleRecommend

  • Rogoff

    Be persecuted, discriminated, killed and maimed in my home country because of the religion i was born into OR move abroad and face some economic hardships in the initial settling in phase?

    I’d happily take the second option any day of the week :)Recommend

  • Umair

    Thanks for the heads up. ignores articleRecommend

  • http://www.relocatesmart.co Lydia Evdoxiadi

    Thank you for this article,

    I work hand-in-hand on the issue of relocation, life away from home and immigration through personal development material. It is a tough one and I really think that you can go right about where you are going by making an ‘Exploratory Visit’. You need to feel you can integrate where you are going to be landing for the long-term. Some locations are more welcoming than others and this also depends on what we are looking for in so many aspects of our lives.

    The best financial investment you can make is to go on a first visit. GO! It’s very similar to dating. First impressions do matter and as you will be forming a close relationship with your new region, it is worth checking it out. Invest allowable time and an allowable amount of money for this visit. If it does not work out well for relocation purposes, cut your losses quickly and turn it into a great vacation to brag about. I mean get out there and live the best in those days and do some excess partying. If it is a great fit, take that victory also. You can win on different fronts. No matter what the result, aim to come back a winner on at least one front and live in the moment.

    What does the exploratory visit accomplish? It helps you spend a bit of your precious time and money to create a perception of where you will be landing for a while, especially if it is going to be for a long while. Contrarily to common belief, you do not need to know everything about your new destination; you just need to know enough. If you are looking to find out everything before you move, it is possible that you will put yourself in paralysis analysis. You will find so many ways to scare yourself and have enough material to write memoirs. The worst is that you won’t be able to decide based on the objective data and distinguish the subjective information from third parties. You need to be in touch with the reality and make that judgment call. The how’s fall into place later and with less effort than imagined.

    This exploratory visit is a minimal and very key investment in both funds and effort and I will key you into the biggest secret about relocation. It is not the surprises that guarantee your success, the initial thrill of the new place, it is the familiarity of the new place and how much of it you can find in the new place to live a balanced life. Familiarity is felt through how good you feel with and about yourself in your new destination. Is the universe working in a synergy with you, or do you feel it is against you? If you feel it is kicking you out, it is probably telling you that you need a better place and there are many places in this universe where we can do very, very well. Places are waiting for you to populate them!

    Best for All
    Lydia Evdoxiadi
    Relocate SmartRecommend