NEAR EAST AND SOUTH ASIA REVIEW

Created: 9/3/1982

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Pakistan: Demographic and Ethnic Threats to Political Stability (u)

Pakistan has experienced exceptional demographic, social, and political turbulence in theean since it itccived independence. The secession of the eastern wing 'o form Bangladesh1 resulted in Ihe loss of more than half of its citizens, and for the second lime in less lhanears. Pakistan had to organize itself. Ethnic and linguistic differencesong divided the people of the region, periodically erupted into political violence, and made the buildingense of national ideality at tiroes appear impossible. Major refugee migrationsnd most recently9 have had lasting social andeffects. The continuing labor migration lo Ihe Middle East, involving millions of workers since the, has already affected the economy and may accelerate social change in the future asnumbers of relatively prosperous workers return, .u)

Rapid Population Growth: The Bottom lane

an expansion of Pakistan'sillion population byillion persons yearly during,otal populationillion0illionu)

The Urban Tiadcrboi

We expect the high level of rural tc urban migration to continue undiminished throughnto an overall annual urban growth rate ofercent and increasing the potential for urban violence as living conditions deteriorate andincreases for jobs and urban services. We forecast

We believe that coniinued rapid population growth will undermine governmert efforts io raise iheof living and deliver basic services equitably to all citizens. Official figures show that basic govern, assail services do not reach even half of the population. We eipect that, as the population continues toprovision of services, irvcreasrng alienation from the central government by segments of society could be exploited by organized dissidenl groups and lead to greater social and political instability H|

We expect the currentcrcent rate of population grossroducl of high fertility and low mortality, to drop only slightly through the rest of the century. Demographic evidence shows no major change in fertility since the; women still have an average of seven children. We believe thai theailure to design family planningacceptable to Pakistani couples virtuallycontinuing high fertiliiy.esult, we project

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registered by (he Unilcd Nation* High Commissioner for Refugees9 and ihe ends:imaied arriv.lt0nd esti-mated births and dciths occurring io ihe refugee population. The Ceniui Bureau projecis Ihai the refugee populaiion will reachillion5illionssuming ihai no additional refugees will arrive or be repairiaiedhe NWFP, including non-Puthiun areas, which currently Snellen abouierceni of ihe refugees, it fast approaching ihe taiuralion poinl in lerms of tuiiable land available for tetilemeoi. according to Wesiern and Pakistani observers.esult, some camps may have io be opened in the Punjab, away from Pushiun ethniclthough government officials say thaiove would be acceptable to Punjabis on ihe basis of Islamic ties, we believe that rrthnic. cultural, and linguistic differences between Pushlurrs andprobably would lead io strained relations or even open

over S2 billionccording io official Pakistani diia. hasoon io Pakistan's economy and figures prominently in government decisions to maxi-mize (he worker exodus. Theworkers overseas representerceni of the total labor force, relieving pressures on ihe domesiic labor market which, according to official data, can employ efficientlyonly about one-liair of all eligi'.lc maleH

Despite Ibis excess tabor, domesiic shortages that have developed in some labor categories have retarded Pakistan's economic development. According to data from labor recruitment agencies, skilled andgeneral laborers are more likely io emigrate (ban Ibe unskilled. World Bank analysis shows ihai skilled domesiic labor migrants have been replaced by less skilled or irveipeiienced workers, which hasa drop in domestic productivily^ocattonalso far has failed io fill Ihe

olriciiWnm Is necesaarily caught up in (he short-term problems of refugee "panagement,ew officials and Other prominent Pakistanion ihe social and economic ramifications for both refugees and Pakistanis of an exiended or permanent refugee stay. Some refugees will inevitably lire of the enforced Idleness of camp life andore active life on the outside. Some have already entered into transportation or commercial enterprises in (he NWFP. as well as in the ours of Rawalpindi and Islamabad: officials say that there are severalliving in Sind Province. These relatively few Afghans, although apparently highly visible, have been absorbed into the economy. But Ihe absorption ofillion poor, mostly uneducated, small farmers or nomads into the alrudy overburdened economy would, in our opinion, present the govern-rricmar more serious management challenge.

In our view, the Pakistani Govcmmeni has undertak-en insufficient long-term planning to meet the social and ecceiomic demands thai will arise when theast job boom ends. Labor Ministry officials, who believe that overseas demands for Pakistani labor will remain high at least ihrougun enhancing and regulating iheerfd Bank migration study, however,rend developing in favor of specialized and professional labor at the expense of the nonspecialisls andas Middle East development projects move ahead. If so, the opportunities for emigration by non* specialized and unskilled laborers may decline before the end of the decade, which would hurt the economy by reducing worker lenuitanccs and throw the bulk of ihe Pakbtani workers back on the ill-prepared domes-lie labor

Labor Emigration

Temporary labor emigration to ihe Middle East has subsianlial short-term benefits for Pakistan, but in our opinion, ithreat lo economic and social stability over ihe long run. The flow of remittances from the migrants, risingllion6 io

emm<n( rKroiunein airncics of ihr mimhrr of FikiiumIcrslly in ihe Middle East rsace from SCO COD toinim We concurke resultsurvey by ihe Pakistan Institute of Developmenthich puis the fitureJ minion. Caesses by various sources place totalllecal worsen, al aboui twice this

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We eiped thai social problems will intensify as increasing, numbers of mif ranis return home wiih money and new experiences. The money earnedcan more ihe returned migrant into the middle class wiih enhanced communiiy standing. We believe that this elevated status may make him less likely to submit to the autocratic demands of landlords, tribal leaders, political leaders, and employers. Pakistani social scientists have described instances where the political and social powers of traditional leaders have been successfully challenged by returned workers. They have also cited cases where the shift of family power from father to sons or to other family members during the absence of the father has created conflict within the nuclear and extended family. Suchare only beginning to be recognized andbut as ihe migration stretches out In time and more migrants return, pervasive social change, always unsettlingraditional society, may

Outlook

Wc believe that many demographic and ethnicwill continue lo trouble Pakistani governments throughoutnd,orst casecould combine with other factors to toppie the Zia regime or its successors:

Inability of government services to keep up with rapid population growth might be manipulated by dissident forces. Overcrowded urban environments almost certainly will encourage antiregimc activity.

Heightened awaic'ts* among Pakistanis that the Afghan refugees may increasingly compete forjobs andll threaten the uneasy surface calm that the government has so far been able lo maintain.

Coniin'.Ld concentration of political power among the majority Punjabis will reinforce ethnic tensions, permitting exploitation by antiregimc agents.

i While we expect the overseas laborers toajor force for economic growth, at least during most of the decade, the return of ihc "newly rich" migrants will lend lu undermine social stability's^^

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