From a distance, the country seems senseless given the unstoppable fleeing of individuals from their birthplace for a better, brighter, and burgeoning future. The state appears to be unconcerned about intellectual and academic deprivation, as it is as heedless as ever. Following the continuous surge in brain drain in Pakistan, it is not shocking that a recent report issued by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) demonstrates that over 62 per cent of youngsters want to bid adieu to the country for foreign pastures. The motivation for the will is economic, followed by equal opportunities for all and a level playing field. Ironically, Pakistan, economically depressed for decades, plays no role in this regard. And, do jingoism and patriotism bring bread and butter to those who possess these characteristics? Of course not. The authors of “Why Nations Fail” argue that if the elite and those in power are willing to let it happen, a country’s development and participation by all are possible. The contributions of skilled individuals are the machinery behind development and prosperity. However, the deep elite capture in the country is the reason for coercing skilled people to leave. All the social, economic, and political rights available outside the country, as they think, await them. And, to a large extent, their thinking is correct. Freedom, liberty, equal disbursement, and a standardized life standard in foreign countries are what motivate them to leave the country. The Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employment reports that since 1971, over 10 million citizens have left the country for more rewarding financial and professional prospects abroad. Some of the causes that fuel the brain drain are social injustice, sheer discrimination, the absence of institutions creating jobs time and again, and colonial mendacious practices. According to a recent report, over 765,000 people left Pakistan for other countries in 2022, nearly tripling the 225,000 departures in 2021 and 288,000 emigrants in 2020. This year’s data also included 92,000 highly-educated people such as doctors, engineers, information technology experts and accountants. The destination is mainly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the Middle East and Europe, as well as Romania and others. Collective progress remains a distant dream as long as potentially filled and polished professional and skilled people are not engaged in nation-building. Even after marking its diamond jubilee, Pakistan remained stagnant because authoritarian regimes and dictatorships are unwilling to change the country and hand over institutional services to talented individuals. Collective progress remains a distant dream as long as potentially filled and polished professional and skilled people are not engaged in nation-building. Even after marking its diamond jubilee, Pakistan remained stagnant because authoritarian regimes and dictatorships are unwilling to change the country and hand over institutional services to talented individuals. Doctors, economists, and other highly qualified and skilled individuals are not welcomed after the degree. Resultantly, no option remains but to work outside Pakistan. Lack of professionalism, meritocracy, rampant nepotism and a hierarchical approach differentiate the country from the rest. If someone somehow escapes these traps, the incompetency within the field triggers a trap to oust that particular individual. No doubt, the country is that helpless. Some argue Pakistan runs on remittances; sans them, the country could collapse economically if only a deficit prevails, which is only possible if a portion of the population lives outside the door. However, If Pakistan focuses on brain gain and is a doer of action to stop it, the dividend will be beyond surprise since the increase in production, and enhancement in intellect and intelligence can make Pakistan able to stand up on its feet, which is more profitable. Newness, creativity, and innovativeness undoubtedly pay the best price. However, Pakistan, as it has been, denies even accepting the brain drain and lifting its foot from the accelerator. The longer this prevails, the worse it is for the intellectual pool. The status quo’s unwillingness remains one of the major hindrances to individuals entering the system and playing their part. What if Pakistan runs out of intellectual capacity? This question is not a new normal. On which pace Pakistanis are leaving the country, these circumstances will not be exceptional. Already living in Orwellian dystopia, Pakistan will get worse, it may face default later and even collapse socially, politically and financially. Way forward? Pakistan 2.0. This may open the door for brain gain, let alone brain drain, if a new direction is taken to provide a level playing field for all, creating a secure atmosphere, enhancing digitalization, using technology to treat aspirants, and letting new talent enter the market instead of providing retired army officers to contribute for the welfare of the system and the country. In other words, opportunity creation, welcoming creativity and innovativeness, and time need compensation, as well as equal disbursement, which is the antidote to this malaise. The writer is a freelancer columnist based in Kandhkot, Sindh. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.