On May 16, frustrated with an unexpected internet shutdown in Pakistan, Karachi-based app developer Wajahat Karim posted a poll on LinkedIn. The 32-year-old asked his connections if they wanted to move abroad “considering the uncertainty in the country these days.” To Karim’s surprise, 70% of the 399 people who voted — mostly tech workers and mid-tier professionals — responded with a yes.

“I didn’t expect such an overwhelming majority to say they wanted to leave Pakistan,” Karim told Rest of World. He said the political and economic circumstances in the country had made it very difficult to work without constant roadblocks, prompting many professionals to want to leave. “There are no proper payment gateways, mass unpredictability and uncertainty, an absence of reliability and trust between [remote] workers and the government,” said Karim.

Part of the frustration expressed in reaction to Karim’s post came from a recent four-day internet shutdown across Pakistan, which started on May 9 amid widespread protests against the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges of corruption. 

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