Five million illegal immigrants residing in Pakistan

Published: January 16, 2012

Refugees returning from Pakistan and Iran find themselves homeless or living in slums under tarpaulin. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Around five million illegal immigrants have been residing in different cities of Pakistan for more than three decades.    

The illegal immigrants, around two million Bangladeshis, 2.5 million Afghanis and 0.5 million other nationals including Africans, Iranians, Iraqis and Myanmars, are currently living in Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and other cities, an official said on Monday.

Regarding steps taken to control the flow of illegal immigration in the country, the official said that the Anti-Trafficking Units at Provincial Police Headquarters have been established to combat internal human trafficking while Inter Agency Task Force (IATF) has also been established.

He said the other measures are replacement of Personal Identification Secure Comparison Evaluation System (PISCES) by Integrated Border Management System (IBMS), having biometric facility, introduction of Machine Readable Passports (MRPs), black-listing of traffickers and installation of Human Trafficking Information System (HUTIS).

Establishment of Immigration check-post at zero point-250 in Balochistan, promulgation of Prevention and Control of Human Trafficking Ordinance (PACHTO) 2002, effective coordination with NGOs/IGOs for public awareness campaign through electronic and print media, installation of Immigration Intelligence Unit at FIA Headquarters with help of British High Commission were the other steps taken to control illegal immigrants.

Moreover, he said, seminars, documentaries, walks are being conducted regularly while pamphlets are distributed in different cities of the country as part of campaign to control those immigrants.

He said due to such efforts, Pakistan has been upgraded from Tier-II Watch List to Tier-II in the annual Trafficking in Person Report (TIP) 2010 published by State Department of United States and this year the country has maintained the same status of Tier-II in TIP Report 2011.

About the reasons, the official said the partition of Pakistan in 1971, cold war in Afghanistan in 1980s, poor law and order situation in Iraq, deteriorating economic and social conditions in these countries and friendly policies and international obligations on Pakistan to accommodate Afghan refugees resulted in the surge of immigrants number.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (38)

  • Baber
    Jan 16, 2012 - 5:24PM

    There has to be a serious crack down on all the illegal immigrants and should besent back to their countries, particularly the Afgans who are much more then the papers mention….

    Recommend

  • Jan 16, 2012 - 5:52PM

    2 million bangladeshis? and iraqis, Burmese, iranians, africans – good god how many find it safe heaven here??? 5 million???

    Recommend

  • sashayub
    Jan 16, 2012 - 6:13PM

    in a very very loose definition, i would still consider Bengladeshis/Biharis as pakistani…but these arabs, the afghans and people from CIS and north africa should be deported without thought….why isnt the government doing anyting about them???they are like termites eating away at our resources, and causing more harm than we can afford.

    Recommend

  • Sweet Dee
    Jan 16, 2012 - 6:49PM

    @Sashayub

    “in a very very loose definition, i would still consider Bengladeshis/Biharis as pakistani”

    ?????

    Biharis aren’t Bengali. Maybe you’re confusing the Biharis who migrated from East Pakistan (during the ’71 war) with Bengalis. Considering they migrated TWICE for the sake of Pakistan, they’re more Pakistani than you’ll ever be.

    As for the people who’re surprised at the 5-million illegal immigrants claim, i trust you’ve never been anywhere near Afghan Camp/Al-Asif in Karachi.

    Recommend

  • Salim
    Jan 16, 2012 - 7:00PM

    They should all be sent back to their countries without any consideration.They dont belong here.They dont deserve any sympathy.Will their countries allow even hundreds of Pakistanis to live there??

    Recommend

  • OMG
    Jan 16, 2012 - 7:17PM

    5 million is an official number, actual numbers sre some 20 million, half of afghan nation is living is Pakistan. According to UN report, that was provided by Pakistan gov’t 135 thousand people died
    or injured in car accidents in 2010, when a NGO in Karachi carried out a private survey and according to them only 5 major hospitals in Karachi received that many people. So now you would have an idea how accurate our gov’t stats could be..

    Recommend

  • Norman
    Jan 16, 2012 - 7:41PM

    Bangladeshis are NOT Pakistani’s!!!In 1971they said they were not,so they should be first to be sent back..There is now such a huge number of Bangladeshis especially in Karachi that they are a potential vote bank for some politicians..In the political rally arranged by Musharaff’s party a few days ago,he tried to woo them by promising them legal status..and no one mentioned the continious stream of Indian Muslim visitors who never return.A very conservative estimate is around 10,000 plus a year,yet the authorities turn a blind eye..And now,there is the Central Asian influx..Pakistan for PAKISTANIS ONLY!!!!

    Recommend

  • Abdullah Karim
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:35PM

    You send BDeshis back to us,and you should take back 3 mil Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh. How long can we feed them?Recommend

  • Cynical
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:35PM

    It beggars belief why millions would migrate to Pakistan.For what? When Pakistanis themselves are trying to migrate to all directions.Afghans offcourse is a different case.

    Recommend

  • Singh
    Jan 16, 2012 - 8:46PM

    What about millions of Pakistani who migrate to other country illegally ? Those are biggest resource of income for GOP.

    Recommend

  • Irshad Khan
    Jan 16, 2012 - 9:52PM

    How these illegal immigrants have crossed our borders and entered into our homeland while lot of forces and agencies are said to be alert on our borders? Once these foreign nationals should be hauled and sent to their countries and borders sealed with barbed wires and proper posts/picketing otherwise Pakistan is becoming a homeland of all type of vagabonds, fugitives, trafickers and criminals. This problem is to be dealt with top priority before it is too late.

    Recommend

  • Erfan
    Jan 16, 2012 - 10:41PM

    Dude, give them nationality or something. If Pakistani spends 5-10 year in US he will ask for US citizenship or something. Shouldn’t Pakistan reciprocate the same act with these people? Plus they have invested massively in Pakistan, take Afghans for example, not all of them were poor, they sold their business/lands in Afghanistan and invested in Pakistan.Recommend

  • Erfan
    Jan 16, 2012 - 10:56PM

    One more thing, lot of people haven’t commented on the amount of capital those immigrants have transferred to Pakistan. Lot of those immigrants during the cold war sold their businesses/lands/jewellery to invest in Pakistan. How many of those immigrants gave around 500,000 to 1000,000 to your agents to get transferred to other country. If 100,000 ppl used Pakistani agents, imagine how much you earned in black.

    Recommend

  • Jan 16, 2012 - 11:20PM

    Quite amusing to see up to 2 million Bangladeshis in Pakistan since according to many arrogant Bangladeshis their country has “better eduction” and is better developed than Pakistan. Many Muhajirs and their Sindhi parrots also chant this. I’d really urge the Bengalis who believe bangladesh is a better country than Pakistan to come and explain to these Bangali immigrants that Bangladesh is so great with it’s higher production of Walmart T-shirts to Pakistan with it’s technology exports.

    Recommend

  • Javed
    Jan 17, 2012 - 12:18AM

    I am not surprised people are angry but these people are already here, legally or illegally, and they are not leaving. Our law enforcement is inept and even if they change, this is still a huge problem. We should simply accept these people as Muslim brothers and sisters except those who are involved in crime. They should be sent back to their country. This is the most practical thing to do, otherwise PIA will go bankrupt footing the bill for transporting these people.

    Recommend

  • Muhammad
    Jan 17, 2012 - 12:22AM

    I am appalled by such xenophobia! Do you even know how many Pakistanis live as illegal immigrants in so many countries around the world? Give these people some sort of legal status so they can contribute to society, rather than turn them away.

    Recommend

  • Jan 17, 2012 - 12:43AM

    Paksitan is like Karachi … it never quits opening its arms .. no matter how blood it raeps

    Recommend

  • Cautious
    Jan 17, 2012 - 1:11AM

    Negative comments about immigrants is not surprising given the xenophobic nature of Pakistan — last I looked there are over 7 million Pakistani’s living abroad – wonder what would happen to them if those countries were as xenophobic as Pakistan?

    Recommend

  • Pakistani in US
    Jan 17, 2012 - 2:29AM

    @Cautious “last I looked there are over 7 million Pakistani’s living abroad”
    There’s no excuse for illegal occupation whether it’s Pakistanis abroad or other nationalities in Pakistan. World politics have battered most Pakistanis for things not even in their control, and they haven’t got a freaking break for past 10 years. So, this is mostly tit for tat. And besides, I hate to compare us with your country, but since you are asking for it, you should also check for your track record. South Indians are the worst when it comes to negative attitude towards Pakistanis without any rhyme or reason. Self introspection is good once in a while I’d say.

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Jan 17, 2012 - 2:37AM

    @Norman:

    “..and no one mentioned the continious stream of Indian Muslim visitors who never return.A very conservative estimate is around 10,000 plus a year….”

    I think you are wrong here. No Indian Muslim illegally migrates to Pakistan. In fact, it is the other way about. The only Indian Muslims who migrate to Pakistan are mostly brides who marry Pakistanis.

    Recommend

  • Colin
    Jan 17, 2012 - 3:24AM

    I was greatly amused by the comments regarding the Pakistanis who want all their illegal immigrants removed. Clearly, they want Pakistan for Pakistanis.

    Well, I could say exactly the same for England. Pakistanis and Bangladeshis have colonised large areas in our cities and are gradually turning them into replicas of their homelands. Including the extremists who are working to create an Islamic state in my homeland.

    I can sympathise with the people in Pakistan who want immigrants removed, because I want exactly the same thing for England. I do not want Pakistani or Bangladeshi immigrants in my country. I do not want their culture, their religion, their ever growing number of mosques and madrassas or their halal slaughtered meat in my shops.

    Neither do I want the hundreds of thousands of Africans, Asians and East Europeans in my country either.

    Perhaps we English should take similar actions to remove these neo colonists from England, that the people of our former colonies took to remove us.

    Recommend

  • Temur
    Jan 17, 2012 - 3:35AM

    Only Afghans and Bangladeshis are considered illegal? What about those those hundreds of thousands (or may be in millions) of Indian Muslims who are living illegally in Karachi alone?

    Recommend

  • Khurram
    Jan 17, 2012 - 3:36AM

    What is there to worry about? Which cannot be taken care of. There are about the same number of legal and illegal Pakistani immigrants in other countries across the globe presenting a good numerical balance and their remittances are the biggest contribution towards the much needed foreign exchange, a mere fraction of the fraction of it can easily be allocated to look after these helpless and unfortunate people.

    Recommend

  • Temur
    Jan 17, 2012 - 3:38AM

    @Abdullah Karim. The number of those Biharis are not in millions and unlike your millions of Bangladeshi countrymen they are not living illegally in your country, they are as Bangladeshi as you are. Accept this fact and move on.Recommend

  • Umar
    Jan 17, 2012 - 4:32AM

    @Cautious:

    “Negative comments about immigrants is not surprising given the xenophobic nature of Pakistan”
    LOL,Your negative comments are not surprising given your known bias and hatred towards Pakistan, seen here at ET.

    Considering we have hosted people from all over for last 30 yrs, and they feel confortable to bring their money, property and families here to raise, rather than their countries of origin. 5m is just an estimate, there are lots more than that. You should ask them of about our Xenophopic nature. I personally know Iranian Bahai’s living here who moved in 80′s, they had a chance to move to Europe with rest of their family but chose to stay here and are happy.

    You didn’t specify that majority of 7 million Pakistanis are living abroad legally. If you haven’t noticed, this article is about Illegal people. Personally I think anyone born in Pakistan is a Pakistani, regardless where their parents came from. And people who have lived here long enough should be documented. Hopefully they can be brought under tax system with rest of Pakistanis one day. Stay Cautious but don’t forget the FACTS.

    Recommend

  • cric fan mani
    Jan 17, 2012 - 7:08AM

    @Cautious: Are those 7 million illegal immigrants?

    Recommend

  • optimist
    Jan 17, 2012 - 7:26AM

    wow they must be really desperate!

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Jan 17, 2012 - 7:55AM

    @Temur:

    “What about those those hundreds of thousands (or may be in millions) of Indian Muslims who are living illegally in Karachi alone?”

    I already answered a similar question above. Again, let me state that Indian Muslims do not migrate to Pakistan illegally, but it is the other way about. Indian Muslims, mostly women, migrating to Pakistan do so legally as the spouses of Pakistani citizen.

    In any event, Pakistan created to be the homeland for all the Indian Muslims. So, how can there be anything illegal about it?

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Jan 17, 2012 - 8:02AM

    @Temur:

    “@Abdullah Karim. The number of those Biharis are not in millions and unlike your millions of Bangladeshi countrymen they are not living illegally in your country, they are as Bangladeshi as you are. Accept this fact and move on.”

    I agree that the number of strander Beharis in BD is about half a million. But, they never considered themselves Bangladeshis even to this day. They colluded with the Pakistani army in the 1971 genocide. Their loyalty was always with Pakistan. It is a shame that Pakistan has refused to take them even after 40 years and instead let them rot in squalid refugee camps.

    Recommend

  • Chaman
    Jan 17, 2012 - 8:08AM

    People here are confusing illegal immigration with legal immigration.

    Recommend

  • BS.Detecter
    Jan 17, 2012 - 8:24AM

    @Cautious:
    Did you purposely left out the word ILLEGAL?

    Legal Immigrants are welcome anytime, but not illegalRecommend

  • Pakistani in US
    Jan 17, 2012 - 8:52AM

    @Colin Do you understand the different between an illegal alien and an immigrant? I don’t think so.

    Recommend

  • Adil
    Jan 17, 2012 - 10:01AM

    We shouldn’t call Bengalis living in Pakistan illegal since they were/are Pakistanis by choice unlike many of us who are Pakistanis by chance/birth/luck. In 1971 they could have opted for the newly created country of Bangladesh but they didn’t, and stayed loyal to Pakistan only to be categorized as illegal immigrants 40 years down the road.

    Recommend

  • kasim.lahore
    Jan 17, 2012 - 10:31AM

    @Temur:

    Indian Muslims migration cannot be illegal. They have right to come here and settle at any point of time if they want. We have to accept them.

    This is the basic requirement considered while formation of our country.

    Recommend

  • Observer
    Jan 17, 2012 - 10:48AM

    @Temur:

    “What about those those hundreds of thousands (or may be in millions) of Indian Muslims who are living illegally in Karachi alone?”

    I already answered a similar question above. Again, let me state that Indian Muslims do not migrate to Pakistan illegally, but it is the other way about. Indian Muslims, mostly women, migrating to Pakistan do so legally as the spouses of Pakistani citizen.

    In any event, Pakistan was created to be the homeland for all the Indian Muslims. So, how can there be anything illegal about it?

    Recommend

  • Temur
    Jan 17, 2012 - 2:36PM

    @kasim.lahore And you will fail if I ask you to back up your assertions with facts.

    Recommend

  • Jan 17, 2012 - 8:30PM

    All the illegal immigrants’ must be thrown out ,for the safety of people and the country itself.

    Recommend

  • Bangladeshi
    Mar 5, 2012 - 3:35AM

    In 1974 we took back about half million Bengali from Pakistan. But, in these 40 years, Pakistan didn’t do it. Biharis are not citizen of Bangladesh.

    First apologize for the genocide you made in 1971, then give back the debt of Bangladesh since 1947-71. And after DOING these take away the biharis. Bangladesh will take the homeless Bengalis of Pakistan.

    Recommend

More in Pakistan