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.