ISLAMABAD: Over a quarter of a million Pakistanis have been deported from 125 countries since 2013 when the PML-N government swept to power, the National Assembly was told on Thursday.
Some 140,393 or more than half of all the Pakistanis deported during this period were from Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates accounted for 23,330 explusions -- the second highest number of Pakistani deportations.
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Parliamentary Secretary Interior and Narcotics Marriyum Aurangzeb presented these figures in the National Assembly on Thursday, in reply to a question from MNA Sajida Begum.
According to official statistics, Saudi Arabia accounted for the highest number of Pakistani deportations. In 2013, the kingdom sent back 25,599 Pakistanis, 45,456 in 2014 and 61,403 in 2015. In 2016, the Saudi authorities expelled around 7,935 Pakistanis. The highest number of Pakistani expatriates work in Saudi Arabia.
Coming second in the list of countries that booted out unwanted Pakistanis was the United Arab Emirates which sent home around 23,330 green passport holders.
The United Kingdom has deported around 7,777 Pakistanis since 2013, while 358 were expelled from the United States during the said period.
Other countries that deported a significant number of Pakistanis include South Africa, Thailand, Turkey, Russian Federation, Germany and Bahrain.
MNA Sajida Begum asked Marriyum Aurangzeb if the Pakistani deportees were sent back without any logical reason. The parliamentary secretary replied that among the several reasons for deportation was illegal documentation, overstay, passport and other issues. “Nobody is deported without any reason,” she said.
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She said the government formulated the first-ever deportation policy of the country and drafted a database had started functioning in the Federal Investigation Authority.
Salaries of MNAs
Otherwise a dull day of business in the house piqued the interest of MNAs when Sajida Begum asked Parliamentary Secretary Finance Rana Afzal about a possible salary hike for members.
“Well, I cannot answer as if and when this is done I will also benefit,” said Afzal with a smile. Maulana Amir Zaman took no time in stating that the total package they were getting was Rs70,000 inclusive of all allowances. “It is quite difficult to run the house with such a meagre salary as we have to pay rent, utility bills and food for our children,” he said to which the speaker asked Rana Afzal for a response.
The parliamentary secretary on finance said that he would forward to the finance ministry, whatever the speaker recommended.
“I would if the ministry fell under the National Assembly,” he replied candidly.
It was then Aftab Sherpao who rose angrily, blaming Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for lying before the house to increase the salaries of lawmakers. Jamshed Dasti also chipped in to add that he was the poorest member of the assembly and lived in a rented house and travelled by bus.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 18th, 2016.
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