Pakistanis increasingly seeking asylum abroad

Published: September 3, 2016


KARACHI: The number of Pakistanis applying for asylum in the three western countries have spiked in the past year.

Data released by Germany, England and the US recently showed that over 10,000 Pakistanis had sought refuge in these three countries over the past year.

Of the three, Germany saw the most number of Pakistanis apply for asylum. Data from the German interior ministry showed that 9,185 Pakistanis applied for asylum from January to July 2016 (including 156 with repeat applications), the eighth largest group of asylum applicants.

42 Pakistanis deported from UK arrive in Islamabad

This was a nearly threefold increase from the same period in 2015 when 2,546 Pakistanis applied for asylum.

Germany, which saw over half a million migrants arrive from June 2015-June 2016, has been turning away and deporting an increasing number of migrants in recent months. According to a separate report leaked by the German government and obtained by The Express Tribune, Berlin turned away some 13,000 people at its land borders from January to July 2016 for having invalid documents, including 529 Pakistanis. Separately, at least 117 Pakistanis were deported though only 34 were sent back to Pakistan.

In the UK, 2,992 Pakistanis applied for asylum from June 2015 to June 2016 with only 16 per cent of the applications approved.

Data released by the British Home Office this week showed that this was up from the 2,313 Pakistanis who applied for asylum from June 2014-2015. Despite the increase, Pakistan slipped from two to three for the countries whose citizens were applying for asylum owing to a jump in the number of applicants from Iran and Iraq.

Pakistanis make up around three per cent of the 283,078 migrant arrivals in Europe this year.

Pakistani refugees arriving in the US also saw a marked increase in 2016. Data from the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration showed that as many as 376 Pakistanis applied for refuge in America so far in 2016. This was up from 205 in 2015 and the highest at any point since 2011.

Overseas Pakistanis face property grab back home

The data, which classified the refugees by religion, showed that most of those who sought refuge were Ahmadis, with around 247 applying for refuge in the current year, up from 61 in 2015.

At least 78 Christians (up from 76 in 2015) also sought refuge in the country in addition to 33 Shias (up from 15 in 2015). Data from the past five years showed that Ahmadis were the single largest group of Pakistanis seeking refuge in the US with 746, accounting for over half of all Pakistani asylum applicants. Another 240 Christians and 66 Shias sought refuge.

However, their reasons for seeking asylum was not immediately clear.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 3rd, 2016.


Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (28)

  • Humza
    Sep 3, 2016 - 9:05AM

    Have you seen the hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees in Europe, North America and Australia? 10, 000 asylum seekers from Pakistan overseas from a country of 200 million is hardly a big number compared to the Arabs, Somalis, Afghans, Iranians and others seeking asylum in the West.Recommend

  • muhammad iqbal
    Sep 3, 2016 - 10:13AM

    very simple; just think of;

    no electricity
    lack of employment oppertunity
    state terrorism
    meager health facilities

    en lots more………………………………..Recommend

  • Shashi
    Sep 3, 2016 - 11:31AM

    @Humza: Bravo! Keep cultivating this instant defensive attitude. Instead of asking why these compatriots are fleeing your country, you are splitting hairs. I guess you are one of those who also believes in partial pregnancy. Pakistan is in this quicksand only because its citizens adopted this collective attitude. Recommend

  • Mayor
    Sep 3, 2016 - 11:44AM

    @Humza What do you mean it is less in number? Those are just the official registrations. There are lot of people who work underground without getting registered. There are now lot of Pakistanis in Spain. Just visit Madrid you will see them selling some goods on the streets. Pakistanis don’t have a chance at Asylum as European countries think they are not at any war. So some Pakistanis and even Iranians have resorted to converting to Christianity which now makes it impossible to deny Asylum or deport them due to human rights conventions as these countries have hostile attitude towards apostasy.

    Whatever their reasons maybe life in Europe or in the West is not easy. Sure it may be better than Pakistan or which ever country you came from, with better roads, services etc. But after some time those things become static, frustration creeps in because of the pressure that you got to pay your bills to sustain a decent life style. And above all your future in that country will be uncertain until you get citizenship or residence which is not easy to come by as Germany and other countries have tightened integration procedures. Entire EU has a unemployment rate of 10% which is significant number give the size of the continent.What makes these people think with no language or other useful skills they will be given decent job over other EU candidates? Recommend

  • whats in the name
    Sep 3, 2016 - 12:02PM

    If 36 secessionist movements are going on in India, and “J&K” as often claimed, why isn’t any body from India, applying from India, Conspiracy against Pakistan…?Recommend

  • Omer
    Sep 3, 2016 - 1:01PM

    never heard of any minority from India seeking asylum …shows difference in the status of monoirities in Indian and Pak!Recommend

  • Parvez
    Sep 3, 2016 - 1:33PM

    …but Nawaz and his government claim Pakistan is a land of milk and honey.Recommend

  • ABCD
    Sep 3, 2016 - 2:10PM

    With this situation, why Pakistan wants Kashmir? To export Kashmiris to Western countries?Recommend

  • Khalid
    Sep 3, 2016 - 2:17PM

    I see Pakistanis everyday on roads of Frankfurt, the point to ponder is these refugees paid 10-15 lakh to agents to get to shores of Greece and Turkey. And when they arrive in Germany they claim that their lives were in danger in Pakistan, these are economic refugees unlike refugees from SyriaRecommend

  • hayder
    Sep 3, 2016 - 3:31PM

    this is not true, Pakistan is a nuclear power, people from Pakistan do not seek asylum these afghans who have Pakistani ID Recommend

  • Menon
    Sep 3, 2016 - 3:50PM

    How is this possible?

    Why would anyone, ever seek asylum from the “LAND OF THE PURE” and an “ISLAMIC PARADISE” in another country?

    Doesn’t make sense.

    Surely, this is a conspiracy by India, Israel and the US to discredit Pakistan!Recommend

  • Menon
    Sep 3, 2016 - 3:52PM

    @whats in the name:

    Not just India.

    This is a conspiracy hatched not only by India, it includes Israel and the US.Recommend

  • Menon
    Sep 3, 2016 - 3:55PM


    What is being a nuclear power has to do with people seeking asylum?

    Did Pakistan invent a technology to convert nuclear waste into human consumable food?Recommend

  • amir
    Sep 3, 2016 - 4:19PM

    “However, their reasons for seeking asylum was not immediately clear”

    Does this have to do with blasphemy law, persecution, discrimination?Recommend

  • omar cheema
    Sep 3, 2016 - 6:28PM
  • vinsin
    Sep 3, 2016 - 7:14PM

    Not true. Migrated Sikhs of partition were thrown out of India in the 1960’s to Canada and Britain and their properties and land were given to Indian Muslims. Recommend

  • Arif
    Sep 3, 2016 - 7:31PM

    Please stop sending RAW agents. We will be fine.Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Sep 3, 2016 - 7:38PM

    For better understanding, read these news items also:

    Chinese asylum seekers to USA number more than the combined asylum seekers from the rest of the world. China tops both in number of applicants allaying for political asylum in USA and also in the number of such applications being granted.

    The number of asylum seekers from Pakistan has increased worldwide but is on decline in USA.

    Some Sikhs from India try to enter USA taking the asylum route but very few are granted asylum because their applications are determined to be false.Recommend

  • Hijrah Khan
    Sep 3, 2016 - 9:30PM

    Pakistan made of Muslims by Muslims for Muslims, who hated to live within a secular structure. So even after 70 years, they have not figured out how to live with others <=== Failed state.Recommend

  • kdp
    Sep 3, 2016 - 11:02PM

    Somebody please have this article read by Indian Kashmirs.who want to be in Pakistan Recommend

  • Np
    Sep 4, 2016 - 12:05AM

    There is a major civil war going on in Syria and Iraq and Somala. Refugees from these countries are not limited to any given sect. In Pakistan it is the non-Sunni minorities which are seeking refuge and population of minorities in Pakistsn is NOT 200 million.Recommend

  • Np
    Sep 4, 2016 - 12:14AM

    @omar cheema:
    Infia had a Sikh PM, Sikh COAS and until a couple of years back a Sikh head of planning commission. The PM of Punjab is Sikh and there are two Sikhs in Modi cabinet. These Sikhs are not in danger in India and hence denied asylum.

    In any case, 20% of India’s population is a minority i.e. 250 million people. Yet the total seeking asylum is 68. Compare that to 10,000 Pakistani minorities seeking asylum when barely 5% of Pakistani population or 10 million is a minority.

    Can you see the difference?Recommend

  • Indian
    Sep 4, 2016 - 2:21AM

    And you wonder why Indians are not ready to give up Kashmir! Last time we gave up land to Muslims the native population got wiped out (both in east and west Pakistan). Recommend

  • Maria
    Sep 4, 2016 - 5:21AM

    @muhammad iqbal: There are more Indian asylum seekers abroad than Pakistani asylum seekers; The fact that only Ahmadis and non Muslim minorities from Pakistan get asylum abroad tells you Pakistan is more stable and not considered dangerous for people than all the other Muslim lands and even India.Recommend

  • Kajamohideen
    Sep 4, 2016 - 6:29AM

    @omar cheema. India had a Sikh prime minister for ten years from this “persecuted” minority’s. How come? Recommend

  • Hashaam
    Sep 4, 2016 - 7:25AM

    @Omer: Because in India, the minorities get killed, or at best hospitalized, before they can even apply for asylum.Recommend

  • Hashaam
    Sep 4, 2016 - 7:27AM

    @whats in the name: ‘Indian media’. I don’t blame you for turning to a Pakistani news site for your doses of information.Recommend

  • Trollslayer
    Sep 4, 2016 - 2:38PM

    Afghans cannot pass themselves off as Pakistanis, we don’t look like you guys. You got it twisted my friend, it’s the Pakistani Pashtuns who pass themselves off as Afghans in the West.Recommend

More in Pakistan