ISLAMABAD: Name a country, any country, and it will probably have deported Pakistanis.
More than half a million Pakistanis have been deported from 134 countries around the world since January 2012, according to statistics submitted to parliament.
While it is commonplace for Pakistanis to be deported from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and a number of European Union member states, many smaller and lesser-known countries have also booted Pakistani nationals for a number of reasons.
Most Pakistanis would not even have heard of some of these countries, much less be able to locate them on a map.
Though the total number of deportees from these states was small compared to the developed world, some of the places where Pakistani nationals were kicked out from are countries like Laos, Togo, Port Louis, Lesotho, Liberia, Guinea, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Burundi, Madagascar, Malawi, Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Mozambique, Angola, and Ethiopia.
The name of the tiny African nation of Lesotho was even spelt incorrectly.
In response to a question put forward by Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini, the interior ministry placed before the Senate a list of countries from which Pakistanis have been deported and their annual breakdown from January 2012 till June 30, 2017.
Of the 544,105 Pakistanis deported, 71,723 were expelled in 2012; 79,539 in 2013; 78,409 in 2014; 116,185 in 2015; 111,084 in 2016; and 87,165 in just the first six months of 2017.
Saudi Arabia topped the overall list, followed by the UAE, Oman, Malaysia, the UK, Turkey, and Greece.
The Ministry of Interior started tabulating reasons for deportations from 2014. Overstaying visas, lost passports, passport retained by Kafeel (visa sponsors or employers), illegal immigration, entry refused, and other illegal entries are the most common of the 115-plus reasons for which these people were sent back home by the authorities of these countries.
Data placed before the Senate shows an ever-increasing number of Pakistanis being deported from Saudi Arabia. It deported more than half of the total – 280,052 people.
In 2012, a total of 17,369 people were deported from the kingdom in 2012; another 33,351 in 2013; followed by 45,456 in 2014; 61,404 in 2015; and 57,784 in 2016.
Pakistani nationals were deported from Saudi Arabia. The record from 2015 has already been broken this year, as 64,689 have been deported from January to June 2017.
The UAE did the second-most deportations – 10,235 in 2012; 9,597 in 2013; 8,434 in 2014; 8,690 in 2015; and 9,987 in 2016. The Emirates had deported 5,115 Pakistanis by June 30 this year.
Oman was third, having sent home a total of 20,416 Pakistani nationals during this period.
It was followed by Malaysia, which deported 16,124 Pakistanis in this period. The UK deported 13,700 and Turkey 9,776 Pakistani nationals during this period.
Among non-Brexit EU countries, Greece tops the list with 16,591 Pakistani deportees, followed by Italy with 887, Germany with 815, France with 798, Spain with 408, Belgium with 315, Norway with 265, and Austria with 248 deportees from January 2012 till June 30, 2017.
Other notable European deporting states were Sweden with 98, the Netherlands with 123, Bulgaria with 165, Cyprus with 316, Romania with 145, and Switzerland with 58 Pakistanis deported during this period.
The US deported 832 Pakistanis, while Canada sent home 337.
Interestingly, Pakistanis were also deported from war-torn countries in the Middle East. Iraq deported 27 Pakistanis in 2012; 85 in 2013; 79 in 2014; 102 in 2015; 121 in 2016; and another 90 till June this year.
Yemen deported 16 each in 2012 and 2013; seven in 2014; 49 in 2015; and seven by June of this year. Syria deported 33 Pakistani nationals, all of them in 2012. Libya deported 50 Pakistanis in 2012; 59 in 2013; 129 in 2014; 48 in 2015; one in 2016 and four by June this year.
Neighboring Iran deported 10,346 Pakistanis in 2012, followed by 6,358 in 2013, declining sharply to 50 in 2014; 71 in 2015; 78 in 2016; and 50 by June this year. Eastern neighbour India deported 12 Pakistanis in 2012; six in 2013; 13 in 2014; 10 in 2015; five in 2016; and three by June this year.
China deported 240 Pakistanis. Of these 26 were in 2012; 39 in 2013’; 36 in 2014; 46 in 2015; 80 in 2016; and 13 by June this year.
Meanwhile, western neighbour Afghanistan deported a total of 32 Pakistanis – one each in 2012 and 2013; 29 in 2014; and one in 2016.