Deportations on the rise

The people of Pakistan are willing to travel almost anywhere in search of a job or a better life

Editorial September 06, 2017

The people of Pakistan are willing to travel almost anywhere in search of a job or a better life, and they get to a remarkable range of countries to do just that. Many of them succeed, and enrich themselves, their families and the nation courtesy of the remittances they send home. Yet not all of them do and a startling number are deported from their country-of-choice for a range of reasons. In response to a question, the interior ministry has placed before the Senate the details of over half a million Pakistanis that have been deported from 134 countries since 2012. Depending on sources there are 195 countries in the world today not including Taiwan, the Cook Islands and Niue. There are only another 61 countries that have yet to deport a Pakistani and it might be assumed that those absent in the list will eventually be covered.

There are some rarely-visited spots that have tossed out Pakistanis for instance, and most of the population would be hard pressed to find them on a map were they asked. The reasons for deportation — and there are 115 reasons cited — include overstaying visas, lost passports, passport retained by Kafeel (visa sponsors or employers), illegal immigration, entry refused and a range of other illegal entries.

The numbers of deportations are rising. There were 116,185 in 2015, 111,084 in 2016, a small drop, and 87,165 in the first six months of 2017 indicating another potential record breaker. With Saudi Arabia topping the list of deporters with more than half of the total and the other states of the Peninsula in the tens of thousands the magnetic pull of destinations is clear enough. What was not answered in the Senate was just why so many people left their homeland. Lack of a job is the obvious answer but it is more than that. Their country of birth has failed to give them the opportunities and education that would counterbalance the urge to leave. Cracking that conundrum is a challenge for all our futures.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2017.

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