ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly was informed on Monday that about two million Pakistanis travelled abroad over the past three years for employment.

Answering a question in the lower house of parliament, Parliamentary Secretary for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Shafqat Hayat Baloch said that 953,945 people had moved to Saudi Arabia, 112,670 to Oman, 845,000 to UAE, about 23,000 to Bahrain, 45,000 to Malaysia and 277,108 to Qatar in the same period.

He said that National Migration Policy had been drafted in 2008 but it could not be finalised because of devolution of the then Ministry of Labour and Manpower under the 18th Amendment.

In reply to a question raised by Dr Shazia Sobia, he said that about 3.417m Pakistani workers had registered themselves for overseas employment over the past five years.

He said that the ministry concerned was making its best efforts to increase export of manpower to different countries and the country had signed MoUs with Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and UAE for the purpose.

Federal Minister for Commerce Dastgir Khan said that the business community would be provided opportunity to participate in more than a dozen exhibitions being organised in various African countries.

Answering a question of MNA Sajida Begum, he said that the ministry of commerce had prepared a calendar of international exhibitions for 2015-16 and the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) had evolved a strategy for participation of Pakistani businessmen in these exhibitions.

He said that some 221 companies had participated in a recent exhibition.

The minister said that the government was making efforts to make the system of allocation of stalls in the exhibitions more transparent and it was also encouraging women participation in such events.

He said that TDAP had participated in 59 exhibitions in 2014-15.

He said 14 exhibitions would take place this year in African countries including Morocco, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2016