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Over 17m have gone abroad illegally since’09

Published Nov 24, 2012 08:25pm


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ISLAMABAD, Nov 24: During the last about three years, over 17 million Pakistanis went abroad illegally in search of employment.

According to documents available to Dawn, in 2009 as many as 4.3 million people left the country illegally. In 2010, the number reached 4.5 million touching the five million mark in 2011.

Till August 31, 2012, about 3.4 million Pakistanis had migrated to other countries without legal documents.

It may be noted that after 9/11, the criteria for issuing visa to Pakistanis were made stricter by the western countries.

On the other hand, unemployment and financial crises have forced many people to go abroad in search of greener pastures.

An officer of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) requesting not to be identified told Dawn that human trafficking was the biggest illegal business all over the world. “Smuggling of drugs and weapons is on the second and third number,” he maintained.

He said there were three routes used for human smuggling. The 905-km-long Pakistan-Iran border is the most frequented for human trafficking. After crossing into Iran, these people move on to Turkey and then enter Europe, he said.

The second route is through the Middle East. Many people go to the Middle East on fake documents. From there, they travel to Europe on fake documents and apply for asylum.

The third route used for human trafficking is through Russia. People manage to reach Kazakhstan and then enter Bulgaria and central Europe, said the FIA officer.

He said there were different mafias and groups who dealt in human trafficking and had contacts with each other. After crossing a border, one group hands over the people to the other group for transportation to another country.

Farooq Ahmed, who works as a tailor in Rawalpindi, said: “In 2003, I paid Rs800,000 to an agent to send me to Germany.

It was decided that as soon as I will reach there, my family will pay the agent another Rs500,000.”

He added: “After about two months when we reached the German border, our container was caught as some of the people inside got suffocated and started banging the wall of the container. We were arrested and then deported to Pakistan,” he said.

Mohammad Usman, a resident of Mandi Bahauddin, said in October 2011 he crossed the Iranian border but was caught and later along with 25 other people handed over to Pakistani forces. “My uncle got me released and brought me back,” he said.

According to the documents, Mohammad Rafaqat was sent to Uganda by an agent in April 2012. On September 25, 2012, he was arrested by the Uganda police under the charge of kidnapping a woman.

Qaiser Masood of Sumandri tehsil in the district of Faisalabad told Dawn that Rafaqat was a resident of his village. “He paid Rs240,000 to the agent to get the Ugandan visa.

When he reached there, the agent demanded another Rs260,000.”

He said Rafaqat’s poor family had sold their cattle to send him abroad but they could not arrange the additional amount.

So the agent got him implicated in the kidnapping case in Uganda, he alleged.

Anwar Virk, the director general of the FIA, in his statement to the Senate standing committee on interior said they had been using all resources to stop human trafficking.

“Unfortunately, people who are caught in different countries and deported back do not give information about the agents.

This is because the agents promise them that they will try thrice to send them abroad without charging an extra amount, he added.


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Comments (16) Closed

EQ8Rhomes Dec 03, 2012 11:52pm
Note to all Pakistanis: PLEASE get you federal Govt. to stick tp national govt. affairs: such as : PROVIDING WATER, FOOD, SHELTER AND SECURITY. Leave religion to the people. It is not govt's business to poke its nose in private religious matters, and matters of dress, the arts, such as music, dance, and film.Educate girls and the poor in secular public schools. It's an emergency! And: R E L A X: Personally, Pakistanis are, like all humans, able to choose many matters for themselves. Let them!
Asif Nov 26, 2012 08:11pm
Strangely that is after President Musharraf was forced out of office. Maybe the economy also left with him. Hence the illegal exodus.
Zazi Nov 26, 2012 03:44am
Ha, ha...go change the numbers in Wikipedia. Everyone and his uncle is doing it.
HASEEB Nov 26, 2012 10:05am
The only reason behind this shame is the chaotic situation in Pakistan. Unemployment, poverty, nepotism, terrorism, obsession of poor people, drown attacks are the few issues of concern that need immediate attention. But, unfortunately these issues are not considered because of foreign intervention in Pakistan.
Iftikhar Husain Nov 25, 2012 12:38pm
It is a great tragedy of this century where people are desperate to leave their country and return humiliated. It is a shame.
Khizer Zaheer Nov 26, 2012 04:58am
migrating illegally to Uganda doesn't make any sense to me!
Ali Ashfaq Nov 26, 2012 05:08am
They are leaving in accordance with the advice of Ex. PM which he said in an interview.
Adil Jadoon Nov 25, 2012 01:37pm
Shame on the government for failing the people. Perhaps next time the people will choose wisely.
Sajjad Kazmi Nov 26, 2012 11:15am
I would be surprised if the figure is even 0.7 M. One must research properly before quoting such absurd numbers. Assuming the number quoted in the report correct and average cost paid by individual is Rs. 300K, it is billion rupees industry. SMK Karachi
Amir Bangash Nov 25, 2012 07:44pm
It is next to impossible. I would like to request the media people not to spread disinformation.
Cyrus Howell Nov 27, 2012 05:15pm
Right. The number is probably 27 million.
Cyrus Howell Nov 27, 2012 05:14pm
Denial is not a river in Egypt.
Anwar Amjad Nov 25, 2012 06:28pm
The figure of 17 Million people leaving Pakistan illegally in three years is highly doubtful. Please recheck if it is not 1.7 Million. Only about 7 Million Pakistani citizens and people of Pakistani descent live abroad according to government statistics
Bilal Nov 26, 2012 08:23am
what does it tell you when someone is ready to take a chance on one of the poorest country in africa but does not want to live in Pakistan.what a shame. sigh.
Amin Nov 26, 2012 07:25am
Its a shame for the government due to law and order situation we are unsaved in our country tht is the reason peoples are leaving this country for sake of their live
Sam Nov 27, 2012 07:46pm
Still KSE is 4Th largest in world.These are small problems and we must not care about these.