According to the latest report published in a Saudi Gazette, Saudi Arabia has deported 39,000 Pakistanis in the past four months. Referring to the security sources, the Saudi newspaper in its report said that the deportations were made for “violating the rules of residence and work”.The report also said that the involvement of several Pakistani nationals in “some terrorist actions” orchestrated by the militant Islamic State (IS) group as well as crimes of drug trafficking, thefts, forgery and physical assault prompted calls for thorough scrutiny of Pakistanis aspiring to work in Saudi Arabia.” Abdullah Al-Sadoun, chairman of the security committee of the Shoura Council, called for thoroughly scrutinising the Pakistanis before they are recruited for work in the Kingdom,” the report said. Furthermore, the Shoura Council chairman also asked for closer coordination with the concerned authorities in Pakistan to thoroughly check those coming to work in the Kingdom due to the involvement of a number of Pakistanis in security issues.
The official further stated apprehensions about Pakistani citizens’ links with terrorist organisations by stating, “Pakistan itself is plagued with terrorism due to its proximityto Afghanistan. The Taliban extremist movement was itself born in Pakistan.”
Citing the statistics provided by Saudi interior ministry, the report went on to say that 82 Pakistani suspects are currently held in intelligence prisons over charges of terror and other security related issues. “As many as 15 Pakistanis, including a woman, were nabbed following the recent terrorist operations in Al-Harazat and Al-Naseem districts in Jeddah.”
A few months ago, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had released a report, “Labour Migration from Pakistan: 2015 Status Report” showing that 131,643 Pakistani migrants were deported from Saudi Arabia between 2012-15.According to the report, most of the individuals deported from Saudi Arabia were job seekers and businessmen. The report had also claimed that a large number of migrant workers were stranded abroad due to “lack of proper documentation and thus deported”.
There is no arguing against the internal matters of a country, but the vague processes followed by the hasty judicial system of the Kingdom makes it difficult for transparency. As mentioned in reports, most of the people deported included those who held wrong visas, had over-stayed following the expiry of their visas or didn’t have proper documentation to work in Saudi Arabia. Most of Pakistanis working in Saudi Arabia are doing blue-collared jobs that do not require muck skillset. Moreover, the Kingdom is also the largest source of foreign remittances for Pakistan. Due to the lack of economic opportunities back home, a lot of cases have been witnessed where people had over-stayed following their visit to the Kingdom for religious duties of visiting the Holy Cities.
Considering the fact that approximately twomillion Pakistanis are working in the Kingdom, it is the responsibility of Pakistan’s foreign mission in the Kingdom to make necessary arrangements to check if anyone needs any legal help or if the employers are mistreating anyone. Thousands of Pakistanis had complained embassy’s inaction following massive layoffs last years. The attitudes of the embassy staffers should change and all possible help should be provided to the people affected.