Islamabad: Over five million illegal immigrants in Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The number of illegal immigrants in Pakistan has crossed the over five million figure. Officials say that security concerns have increased manifold. The Interior Ministry had prepared a plan for the registration of foreigners in 2003 and a separate institution, National Alien Registration Authority (NARA), was set up for the purpose.
According to a report, immigrants from 26 countries, including Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria, Somalia, Jordan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Burma, Egypt, Africa, Middle East, Far East and Central Asia, have illegally settled in Pakistan. Over three million of them are settled in Karachi alone.
The official report further raises the doubt that the presence of a large number of illegal immigrants has created severe dangers to the security in the country, and due to this the incidents of street crimes have increased to a dangerous level, particularly in Karachi.
According to the report, 14,906 crimes were recorded in Karachi alone in 1999. The number of crimes shot up to 39,162 in 2008 in Karachi alone, 49,414 in 2009, and then 59,196 in 2010, and during six months of the current year it has reached to 30,574 which include domestic crimes, robbery, theft and street crimes and also smuggling of narcotics and prostitution from illegal women immigrants.
The sources said the Interior Ministry has verified thousands of natives of Iraq, Iran, and Central Asia who had sought political asylum in Pakistan, and they were given regular status of refugees. The illegal immigrants from Burma, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan have disposed of their passports and disappeared in Pakistan.
According to official sources a large number of immigrants arrived in the country during the tenure former General Ziaul Haq for jihad in Pakistan against the aggression of Soviet Union. The Government of Pakistan did not carry any record of those jihadis.
Over two million Afghans have been living in Sindh illegally, while half a million in Punjab, O.8 million in Balochistan and over two million are settled in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It is worthy to note here that the NARA has been paralysed due to political pressures.
The NARA has no clear policy for registration of illegal immigrants despite passing of nine years. Only 80 people are working in NARA for the registration of five million illegal immigrants.