At a recent session of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis regarding the issue of skilled and unskilled labor leaving the country, it was disclosed that the growing number of Pakistanis moving abroad are actually local beggars.
Under the chairmanship of Rana Mahmood-ul-Hassan Kakar, it also was reported that 90% of those beggars arrested in other countries were Pakistanis.
Zeeshan Khanzada, Secretary (Overseas Pakistanis), revealed that a considerable number of beggars are traveling to countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia under the pretense of being pilgrims. They then misuse their Umrah visas by begging. A large number of pickpockets caught in Makkah’s Grand Mosque are also Pakistani, as revealed during the meeting.
Adding to this, officials from Iraq and Saudi Arabia have voiced their concerns about their jails becoming overcrowded due to these unofficial immigrants from Pakistan. With the situation worsening, Khanzada termed it as an emerging human trafficking issue.
Besides, Kakar emphasized the missed job opportunities in countries like Japan. While Japan sought 340,000 skilled workers, only 200 came from Pakistan.
In contrast, India and Nepal sent 150,000 and 91,000 workers, respectively. Though Pakistan signed a linguistic agreement with Japan in 2019, the response has been unenthusiastic.
Regarding Saudi Arabia’s demand for skilled labor, Pakistan’s earlier proposal was declined, but Kakar suggested sending 50,000 trained individuals.
Also, Khanzada noted that Pakistan trailed behind India and Bangladesh in global labor markets. In addition, Senator Rehman highlighted that Nepal sends mountain sherpas to Pakistan due to a skills gap in the local population.