Stern action against illegal immigrants starts



Dec 13 - 19, 2004





Cost of labour in Pakistan especially in the industrial hub of Pakistan 'Karachi' and other big cities of Sindh and Punjab provinces going to surge further as Government of Pakistan has started deporting illegal immigrants entered into the Pakistan after July 2000 and are employed in hundreds of industrial/commercial units all over the country. However illegal immigrants who had obtained 'Work Permits' from the National Aliens Registration Authority (NARA) before July 2000 are eligible to stay, or they arrived before July 2000 but did not get registered and failed obtain the 'Work Permits' are still eligible to get register with NARA and obtain their work permit.

In the first phas, the authorities have scheduled to arrest and deport some 800,000 labour class people mostly belonged to Bangladesh, Burma and India. The second phase is being planned according to a resolution of Sindh Assembly passed two months ago over some explosive nature of reports of criminal activities of illegal immigrants in Karachi and other parts of the country.

"Pakistan now will not accept any illegal immigrant from any country," Director General National Aliens Registration Authority (NARA) told PAGE.

The United States of America, Germany, United Arab Emirate, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Australia, Philippine, Thailand, China and Venezuela are among those countries from where illegal immigrants have entered into Pakistan through illegal routes and have registered themselves as 'Aliens' with the National Aliens Registration Authority (NARA) during last four years.

The NARA has registered as many as 79,029 Bangladeshis and 264,000 Burmese and thousands of other illegal immigrants from 50 countries at its 30 offices all over the Pakistan including its headquarter in Clifton area of Karachi. Mobile registration offices were also worked during 2000 to 2001 in the residential and commercial areas where majority of illegal immigrants were residing. Apart from Karachi city, registration centers have been set up in Quetta, Larkana, Hyderabad, Lahore, Islamabad, Peshawar and Hub area since last year where illegal immigrants are being registered with the fee of Rs. 250 for three years and Work Permits are being issued for three years at the rate of Rs. 2,500. On the pointation of local government, efforts are being made to set up more centers in other parts of the country where illegal immigrants were found. Other countries from where their citizens entered into the Pakistan and got registered as illegal immigrants are; Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Benin, Burma, Burundi, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethopia, Gambia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine, Russia, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leon, Syria, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Tunis, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Zaire.

On top of these countries Bangladesh, Burma and India are the countries whose nationals arrived through illegal routes into the Pakistan especially in Karachi for different nature of employments. The flow of illegal immigrants increased after 2000 when Government of Pakistan established NARA for the registration and issuance of Work Permits, the illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Burma and India started arriving into Pakistan through legal routes including by air and by train and started themselves registered with the NARA to get legal rights of stay in Pakistan.

Government of Pakistan after noticing a record registration of illegal immigrants with the NARA and an alarming increase of unemployment for Pakistani youth, decided to stop the registration and giving them permission of legal stay to those illegal immigrants who had entered into the Pakistan after July 2000. Now the law enforcing agencies have been ordered to arrest and deport the illegal immigrants entered into Pakistan after July 2000. However, registration facilities still rendered to those who had entered into the country before July 2000. But the situation has become more sensitive as illegal immigrants arrived even before 2002 have refused to register themselves with NARA and have started demanding 'Pakistani Nationality' a battle between illegal immigrants and government agencies like NARA and local police took a dramatic turn when political parties especially Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf started backing Bangladeshis for the issuance of Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs).



Garment factories and other small trades are feared to be affected after the deportation of illegal immigrants following which 'Cost of Labour' would increase.

Provincial Assembly of Sindh passed a resolution recently which demands to stop registration of all illegal immigrants, issuance of work permits and cancel the earlier registration and deport all of them irrespective of entry period and country. The resolution was presented before the house only hours before a resolution was ready to be presented demanding Pakistani nationality for Bangladeshi illegal immigrants. This resolution changed the whole situation because Sindh province is the part of country which has highest number of illegal immigrants on top of them stands Bangladeshis.

The Director General NARA and Director Intelligence and Operation Mr. C. K. Chachar told PAGE, NARA has issued written warnings to the industrialists, commercial and domestic employers to get verified the registration of illegal immigrants before employing them. The employers found guilty are liable for three years imprisonment and ten years imprisonment to the illegal immigrants. But employers were not responding according to their national interest not cooperating with the government. Now arrests have been started and we will start arresting employers too if they resist to the national cause.