‘90 pc beggars arrested in foreign countries are Pakistanis’

Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis told Senate panel 90% of beggars arrested in foreign countries are Pakistanis

By Asim Yasin
September 28, 2023
A representational image of a person sitting on the corner of a road. — Unsplahs/File

ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development told the Senate Committee on Overseas Pakistanis that a significant number of beggars travel abroad through human trafficking channels.


The meeting of the Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development was presided over by Chairman Manzoor Ahmed Kakar here at the Parliament House on Wednesday.

Sharing details with the Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis, the secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis told the Senate panel 90 percent of beggars arrested in foreign countries are Pakistanis. “The Iraqi and Saudi ambassadors have reported that their jails were overcrowded due to these arrests,” he told the Senate committee. Most of the pickpockets caught inside the Haram in Saudi Arabia were of Pakistani origin, and they exploited the Umrah visas for begging purposes.

The Senate Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development asked that proper mechanisms should be developed to focus on specifically sending skilled professionals abroad.

Senator Rana Mahmood Ul Hassan lamented that 50,000 engineers and IT professionals in the country are unemployed and urged the ministry to develop a mechanism in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other related ministries to aid in sending Pakistani engineers as skilled workers to Japan, China and other countries. Hassan said that the highly skilled qualified professionals were desperate for jobs and were even willing to work for Rs15,000 to Rs20,000 salary per month.

The secretary Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis apprised the committee that through a new arrangement they were focusing on sending IT professionals, engineers and paramedical staff abroad. “It would sharply increase foreign remittances,” the secretary said.

Senator Rana Mahmoud Ul Hassan raised serious questions on the country’s inability to send engineers to Japan irrespective of the fact that Japan needed three lac workers. Senator Shahadat Awan said we were not even able to send 100 workers and further inquired about the reasons behind such negligence. The committee sought a list of the number of skilled workers sent to Japan and also details of their educational qualifications. Senator Awan said we have to see where we are lacking in the MoU between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The officials apprised that in 2019, a bilateral agreement was signed according to which a skill verification programme was established by the Saudi government in Pakistan, known as Takamol, having 18 centres with its headquarters in Islamabad. The official informed the committee that 2.8 million workers were presently employed in Saudi Arabia. On inquiring about the criteria and system through which Korean skilled immigrations are conducted, they were apprised that Pakistan was among the 19 countries that were members of the Korean Employment Permit System through which skilled workers are sent on the basis of merit and country-wise quota allocation. The officials said that this year, Korea allocated 1,100 skilled workers from Pakistan. Overseas foundations also furnish training on culture and specified skills to selected immigrant, they said. The secretary further said that language was one of the issues while clearing immigration to countries like China, Japan and Korea. The committee sought the appearance of NAVTTC to brief on the matter in the next meeting. Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi inquired about the funds or grants provided by EOBI to mine workers after completing 30 years of service. He said that as per the rules of EOBI, the grant was not given until the requirements were fulfilled. He said mine workers were not legally registered and were also not given proper training.