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12,918 Pakistanis gave up their citizenship in last five years

March 07, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The number of Pakistanis who gave up their nationality surged to nearly 13,000 in last five years - around three hundred times more than 2011-12. 

The figure is all set to increase further as cases of more than 8,000 Pakistanis, who wanted to renounce their nationality, are still pending with the office of Directorate General of Immigration and Passports (DGIP) Islamabad.

“Over 12,918 nationals gave up their association with the homeland (Pakistan) - which means more than seven Pakistanis are leaving their citizenship per day since 2012,” revealed official documents exclusively obtained by this correspondent.

The country’s immigration and passports office dealt renunciation of citizenship through Section 14 of the Pakistan Citizenship Act, 1951. Around 3,534 applications of Pakistanis, who want to renounce their citizenship, are also in the process and believed to be cleared of in coming months.

As many as 1,928 Pakistani nationals relinquished their citizenship in 2012, 2,307 in 2013, 1,715 in 2014, 4,017 in 2015 and 2,898 gave up their nationality in 2016, official documents revealed. Some 4,887 Pakistanis adopted citizenship of Germany in last five years - around 36% of total number of Pakistanis who gave up their nationality during this period.

Apart from these figures, the country produced over 60,000 registered asylum seekers in last three years - the highest number on record at the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Pakistan currently ranks sixth among the 44 industrialised countries with the most asylum seekers, according to figures obtained from the regional office of the UNHCR. In 2016, some 950 Pakistanis adopted citizenship of Germany. And interestingly, around 13,185 Pakistanis also lodged applications for asylum in last 20 months in Germany as well.

Around 1,898 Pakistanis have opted for the nationality of Norway, 1,438 of India, 1,280 of the United States, 672 of China, 440 of the Netherlands and 101 Pakistanis adopted for citizenship of Denmark during this period.

Over 513 Pakistani nationals accepted Indian nationality in 2016. According to immigration officials who were dealing with this issue, all 1,438 Pakistanis who adopted citizenship of India belonged to Hindu community.

They had given multiple reasons before leaving their homeland, officials further revealed. Threats from proscribed organisations and religious persecution doubled their miseries - additional factor behind this issue, revealed a senior immigration official while quoted their application.

Around 71 Pakistanis adopted for citizenship of Australia and 79 of Japan in 2012 and 2013, the documents revealed. The rest went for the citizenship of other countries either in the UK, Europe or in the Middle Eastern states. As many as 385 Pakistanis got no objection certificates (NOCs) for adopting land of Spain and 316 Pakistanis became Norwegian last year. Besides, 272 Pakistanis opted for American nationality while 170 Pakistanis got NOCs to adopt nationality of China in 2016.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USICS) and Department of Homeland Security data reveals that 4,113 asylum applications of Pakistanis were received between 2002 and 2014.

Around 1,736 applications were approved, 115 were denied while 1,742 were “adjudicated referred”, which means cases that the USICS cannot approve. As many as 376 Pakistanis applied for refuge in America so far in 2016 while this was up from 205 in 2015 and the highest at any point since 2011, revealed the data produced by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

“Such cases are referred to the federal immigration courts, where a judge makes the final determination on their eligibility,” Tim Counts of USICS had told this correspondent. The immigration officials confided that around 4,192 Pakistanis applied for asylum in the United Kingdom in last 18 months with only 17 percent of the applications approved. Pakistani refugees arriving in the US also saw a marked increase in 2016.

The citizenship renunciation applications come despite Pakistan’s dual-nationality arrangements with 16 countries: the United Kingdom, Egypt, France, Jordan, Italy, Syria, Belgium, Switzerland, Iceland, Netherlands, Australia, United States, New Zealand, Sweden, Canada and Ireland.