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Deportations from Saudi Arabia: Editorial in The Express Tribune, March 6th, 2017.

7 March 2017 No Comment

Almost 40,000 Pakistanis have been deported from Saudi Arabia during the past four months. The official reasoning is the supposed involvement of Pakistani nationals in perpetrating various terrorist incidents in Saudi Arabia. Also, Pakistanis have been accused of involvement in the drug trade and petty crime. Saudi officials have demanded that Pakistani nationals be put through greater scrutiny before being granted work visas. It is interesting to note here that the scrutiny demanded involves checking the political and religious affiliation of Pakistani nationals. Immigrant workers are being targeted and made to leave the country whether there is any proof of their involvement in criminal activity or not. Thousands of Pakistani workers have just been labelled criminals by the Saudi government and packed off home without evidence of their actual involvement in suspicious activity.

Discerning readers may remember that these deportations also come in the wake of reports that certain Saudi companies had failed to make payments to their expat employees, several thousand of whom were Pakistani. The situation was dire enough for the Pakistani government to set up an emergency fund to provide relief to these workers. The economic realities in Saudi Arabia have been changing of late with certain austerity measures being introduced for the first time in decades. There has been an anti-immigration push throughout the world of late, partly driven by a general economic downturn which makes local communities resentful to foreign workers who are accused of ‘stealing jobs’ and taking away a country’s wealth. In such a negative atmosphere it is easy for governments to push a nationalistic agenda by deporting expatriates to score an easy win with the people. It remains to be seen how Pakistan will respond to the deportations and wide ranging claims of criminal activity against Pakistani nationals that have been publicly disseminated by the Saudis. https://tribune.com.pk/story/1346890/deportations-saudi-arabia/

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