Archive for September, 2016

Now a days, people from all school of thoughts are discussing the issue of Afghan Immigrants being asked to leave Pakistan by 31st December 2016. Some people argue that it shall be benign to keep Afghans here in the country and others see Afghans as a security threat. But by doing so, they tend to see the picture in either black or white.

The group who favors keeping them in Pakistan, totally forget the issues associated with keeping them here in the country which involve security mainly and then social issues like narcotics, smuggling, robberies and kidnapping for ransom etc. While advocating for keeping them here in the country they usually rely on expounding lower level benefits they bring about. For example an afghan working in fields of a small scale farmer. Other than that they give examples for history as to how ancient tribal people used to open the doors for immigrants.

On the other hand, the group who opposes the extended residency of Afghans here in the country don’t usually seems concerned about finding a way to harness the expertise of skilled, unskilled and (or) semi-skilled labor for boosting country’s economy and generating new opportunities in order to exploit the opportunity of availability of cheap labor.

We are living in the twenty first century which is governed by free trade agreements. All developing countries are doing is to create such a business friendly environment as governed by universal labor laws in order to attract multinational companies to set up their business there so that more jobs are created and manpower is utilized for the betterment. In a broader canvas, the developed countries like Australia, Canada and USA, import skilled or semi-skilled manpower from other countries which in return serve their economy. One country’s brain drain becomes brain of other country.

Taking about Pakistan, there is no official policy to curb brain drain or increase brain gain. One can just go through the official website of Directorate General of Immigration and Passports to know that Pakistan is still living in past century where one is Pakistani either by birth or by migration of by descent. The language used on this website page is also vague and doesn’t provide any information about migrants (like Afghan Migrants) and those kids who are born to a migrant in Pakistan as to how can they apply for Pakistani citizenship. However, under Citizen By Birth clause the official website doesn’t forget to specify that children of enemy born in Pakistan are not considered citizens without paying heed to defining as to who is enemy. Do we consider Afghan as an enemy state or friendly state? The word enemy is specific to only one country? If officially we talk about enemies it begs the same question about friendly state(s) and what is the fate of children of friendly aliens born in Pakistan? All of the verbose in those website is so confusing.

In all of the developed or developing world there are some rules and regulations set regarding immigration. Countries like Canada and Australia rely on the efficacy of points based system in which a person has to prove him/herself fit for job, security clearance and qualification etc and after residing in such countries for up to five years one can get the citizenship. These countries also give opportunity to provinces to carry out provincial nominees and other such programs so that if a province feels that there is shortage of manpower, it can seek from outer world. In Pakistan we can see that a child of Afghan descent born in Pakistan cannot apply for Pakistani citizenship.

If a migrant is having business here in Pakistan or doing a job, he/she must be entertained with respect and given full opportunity to prove themselves and after a prescribed time frame given Pakistan citizenship with due process which includes security clearance, education background and (or) worth of business etc. In this way they will come in the mainstream and Pakistan will commence brain gain.

It is high time that we open our doors and follow the norms as in place in other countries which must include but not limited to:

  1. Right to apply for citizenship of Afghans or other migrants, subject to such security clearance or skills or qualification as deemed necessary by the state.
  2. Right given to provinces to nominate immigrant applications.
  3. A change in federal immigration policy with a view of brain gain and lucrative opportunities for foreign resident Pakistanis
  4. Repealing of rule to not grant immigration to a person married to Pakistani woman

Just giving deadlines to leave the country to those who were born here and have been living in the country for almost three decades now is not only inhumane but also doesn’t conform to the international laws and regulations governing migrants. State always has the right to deport or cancel the passports of those who are considered security threat.