During a session of the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis, the Secretary of Overseas Pakistanis unveiled a significant presence of Pakistani citizens, primarily laborers, working abroad. The meeting was presided over by Senator Manzoor Kakar.
In the course of the gathering, Senator Rana Mahmoodul Hassan drew attention to the fact that Japan had expressed interest in employing around 340,000 skilled workers, India about 1.5 million, and Nepal had successfully dispatched 91,000 skilled workers to Japan. Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had also contributed skilled labor to Japan.
In contrast, Pakistan had sent only approximately 200 individuals to Japan. Senator Hassan underscored that Pakistan boasts a workforce of about 500,000 engineers, while Nepal, with a population of 30 million, had managed to send its workforce to Japan, with many of them acquiring proficiency in the Japanese language.
Senator Rana Mahmoodul Hassan further highlighted that roughly 3 million Pakistanis are employed in Saudi Arabia, and although the government is formulating a proposal, Saudi Arabia is currently recruiting skilled labor rather than unskilled workers.
He pointed out the shortage of skilled laborers and Saudi Arabia’s establishment of skill centers within Pakistan. He also noted that approximately 200,000 Pakistanis are working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the UAE has offered to employ 50,000 skilled workers from Pakistan. Officials from Overseas Pakistanis informed the committee that a contract was signed with Japan in 2019, and Pakistan provides language training to its workforce, which is validated by Japan.
Senator Sherry Rehman emphasized that Nepal is currently dispatching a significant number of mountain shepherds to Pakistan, revealing a shortage of skilled personnel in the fields of surveying and mountaineering.
Secretary of Overseas Pakistanis, Zeeshan Khanzada, informed the committee that Pakistan has a substantial expatriate population, with India and Bangladesh surpassing Pakistan in terms of emigration. Saudi Arabia has also established a skills center. Khanzada further noted that many Pakistanis were being apprehended for begging in the holy cities, with the majority of beggars being of Pakistani origin. This has evolved into a human trafficking issue.
He added that a significant portion of those arrested for pickpocketing within holy shrines are Pakistanis, who enter on religious visas but resort to begging.
In essence, this meeting shed light on the emigration challenges faced by Pakistan, with a focus on the imperative to send skilled labor abroad and address various issues affecting overseas Pakistanis.