Despite international tensions regarding immigration, Saudi Arabia has expelled nearly 40,000 Pakistani migrant workers in the last four months.
According to the Saudi Gazette, Since October 2016, roughly 39,000 people have been deported due to visa violations and security concerns.
The local paper also indicated that deportees were chosen based on having committed crimes, including drug trafficking, forgery, and theft, as well as an unknown number based on suspicions of having links to ISIS and other extremist groups.
The deportations come after a year of turmoil and strikes due to unpaid wages following the country’s oil market decline and subsequent erosion of the Saudi economy.
Abdullah Al-Sadoun, chair of the security committee of the country’s Shura Council, is one of the several prominent Saudi politicians who has called for a tougher screening process for Pakistani nationals before they are allowed entry into the country.
“Pakistan itself is plagued with terrorism due to its close proximity with Afghanistan. The Taliban extremist movement was itself born in Pakistan,” he said.
Approximately 80 Pakistani nationals are currently in prison in Saudi Arabia, charged with terror or security-related offenses.
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