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Saudi Arabia deports almost 40,000 Pakistanis in just 4 months

King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on December 8, 2016 [Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Royal Council / Handout - Anadolu Agency]
King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on December 8, 2016 [Bandar Algaloud / Saudi Royal Council / Handout - Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia has deported almost 40,000 Pakistanis over the past four months, claiming that they could be involved in the commission of terrorist acts, Moheet.com reported on Friday.

Over 39,000 Pakistanis have been deported from Saudi Arabia in the last four months, the Saudi Gazette reported on Tuesday.

The deportations were attributed to visa violations, crime and security concerns linking the deportees to terrorist organisations, but come amid a background of migrant worker unrest that has plagued the kingdom over the past year.

Citing "informed security sources", the Saudi Gazette said that a number of the Pakistanis deported were linked to the Daesh group or terrorist activities. Others were deported over crimes including drug trafficking, theft, forgery and physical assault.

News of the deportations follows intermittent reports of migrant worker protests over unpaid salaries, after the increasing strain on Saudi public finances since the downturn in oil prices over the past years.

Dozens of expatriate workers were flogged and jailed last month following public protests that spilled over into violence, which saw buses torched in Makkah after construction workers at major Saudi companies including the Binladin Group and Saudi Oger had their salaries unpaid.

Last year also saw the Philippines government seek assistance in rescuing Filipino workers left jobless after the downturn in the economy, as well as major lay-offs of Indian workers.

But the deportation of Pakistani workers has been driven primarily to security concerns, according to the New Arab, citing the Saudi Gazette.Saudi officials have called for a rigorous vetting process before allowing foreign workers into the kingdom.

Abdullah Al-Sadoun, chairman of the security committee in the Saudi Arabian Shura Council, urged for tougher screening process of 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 warned.

Al-Sadoun stressed that the religious and political beliefs of Pakistani nationals must be known to Saudi authorities before they are granted work or given entry into the kingdom.

"Pakistani citizens must undergo religious and political checks before entering Saudi Arabia," said the Speaker of the Saudi Shura (Consultative) Council, Abdullah Al-Sa'doun. "Pakistan suffers from terrorism due to neighbouring Afghanistan." The extremist Taliban movement was created in Pakistan, he added.

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