By Manzoor Ahmed
Pakistanis living abroad are building up a fat record of crime and with that a notorious reputation. This record includes benefactors, old allies and even Saudi Arabia, the seat of Islam faith that Pakistan claims to lead. The new Trump administration has been ambivalent about Pakistan, but like all its predecessors, will not hesitate to finance its doings and mischief, if only to keep it afloat and use it as needed.
Trump cannot be unmindful of Pakistan’s role in exporting terrorism like sheltering the Taliban and the Haqqani network and in creating enough conditions for both, Al Qaida and the ISIS to make it a happy hunting ground. Although Pakistan does have friends in each US administration, the patience is wearing thin. As Pakistani experts
themselves agree, the US-Pak relationship is transactional and nothing else.
Take Britain that played a key role in Pakistan’s creation. Thousands of Pakistanis have emigrated there and they include those who use the local mosques to spread hatred against Christians and Jews. Many have been convicted, while some have got away.
The latest conviction has come against the Rochdale child sex abuse ring of British Pakistanis involved under-age teenage girls in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, England. The judge has used harsh words against those convicted and has said they cannot be allowed to abuse human rights in a society that values them and should be deported.
Significantly, one of the convicts shouted “Allah U Akbar”, giving it a religious touch and the conviction as a racist act.
Originally, 12 men were convicted of sex trafficking and other offences including rape, trafficking girls for sex and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child, on 8 May 2012. Forty-seven girls were identified as victims of child sexual exploitation during the police investigation. All the men were British Pakistanis except for one Afghani which led to discussion on whether the failure to investigate them was linked to the authorities’ fear of being accused of racism.
The girls were mainly white British. In March 2015, Greater Manchester Police apologised for its failure to investigate the child sexual exploitation allegations more thoroughly between 2008 and 2010.
The victims, vulnerable teenagers from deprived, dysfunctional backgrounds were targeted in “honeypot locations” where young people congregated, such as takeaway food shops. One victim, a 15-year-old known as the Honey Monster, acted as a recruiter, procuring girls as young as 13 for the gang. The victims were coerced and bribed into keeping quiet about the abuse by a combination of alcohol and drugs, food, small sums of money and other gifts.
The oldest person to be convicted, Shabir Ahmed, was for a while the main trafficker of the victims. On one occasion he ordered a girl aged 15 to have sex with, Kabeer Hassan, as a “treat” for his birthday —Hassan then raped the girl himself. Abdul Aziz, a married father of three, took over from Shabir Ahmed as the main trafficker and was paid by various men to supply underage girls for sex.
Those convicted last week face deportation. Pakistani media has eported the cases, with photographs of the convicts, but has refrained from saying that they are Pakistani Britons. The reaction to the reports from a section of readers has been one of disbelief, contempt and even charging the British and the judge with racism.
While Britain may take its own time and follow procedures before deporting these convicts, such processes do not exist in Saudi Arabia that deported 39,000 Pakistanis in last four months, according to Saudi Gazette.
Referring to the security sources, the Saudi newspaper in its report said that the deportations were made for “violating the rules of residence and work”.
The report also said that the involvement of several Pakistani nationals in “some terrorist actions” orchestrated by the militant Islamic State (IS) group as well as crimes of drug trafficking, thefts, forgery and physical assault prompted calls for thorough scrutiny of Pakistanis aspiring to work in Saudi Arabia.
“Abdullah Al-Sadoun, chairman of the security committee of the Shoura Council, called for thoroughly scrutinising the Pakistanis before they are recruited for work in the Kingdom,” the report said.
Furthermore, the Shoura Council chairman also asked for more closer coordination with the concerned authorities in Pakistan to thoroughly check those coming to work in the Kingdom due to the involvement of a number of Pakistanis in security issues.
“Pakistan itself is plagued with terrorism due to its close proximity with Afghanistan. The Taliban extremist movement was itself born in Pakistan,” Sadoun was quoted as saying.
Citing the statistics provided by Saudi interior ministry, the report went on to say that 82 Pakistani suspects are currently held in intelligence prisons over charges of terror and other security related issues.
“As many as 15 Pakistanis, including a woman, were nabbed following the recent terrorist operations in Al-Harazat and Al-Naseem districts in Jeddah.”
A few months ago, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had released a report, “Labour Migration from Pakistan: 2015 Status Report” showing that 131,643 Pakistani migrants were deported from Saudi Arabia between 2012-15.
According to the report, most of the individuals deported from Saudi Arabia were job seekers and businessmen. The report had also claimed that a large number of migrant workers were stranded abroad due to “lack of proper documentation and thus deported”.
The largest number of stranded Pakistanis at 39,000 was deported from Jeddah during the years 2005-06 to 2014-15.
Saudi Arabia has a record of hanging the largest number of people and several of them are Pakistanis engaged in crime from murder, theft to drug-peddling and terrorism.
This is a serious issue. 40,000 is a big number. Pakistan economy is based on the remittance which amounts to $17 billion annually. Yet, there is no statement from the Pakistan Government.