ISLAMABAD - Pakistan yesterday repatriated its nationals detained in Malaysia for illegal entry.

A special flight of Pakistan International Airline (PIA) on Tuesday brought back 113 illegal Pakistani immigrants from Kuala Lumpur, who availed the amnesty scheme announced by the Malaysian government in August 2019.

The special flight PK-9895 carrying the illegal immigrants landed at the Islamabad International Airport at around 06:09 pm, where the returnees were received by Overseas Pakistanis Foundation Director General Khalid Ali Shah and Director Welfare and Services Nasir Khan, an Overseas Ministry’s press release said.

The Malaysian government announced the amnesty scheme ‘Back4good’ that became operational on August 1, 2019, for voluntary repatriation of the illegal immigrants to their respective countries without facing any detention or fines, and blacklisting till December 31.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Sayed Zulfikar Abbas Bukhari told APP that over 8,000 Pakistanis, who were staying illegally in Malaysia, had availed the amnesty scheme and returned to the country in the PIA’s special flights.

Special PIA flight brings back 113 illegal immigrants

He said Pakistan’s High Commission in Kuala Lumpur made extensive efforts to facilitate the Pakistani illegal immigrants to formally avail the scheme.

Talking to APP, Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Malaysia Amna Baloch said the Malaysian immigration authorities had vowed to conduct an operation against the illegal foreigners after the expiry of amnesty scheme at midnight December 31.

Under the scheme, she said, each illegal immigrant had to pay 700 Malaysian Ringgits to get an out-pass from the Malaysian immigration authorities. The payment for out-passes for several Pakistani illegal immigrants were made by the High Commission and philanthropists based in Malaysia.

Amina Baloch said the High Commission had issued general emergency passports to over 1,480 Pakistani illegal immigrants and over 350 gratis emergency passports to Pakistani prisoners during the last five months for expediting their repatriation process.

Giving general break-up, she said some 1,880 Pakistanis had arrived Islamabad in August, 1,216 in September, 1,275 in October, 1,404 in November and over 2,500 during December.

Highlighting the Pakistan government’s initiatives, she said it had made special arrangements for additional flights operations to Kuala Lumpur during the last five months to ensure the timely repatriation of illegal immigrants to the homeland.

Unlike the private companies, she said, the PIA had issued tickets to Pakistani illegal immigrants at affordable rates.

To a query, she said some 8,200 Pakistanis were living across Malaysia legally and over 20,000 residing illegally.

She said the High Commission was in talks with the Malaysian authorities to ensure registered employment for Pakistani manpower here. “We are taking measures to encourage emigration of Pakistanis through legal channels,” she added.

It may be mentioned here that some 300 Pakistani detainees were also brought back from Malaysia in May 2019 by the government after provision of financial and technical assistance.