Pakistan Issues - 2021


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Disputes - international

various talks and confidence-building measures cautiously have begun to defuse tensions over Kashmir, particularly since the October 2005 earthquake in the region; Kashmir nevertheless remains the site of the world's largest and most militarized territorial dispute with portions under the de facto administration of China (Aksai Chin), India (Jammu and Kashmir), and Pakistan (Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas); UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan has maintained a small group of peacekeepers since 1949; India does not recognize Pakistan's ceding historic Kashmir lands to China in 1964; India and Pakistan have maintained their 2004 cease-fire in Kashmir and initiated discussions on defusing the armed standoff in the Siachen glacier region; Pakistan protests India's fencing the highly militarized Line of Control and construction of the Baglihar Dam on the Chenab River in Jammu and Kashmir, which is part of the larger dispute on water sharing of the Indus River and its tributaries; to defuse tensions and prepare for discussions on a maritime boundary, India and Pakistan seek technical resolution of the disputed boundary in Sir Creek estuary at the mouth of the Rann of Kutch in the Arabian Sea; Pakistani maps continue to show the Junagadh claim in India's Gujarat State; since 2002, with UN assistance, Pakistan has repatriated 3.8 million Afghan refugees, leaving about 2.6 million; Pakistan has sent troops across and built fences along some remote tribal areas of its treaty-defined Durand Line border with Afghanistan, which serve as bases for foreign terrorists and other illegal activities; Afghan, Coalition, and Pakistan military meet periodically to clarify the alignment of the boundary on the ground and on maps

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 2.58-2.68 million (1.4 million registered, 1.18-1.28 million undocumented) (Afghanistan) (2017)

IDPs: 104,000 (primarily those who remain displaced by counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations and violent conflict between armed non-state groups in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and Khyber-Paktunkwa Province; more than 1 million displaced in northern Waziristan in 2014; individuals also have been displaced by repeated monsoon floods) (2020)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Pakistan and Pakistanis abroad; the largest human trafficking problem is bonded labor, where traffickers exploit a debt assumed by a worker as part of the terms of employment, entrapping sometimes generations of a family; bonded laborers are forced to work in agriculture, brick kilns, fisheries, mining, textile manufacturing, bangle- and carpet-making; traffickers buy, sell, rent, and kidnap children for forced labor in begging, domestic work, small shops, sex trafficking and stealing; some children are maimed to bring in more money for begging; Afghans, Iranians, and Pakistanis are forced into drug trafficking in border areas and Karachi; Pakistani traffickers lure women and girls away from their families with promises of marriage and exploit the women and girls in sex trafficking; militant groups kidnap, buy, or recruit children and force them to spy, fight, and conduct suicide attacks in Pakistan and Afghanistan

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Pakistan does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; government efforts include convicting traffickers under the comprehensive human trafficking law, convicting more traffickers for bonded labor, and increasing registration of brick kilns nationwide for the oversight of workers traffickers target; more trafficking victims were identified; authorities initiated eight investigations against suspected traffickers of Pakistani victims overseas; authorities collaborated with international partners and foreign governments on anti-trafficking efforts; however, the government  significantly decreased investigations and prosecutions of sex traffickers; bonded labor exists on farms and in brick kilns in Punjab province; no action was taken against officials involved in trafficking; several high-profile trafficking cases were dropped during the reporting period; resources were lacking for the care of identified victims; Pakistan was downgraded to Tier 2 Watch List (2020)

Illicit drugs

significant transit area for Afghan drugs, including heroin, opium, morphine, and hashish, bound for Iran, Western markets, the Gulf States, Africa, and Asia; financial crimes related to drug trafficking, terrorism, corruption, and smuggling remain problems; opium poppy cultivation estimated to be 930 hectares in 2015; federal and provincial authorities continue to conduct anti-poppy campaigns that utilizes forced eradication, fines, and arrests

NOTE: The information regarding Pakistan on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Pakistan 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Pakistan 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.