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Lahore
Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Overseas Pakistanis: The hen with golden eggs

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Who are overseas Pakistanis (OP) and what life they live? In public opinion or relatives or in friends’ eyes the overseas Pakistanis are those who are enjoying very luxurious and dream lives in different parts of the globe but if you ask the same question to any overseas Pakistani, no maters what kind of job he/she does or what kind of status they have, you will find most of them complaining about their stressful and traumatic lives and hurdles which they face in day-to-day life in foreign countries as well as in Pakistan when they come back.

According to the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, approximately 8.8 million Pakistanis live abroad and as per the State Bank of Pakistan, these Pakistanis have sent around $23.12 billion in this fiscal year 2020 in terms of remittance. But when we talk about what kind of benefits or services are given to them in return by our government and institutions, then the answer is big ZERO.

As they are considered ambassadors of the nation in other countries hence they should be treated in the same way. Moreover while sending billions of dollars to the county; they, in the real sense, are participating in-country progress and development as other Pakistanis do, that’s why they have all rights to get a VIP protocol or some extra advantages in every field of life. But unfortunately, the situation is totally different and worse even sometimes they face such awful experiences in the home country which they are not facing in other countries.

Particularly after COVID-19, the miseries of OP have been increased a bit that added fuel to the fire and their depression and frustration seem endless, on the other hand our government is not doing anything to end their sorrows. Especially the OP who live in Gulf countries have been facing a lot of problems for a few months, many of them had lost jobs and even they were compelled to sleep on roads after finishing their savings. Our consulate offices and embassies will have to do more to facilitate them in their save return to Pakistan.  One can understand that the government cannot do too much for them in other parts of the world but at least our government can accommodate or compensate after removing those hurdles which they face while they come back. Because they go through a number of inconveniences while dealing with government offices and private offices, apart from that most of the people try to cheat or misguide them while stealing their fortune which they had earned and saved by doing hard work or odd jobs in their whole lives.

What kind of benefits our government can or should give them or how government can or should assist them once they return back? Well, first of all, there should be a more rapid, flexible, and friendly environment at all airports in the country and their problems should be solved through one-window-operation. Rather the same facilities should be at every place or offices and their issues should be resolved on an urgent basis while giving them special protocol and assistance. Secondly, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis with the collaboration of our foreign consulates should prepare a list of distressed Pakistani who stranded abroad due to Covid-19 or bad financial situations and make arrangements for their safe return. This is very obvious if they will be provided special assistance by the government then they would be more grateful and glad and would love to play a vital and positive role in the country’s progress.

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