Woes of overseas Pakistanis

OF late, there have been consistent reports about multitude of difficulties being faced by overseas Pakistanis and lethargic attitude of Pakistani Missions abroad to address them. In this backdrop, Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has done well by holding a video conference with Pakistan’s Ambassadors in the United Kingdom and six Gulf countries where overseas Pakistanis are mainly concentrated to discuss issues pertaining to issuance of passport, visa and identity cards to Pakistanis living in these countries.
There are no two opinions that overseas Pakistanis play vital role in the economy of the country and their remittances are backbone of our financial system especially in view of declining foreign aid. Experts say that these remittances can increase significantly provided we facilitate them properly and offer necessary incentives for the purpose. It is, however, regrettable that Pakistani missions abroad especially those in Gulf States are merely enjoying perks and privileges and they are least bothered about problems faced by Pakistani communities there. Apart from issues pertaining to violation of contract by employers, there are problems relating to hassle free issuance of passports and identity cards but embassies treat overseas Pakistanis in these countries, who are mostly working class, contemptuously. It is encouraging that Interior Minister took notice of the plight of a Pakistani in Australia on a report appearing in this newspaper, yet this was just one example whereas scores of Pakistanis are humiliated daily at different Pakistani missions abroad creating frustration and resentment among them. We hope that the Interior Minister would also hold similar video conferences with Pakistani Ambassadors in other countries to sensitise them about problems being faced by them and urging them to make their resolution a priority. Similarly, we would also urge Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif to take notice of what is happening in our missions abroad.

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