THE PTI government team is mostly criticized for failures but the matter of fact is the there are some members who are performing well in their respective sectors. Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari is one of them.
The Prime Minister entrusted him with responsibility of Special Assistant on Overseas Pakistanis & HRD and he proved himself equal to the task with results that are not only appreciated by the colleagues but opposition parties as well. The Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis hailed the services of Zulfi Bukhari.
The achievements include, release of Pakistani prisoners abroad, reforms in Protector offices for Overseas, abolishing the condition of NICOP for outgoing labour, Qatar Visa Facilitation Centres in Islamabad and Karachi, opening of visas for Pakistanis for Kuwait, launching of Naya Pakistan Calling Portal, increasing pension for those registered with EOBI, restoration of British Airways to Pakistan.
Not only this but another feather Zulfi put in his cap most recently was to win his defamation case against Reham Khan. It is not only the victory of Zulfi but for Imran Khan as well because the case was about her book. Reham levelled personal allegations on the PM in her book.
Her defeat in UK court proves that the other allegations might also have been wrong. This is the victory of PTI’s narrative against corruption and other evils that Imran Khan dreams to control for the development and prosperity of the nation in the world.
People are asking what the problem is that the Prime Minister replaces the persons like this who bring success stories for him.
In Sep 2019, PM delivered a speech at UNGA that was welcomed not only throughout Pakistan but in the USA and other capitals of the world as well.
PM declared his visit as a big success but at the same time replaced Maleeha Lodhi who was incharge of all arrangements for making the visit a success.
Now another change is in the offing ,when Overseas Pakistanis are feeling much better than the previous governments and Pakistan is having the benefits of the policies for overseas tourism and investment.
Release of Pakistani prisoners was, no doubt, a big service to the countrymen in the very first year of the PTI government.
So far, more than 6,880 prisoners have been released from mainly the jails of Middle East countries. The prisoners are mostly labour class who were unable to fight their cases.
Pakistani labour requires a Protector before they can proceed to travel abroad for work. The Protector offices were exploiting them. Zulfi took notice and brought reforms here. He sacked 9 top officials who were not ready to cooperate in facilitating the labour and overseas as per the direction of the Prime Minister.
He established a one-window operation for the convenience of the labour. The reforms in the overseas circle of Pakistan created 1.3 Million new jobs abroad for Pakistanis.
Overseas Pakistanis Foundation generated a profit of Rs 111 million after 4 years of losses through austerity and efficiency measures. This is a central org regarding the welfare of overseas. Zulfi prepared it in line with the PM’s vision for the overseas.
Now OPF is all set to receive complaints, queries online and all govt departments are bound to respond to the recommendations of OPF in favour of overseas.
The Prime Minister advocates investments in the country and for that Ease of Doing Business is his slogan and policy. Zulfi played a key role in convincing overseas and foreign investors to avail this opportunity.
Zulfi left no stone unturned to reach that target. Tourism promotion is the dream of the Prime Minister. As Chairman of the National Tourism Coordination Board, Zulfi started from domestic tourism and overseas Pakistanis taking the time to explore their home country.
British Airways resumed its direct flights operating to and from Pakistan thanks to the efforts of Zulfi Bukhari. The flights were stopped after the Marriott Hotel bombing in Islamabad in Sep 2008.
The Prime Minister needs to review his decisions and priorities. His flagship project 5 Million homes is stuck at 1500 homes only. Most of the initiatives, PM announced are on the back burner.
The PM knows that he already lacks sincere and competent members in his team. Replacing Zulfi will further add to the already present chaos. Let him work with his line and length.
—The writer is a columnist, based in Islamabad.