Unprecedented step in history of Pakistan ‘Establishment of Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission’    

کو شائع کی گئی۔ March 3, 2015    ·(TOTAL VIEWS 1,540)      No Comments

Unprecedented step in history of Pakistan  

‘Establishment of Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission’ 

Establishment of Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission is an unprecedented act of Punjab government. Its well understood in all walks of the life that the overseas Pakistanis are the real ambassadors and presenting the country all over the world. At the moment approximately over sixty eight million Pakistanis are living abroad, away from home and their love ones but had no voice in decision making of national matters or even resolving of their own personal issues in Pakistan. Setting up Overseas Pakistanis Commission Punjab would be good news for all those huge numbers of expatriates for their satisfaction and optimism in resolving of their problems.

Overseas Pakistanis are playing vital role in strengthening the national economy by their remittances .In the last fiscal year alone the remittances exceeded over $11 billion US Dollars, which accounts for almost 7 per cent of the national economy. On the other hand, total tax revenue generated in Pakistan accounts for 10 per cent of the GDP. Since expatriates contribute such huge sums to their motherland, it may be prudent to formalize expatriates’ role in securing Pakistan’s faltered law and order situation and/or in decision making . But regret to state that despite this remarkable contribution to the devastating economy in Pakistan for the last many years, expatriates had no voice or any real representation on any social, political, or economic platform in Pakistan. They have been facing immense problems back home in every walks of life for example education of their children, health, employment hindrances, involving in criminal cases, getting connections of utility services, travel agents and airlines related issues, banks related matters disputes in family, safety of property, safety of lives, law and order concerns, settling down issues unemployment on return and numerous types of similar issues.

In order to overcome these problems, Punjab Government has devised a welfare plan where an office of “Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission” has been approved by Punjab Assembly in November 2014. The commission has been enacted in law called ‘the Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission act 2014 (Act XX of 2014). This new established office shall be fully empowered by law to look after the welfare of Overseas Pakistanis. The main objectives shall include general welfare of overseas Pakistanis, addressing of their genuine complaints within the jurisdiction of the provincial Government, looking after and providing them protections from land grabbing, facilitation of their investments, welcoming of their suggestions and including them in mainstream politics etc. This office is now integral part of Government of Punjab like other office as far as services and general administration is concerned.

It was a need of the time that overseas Pakistanis should have a platform available in Pakistan who could own their problems and raise their voice on their behalf in their absence. Based on my personal extended experience as an expatriate I have an ample knowledge about the sufferings and hardships being faced by our Pakistani brethren while living abroad. I have learned their problems by travelling around the world to avail the several opportunities to sit with them in different countries around the world and share their issues. My meetings with overseas Pakistanis of all levels ranging from the status of labors to the levels of senior executives and CEOs in different countries which has encouraged me to be their voice and open a forum to extend a helping hand in resolving of their concerns. Hence on this perception I had decided to repatriate and open a law firm in Pakistan to provide solely assistance to overseas Pakistanis on free of charge.

It’s prudent to say that now the Punjab Government headed by C.M Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has taken an unprecedented step in the history of Pakistan and has strategized a plan to help overseas Pakistanis. Initially an office of Overseas Pakistanis Commissioner, Punjab, has recently established this commission under the personal interest of Chief minister and the special arrangements has been made for resolving problems faced by the expatriates. Having this bitter truth that since long the overseas Pakistanis were facing different kinds of problems which required to be taken seriously at federal government level but no one has even thought about or taken any bold step in this regard. The constitution of Islamic democratic republic of Pakistan entitles each citizen for equality in all respect. The newly established ‘Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission’ shall be functioning in its duties and functions as all the complaints of expatriates which may be lodged in any one of the mode they consider it feasible and appropriate, like online complaint portal, Constituted advisory councils, respective embassies, high commissions or consulates or directly writing to the office of the commissioner will be handled without prejudice.

Its combination would be comprised as an officer of the level of Additional Secretary shall be selected by all department and the Police and Board of Revenue will appoint an officer of the level of Additional Inspector General and a Member of Board of Revenue as Focal Person for addressing the complaints received from Overseas Pakistanis to deal with their complaints and monitor the progress. The Commissioner shall be responsible to investigate or to refer any complaint he may deem suitable to the office of the Punjab Ombudsman for further remedial action. All such complaints referred to the Provincial Government Departments shall be immediately transmitted / transferred to the concerned departments/offices and shall be continuously monitored for quick remedial action and the progress will also be submitted to the Chief Secretary and Chief Minister accordingly.

To bring these welfare benefits to the gross route levels districts committees in each district of Punjab would be constituted which shall be headed by a Chairperson (nominated by Commissioner), District Coordination Officer (Vice Chairperson, two members (nominated by the Commissioner), District Police Officer or Head of the District Police (member), Additional District Collector (Secretary/member), Representatives of the concerned district departments to be co-opted by the Committee. The Commission will also make recommendations for policy changes and establishing of similar body at federal level in order to make improvements in the system of Federal Government as well as Provincial Government on the basis of the suggestions .complaints and / or any feedback received from the Overseas Pakistanis.

At the end we would like to congratulate to every member of Punjab assembly who become part of this wonderful act of welfare for Overseas Pakistanis and offer our services and full support to contribute our expertise in providing assistance to help in smooth functioning of the commission in order to make it beneficent and produce the required results. We also would extend our humbleness in reminding the federal Government to establish and approve similar welfare platform on federal level.

Written By: Dr. Raja. M. Javaid Janjua

(Bureau Chief UNP, Islamabad)

Dr. Javaid Janjua

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