Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development was established through merger of former Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis on 7th June, 2013. It is committed to Welfare of Pakistani diaspora spread globally, Policy Making & Promotion of Employment Abroad, and betterment of National Labor Laws in Line with International Benchmarks.

Problems of overseas Pakistanis generally comprise of issues related to family disputes, legal and financial conflicts, visa and immigration’s issues, criminal cases; problems faced related to NADRA registration, employment apprehensions and remittances issues. To address all these issues, Prime Minister Imran Khan has entrusted Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari as his Special Assistant on the MOP&HRD. 

9 million Ops are the 6th largest diaspora in the world, and have faced multiple problems and there was a huge logjam of unresolved complains collected previously. Mostly due to lack of communication with the relevant departments previously there was no mechanism of grievance redress and monitoring system for overseas Pakistanis.

Right after taking the charge, special assistant to PM constituted a special team of professionals and initiated reforms to revamp the ministry for the development and welfare of overseas Pakistanis. 

In the past, departments under this ministry fell to the fraudulent practices, nepotism and favoritism. This has resulted in lack of trust among overseas Pakistanis. Following the 100 days plan of PMIK, Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari has achieved many mileposts in his 60 days being in-charge of the affairs of MOP&HRD. 

Considering 100 days performance of MOP&HRD, some key initiatives are as follows:

Over 20 to 30 billion dollars lands into Pakistan through unofficial channels, as illegal remittances annually. Legal transaction of this amount to our banks will strengthen our economy, while eliminating gap of balance of payments. A high powered special committee has been actualised under the visionary leadership of PMIK. Finance minister Asad Umer is also member of this committee. The committee will give submissions to prevent the illegal transactions of valuable foreign exchange.  

Because of EOBI scandal, many developmental projects are getting tardy. This is also causing wastage of national revenue. To face this situation, ministry has formed a strategy and government along with FIA and NAB will bring the EOBI case to court, so that after taking its decision, better strategy can be formed for the future. EOBI pensioners were provided with long awaited relief with 10 percent increase in EOBI pension.

Ministry of OP&HRD inaugurated Biometric verification system for intending emigrants, which shall provide Biometric confirmation of Pakistanis intending to travel abroad for job. All the emigrants shall be provided with a hologram sticker on their passports, ensuring that they have completed all the codal procedures. This initiative can help reduce the desolation of OPs during traveling in and out of country, as forced bribe taken by individuals. Willing individuals shall be sensitised and provided awareness regarding overseas laws to avoid legal complications abroad. It will also benefit the government to maintain records of individuals travelling and going abroad and thus, their problems and any legal complications can be addressed effectively. 

The FIA and NADRA are performing this task altogether first time in the history as per Prime Minister’s recommendations. This system can also guide to relocate schools and colleges for overseas Pakistanis according to their population clusters. 

To address the sheer condition of Pakistanis in KSA, Numbers of Saudi Councils of Welfare Attaches have increased from 4 to 6. It will be increased further to 8 within next 6 months. This shall help providing swift problem solving of Pakistanis staying in KSA. 

Responsive social media channels for overseas Pakistanis were created to provide accessibility and live one to one interaction between higher authorities and overseas audience, especially the Special Assistant to PM is available to redress questions and complaint.

One lac jobs for Pakistanis in Qatar have been created. Pakistan and UAE agreed to prepare a mechanism to release detained prisoners.

To provide justice timely, Prime Minister Imran Khan has initiated Fast Track Courts for Overseas Pakistanis. 

E Office system has been adopted in the MOP&HRD to increase internal efficiency in office processes, while creating digital/ paperless work place. Financial planning and budgeting initiated on modern lines for the better management of expenses and finance according to the budget.

The website of MOP&HRD has been revamped with more user friendly interface providing hierarchy sorting, easy navigation, advanced search and news events timeline.

A one stop complaint management portal Call Sarzameen is launched for prompt complaint resolution of Pakistani Diaspora spread globally and their families.

Overseas Pakistani Foundation under the MOP&HRD is working for the welfare of OPs and their families. One window airport facilitation desks under OPF being revamped to provide one window facilitation to all OPs at airports across Pakistan in terms of efficient service delivery. Steps have been taken to devise future business strategy in education, housing and health sectors for OPs in OPF. Under e learning initiatives, online lectures have been extended to educational institutes of Sanghar and Muzaffarabad and are also being extended to Pakistani schools in Saudi Arabia

A memorandum of understanding has been signed between OPF and Air University for establishment of university for OPs families and development of its curriculum on modern lines. Faculty development program for OPF’s educational institutions has been initiated through British Council. Chinese Language program is being initiated in OPF educational institutions in Islamabad.

The MOP&HRD has adopted a mechanism for the appreciation of the efforts and contribution of Overseas Pakistanis. In this regard the SAPM Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari acknowledged the contribution of Pakistani origin artist Sadaf Farasat from Malaysia, who has donated her all artwork for the PM&CJ dam fund.

The MOP&HRD has taken these all ingenuities in just 60 days as per 100 days plan of PM Imran Khan, we have set our targets on high grounds for the five years of good governance by taking welfare initiatives for the OPs and their families. In MOP&HRD we believe that all 9 million OPs who are the sixth largest diaspora in the international community are the ambassadors of Pakistan. They can make and bring positive image of Pakistan globally.  

 

Writer is the Member of National Assembly &

Parliamentary Secretary for Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development  (MOP&HRD)