ISLAMABAD - The government on Thursday assured the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HRD) that it would bring a new legislation in Islamabad Capital Territory to protect properties of overseas Pakistanis, citing 18th constitutional amendment a major hurdle to expand its scope across the country.

Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulifqar Bukhari Thursday apprised the committee meeting, chaired by Hilal -ur Rehman, that the federal government would contact the authorities concerned at provincial level to ensure protection of expatriates' properties from land grabbers.

Among others, the meeting was attended by Senator Syed Muhammad Shabir Shah, Senator Dr Shehzad Waseem, Senator Nighat Mirza, Senator Samina Saeed, Senator Najma Hameed and other officials from the Ministry, Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Employments and Worker Welfare Funds.

Secretary Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis Muhammad Asif informed the committee that the all available resources were being utilized to redress the expatriates' complaints relating to illegal dispossession of their properties, for which a complainant cell had been established at the Ministry office. The complaint cell was fully operational and resolving the grievances of overseas Pakistanis on daily basis, he added.

Chairman Committee Hilal-ur-Rehman also stressed for restoring and confidence building of Pakistani diaspora to ensure safety of their investment in real estate sector by giving top priority to their complaints pertaining to land grabbing.

The body also sought the response of government regarding 100,000 jobs, recently announced by Qatar for Pakistan, with details of trades.

Zulifqar Bukhari apprised the body that Qatar Embassy had recently set up 'One window' Facilitation Center to ensure speedy visa process of intending emigrants. He also informed the committee that they mull establishing a two way portal with Qatar to make sure smooth communication among both countries for facilitating the expatriates.

A Qatari delegation was likely to visit Pakistan in coming days for the purpose, he added.

The secretary said they were also planning to accommodate maximum drivers, repatriating form Saudi Arabia, in Qatar as Pakistani manpower had earned good reputation abroad in driving trade.

Expressing pleasure over the opening of Qatar Facilitation center, Senator Shahzad Waseem emphasized for availing maximum jobs, announced by Qatar, and regretted that India had managed to take lion share in overseas employment opportunities.

The committee was also briefed by Managing Director Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) about the number of buildings owned by the OPF and compliance with the recommendations made committee in last two meetings.

The Managing Director informed the committee that the OPF owned eight school buildings across the country, while 12 educational institutions were being run in rented premises.

Responding to a question of Senator Nighat Mirza, the Special Assistant said there was a dire need to bring our house in order and clarified that expansion of OPF schooling system was not in sight.

The Worker Welfare Fund told the meeting that the workers fund could not bound the enterprises for giving the bonuses to the workers from their fund as the workers were not entitled to the bonuses as per existing law after the decision of apex court, fixing minimum wages of worker at Rs 15,000 per month. According to law, the companies were bound to award bonus to workers drawing minimum wages of over Rs 7,000 per month.