ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that overseas Pakistanis, especially those employed as workmen and labourers, were the most precious assets of the country and their well-being was the top priority of the government.

He assured that all possible facilities would be extended to the overseas Pakistanis and those employed as workmen.

The Prime Minister was expressing his views in a briefing given by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development Division, PM Office media wing in a Press release said.

He observed that it was the responsibility of the government to provide facilities to those expatriates, who work abroad as labourers and workmen to support their families.

The Prime Minister was of the view that a strategy should be devised for maximum utilisation of job opportunities emerging in the Gulf countries, including Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, so that the professionals and experts in Pakistan could avail of those opportunities.

The Secretary Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Development Division briefed the Prime Minister in detail about the functioning of the Ministry and its attached departments.

Special Assistant to the PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari was also present during the meeting.

The Prime Minister stressed upon extending all possible facilities to the overseas Pakistanis for increasing the foreign remittances, so that country’s economy could be stabilised.

On the instruction of Prime Minister, a Committee headed by his Special Assistant Zulfiqar Bukhari was constituted which would present its recommendations for the resolution of issues being faced by the overseas Pakistanis. 

The Committee in collaboration with the State Bank of Pakistan, National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) would also determine the process for sending foreign remittances by the overseas Pakistanis, so that remittances could be legally transmitted to the country instead through hawala or hundi.

The meeting decided in principle to shift the Community Welfare Attaches deputed in Pakistan Embassies and the Prime Minister also directed for shifting of the attaches to those places abroad where population of overseas Pakistanis was concentrated.

The meeting also considered removing the condition of issuance of NICOP (to Pakistanis working as labourers abroad.

The Prime Minister directed for appointment of Board of Governors in the Ministry concerned and its attached department on the basis of merit and professionalism.

He also directed for ensuring strict safety measures for the workmen and labourers working in the industrial units.

The meeting also agreed in principle to hand over affairs pertaining to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) from Economic Affairs Division to the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development.

The National Accountability Bureau would probe the cases of mismanagement and corruption cases of the previous governments.