Overseas Pakistanis

Why is it that when an Indian PM visits any foreign country, overseas Indian diaspora are united in supporting him or her, irrespective of which political party is at the helm, while there is a clear division in the case of any Pakistan PM on foreign tour? The reason is that the Indian Constitution forbids dual nationality and only allows single nationality with undivided loyalty to the motherland.

Indians, holding foreign passports, are forbidden to vote in an Indian election or become a member of any Indian political party or even give donations. They can however donate to registered charitable organisations in India. These Indian origin foreign nationals are actively involved in American or UK politics etc. and made inroads to corridors of power through united efforts. They have formed powerful pressure groups to support India in the US Congress or UK Parliament. The only Pakistani to ever hold a prominent elected post is Mayor Sadiq Khan of London, who has never been actively involved in Pakistani politics or been a member of any Pakistani political party.

Indian foreign remittances in 2021 were $87 Billion with almost 20% from the USA, while total remittances to Pakistan in 2021 were $29.4 Billion in 2020-2021, as compared to $23Billion in 2019-20. Foreign nationals living abroad remit their savings to support families living back home and these are likely to decrease over time when their offspring’s emotional attachment with their parent’s relative withers. Unfortunately, the other difference with India is that majority of Pakistan’s paid, and elected elite have settled their dependent children abroad while holding office and are involved in the reverse flow of scarce foreign exchange abroad. Post-retirement they seek permanent residence abroad. Giving voting rights to overseas Pakistanis who have on oath pledged their loyalty to another nation will not serve the national interest and can compromise state sovereignty because of their split loyalties.

MALIK TARIQ ALI,

Lahore.

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