Almost 80% of foreign remittances come from the Gulf, Middle East and the Far East from Pakistani expatriates to support their families. All expatriates working in the Gulf and the Middle East have a ‘Post Box Number’ as their postal address, which they use for opening a bank account, receive mail etc. Residential addresses, of these expatriates have no significance.

All these expatriates open bank accounts where their salaries are deposited, mentioning only Employer Name and P O Box Number. It is unfortunate that the State Bank of Pakistan, whose top executive are men holding foreign nationalities from the developed world, have made residential address a compulsory requirement for individuals sending remittance.

All such remittances are put on hold and the beneficiaries, mostly semi-literate women, are required to submit further details. This to me seems shear incompetence, or unfamiliarity with ground realities and procedures in the country of residence, from where almost 70% foreign remittances originate, or else a deliberate attempt to discourage foreign remittances through legal channels to facilitate those involved in transfer of billions of dollars out of Pakistan through irregular channels. Had it not been for remittances of those working in countries where residential address is just a P O Box, the foreign reserves of the country would have been negligible. Instead of facilitating the large majority who remit their savings to Pakistan, our state functionaries including the immigration office, subject them to harassment and inconvenience.


Lahore, July 19.