GOODBYE, MY LORDSHIP AND OUR TWO OVERSEAS FUNDS

BY MUHAMMAD JAVED

Despite huge voices there is so far no answer as to from where came Rs. 5.5 billion recently paid for settling the circular debit. Was this through further extra printing of currency notes or taken/diverted from any other fund/source? Though Sheikh Rasheed’s question in the assembly was answered but according to Rauf Klasra the two page answer was complete with undesired technical definitions lacking any hint to the real question from where came this money.  Katrina Hussain the anchor commented, this might have been taken “from different funds.  Sheikh Rasheed still repeatedly keeps raising this question in talk shows.  National Insurance, Police Foundation Fund, Old Age Benefit Fund, National Bank Fund and so on,  Hardly any week or a fortnight gets passed without one not hearing about surfacing of a new scandal or misuse of this fund or that.  Misuse of Benazir Income Support Fund is now a recorded fact. In August 2013 I returned back to Karachi after about a year’s stay abroad.  Landing at Karachi airport I switched over to my Pakistani SIM.  A few pending undelivered SMSs popped up. One gave me a good news that I had been selected for a Rs. 30,000 income support from Benazir Income Support Fund and I was advised to contact a given mobile number to get that money. Since I am a senior citizen with very poor visibility having lost one eye in operation unfortunately in an effort to preserve that precious SMS, I deleted it.  No doubt mobile company can still retrieve it.  Rs. 22 billions belonging to Dams, Pension and Savings were give to Parliamentarians in the last days of currently gone PPP Jamhuriyat.

 

2.      As a layman I am convinced that no one can take as guaranteed if any given or named Fund was still safe if one sees what has happened during the last 5-6 years.   I had for 30 years been an Overseas Pakistani. Every Pakistani going abroad on work compulsorily contributes towards membership of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) Islamabad.  OPF has a huge fund which fully is from OPs contributions and not a single Rupee from the national exchequer. What is the functioning of OPF?    Rs. 10.767 million over purchase of vehicles for OPF despite a ban which it defended that it was self funds generating body hence ban not applying over it. In simple words OPF stated that it was above law of land. Rs. 36 million (or billion!) comprising about 70% (both these figures based on memories of this old man) was spent on development of its housing scheme which development the Senate site inspection body could not see with their naked eyes and termed it “invisible” development.

 

3.      In addition there is another similar fund which is maintained by our Ministry of Foreign Affairs as Overseas Pakistanis Community Welfare Fund.  Every Pakistani getting a consular service mandatory contributes towards this fund the use of which Fund is never known to we the contributors.

 

4.      During the last 20 years I have addressed every sitting President, every so called Jamhuri or heavy mandated PM, parliamentarians, columnists, human rights activists but never got even a single response from anyone including that of OPF, Overseas Pakistanis ministers like that of big mouth openers Sheikh Rasheed and Dr. Farooq Sattar including that of himself so called overseas Pakistani Tariq Azeem.  My effort had been very simple and logical namely that annual balance sheet and a brief summary of annual expenditure on the so called welfare of OPs community may be made public, published and put on their websites annually.  As this is purely our money hence as the owners of these two Funds it is our fundamental right to know periodically the “welfare and health” of these Funds. Until I see official authenticated document with double check I can never believe these funds are in good natural health seeing the rulers and functionaries are treating for the last about 6 years the “quoum ka paisa”.  Sheikh Rasheed who does not stop showing his un-seeable tears for the OPs himself did not dare to make this information public during his tenure except that March this year he disclosed that  he stopped the attempt to move OPF funds to small private banks despite pressure treating that public money he kept it in the National Bank of Pakistan.  Ever increasing figures in these two funds tempted three or four years back a voice that OPF be “privatized”.

 

5.      As like millions of other ordinary masses, this senior ailing citizen also pinning his last high hopes addressed lastly this issue to My Lordship Mr. Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhary twice during these two years. What can I say except that perhaps my communications got astray in jungle of mail.  Now two days are left when My Lordship will say good bye to the chair of justice and with that this senior citizen knowing well nothing “practically” in fact will ever happen good at least during my life time, would close this chapter for ever never to make any more foolish attempt in future.

 

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