OWNERS HAVE TO PAY RENT-By Muhammad Javed

As each and every successive government, president, prime minister, chief minister, minister and whosoever worth of his slat during the last 20 years is raising slogan to make Karachi another Hong Kong, likewise each of the above during the last 15 years has invented rhetoric that the Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) were the real Ambassadors of Pakistan.  Nawaz Sharif as Prime Minister raised the most famous empty slogan that OPs were our family members and they can take whatsoever even run themselves the Pakistan Embassies abroad.  What actual is the position well explains the only one quote that a few years back the NA Accounts Committee observed that the Pakistan government, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation all have no interest with the OPs whereas the Indian government was doing so and so.

2.      Tuesday 12th January 2010 I traveled to Lahore and visited OPF Office right at 08.30.  On presentation of the Documents a photocopy of one of the original was demanded.  I was totally stranger in Lahore.  The host with whom I stayed went to the market to get the photocopied.  As early as in Karachi none of the shop was opened.  Even the full staff including the Director of OPF had not come to the office supposed to be present at sharp 08.00.  My host luckily found a shop at about 3 kilometers away and arrived back after 45 minutes in car and presented the copy.  At this stage copy of another document was demanded.  This time my host requested the OPF staff to get him a copy within the office which was point blank refused with the direction that he should go to the market.  By this time another shop at 2 km had opened and this time my host came back in 30 minutes.  I wonder had I not any host owner of car then what would have happened to me.

2.      In most of the office rooms I had the chance to visit the gas heaters were working for the comfort of the staff whereas the use of the heaters except for specified offices is not allowed by the Government.  The OPF is a semi autonomous body being run on exclusive contributions of us the Members and there is not a single Rupee from the Treasury.  Thus in a phrase we the Members are the owners/shareholders of OPF or the employers of the OPF staff but in practical term despite being the owners we are required to pay the rent.  The government has tall claims towards the welfare of the Ops, whereas practically it cannot afford Rs. 1.00 on photocopy for us the OPs.  Even the Government had no normal courtesy that I had traveled from abroad and had reached by 22 hours train travel in extreme cold and direct from the Lahore railways station.  Without any real and truly legal need for another witness, a Lahore resident seeing me in problem without knowing me at all became a witness and signed as my witness. This is what we the Asians are specialized in this regard the world over.  In the books of the Government as it has performed marvelously during the last about 2 years for the common man, there are dozens of incentives for the OPs like VIP treatment at airports etc but the naked fact is the only real incentive at present available is Rs. 400 a year in shape of a free Passport once in 5 years worth Rs. 2000 to those who send Rs.1.50 lac a year through legal channels.   I really felt shame when my host twice had to go outside just for a photo-copy.

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