By Muhammad Javed
Umar Cheema is not merely a senior but also a serious investigative journalist. That is why according to anchor Khalid Butt, his “Qeema” was made. On the issue of dual nationality last week he wrote an article, the reference and contents of which became hot topic and base of many sane voices in more than a dozen talk shows. In his said article showing figures and ratios he apprised the nation to the anger of PPP that it was the poor Pakistanis working in the Middle East holding only Pakistani passports sending more money compared to their earnings the rich Pakistanis holding dual nationality from Europe contribute through their remittances. This had to be relied because same day simultaneously an international report also appeared as how the remittances were playing its role in the development and sustainability of many countries. In case of Pakistan the ratio and figures shown in this international report were taken from the World Bank data.
Umar Cheema has now penned down another article on the same topic on 12 July 2012 showing how many Pakistanis were where. Reading of his article shows it was based on the figures taken by him from the data of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. How much these figures can be relied upon can be judged from a news report appearing yesterday 14 July that the figures of targets achieved only 01 July 2012 are today claimed wrong by none else by the same FBR itself.
We the Overseas Pakistanis physically present in foreign countries see from our naked eyes how since more than a decade number of Pakistanis in the Middle East is almost constantly on decline. There are many factors for this namely unemployment, high cost of living incompatible with lower salaries here, Indians/Bangladeshis taking over due to their accepting much less etc. However there is a very interesting phenomenon over which “paper currency printing” government is deliberately closing eyes and that is that while Pakistanis daily saving is decreasing the so called “home” remittances are continuously increasing. Our Government statements during the last 20 years always invariably stated that so and so country had decided to take from Pakistan so many hundred thousands more but practically nothing was ever seen happening. Only recently, date not remembered, the Overseas Pakistanis Division claimed having sent a few lack Pakistanis abroad in recent times. The exact figure is not remembered. How much is the credibility in it can be judged from the very recent statement on 24 June 2012 from Ghulam Nabi Bangash, Head of Standing Committee on Labour & Manpower who said that “number of Pakistanis abroad have decreased, by dismissing Pakistanis the seats are being given to people from India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Philippines and Sri Lanka”. Out of these two statements, both governmental, and various others which one should be trusted?
The naked fact is neither the Overseas Pakistanis Division, Overseas Pakistanis Foundation or Ministry of Foreign Affairs has any mechanism whatsoever small it may be to know the number of Pakistanis working in any respective country. The prime reason is none of them have any real intent to do so as it involves having direct access contact with the community which is out of bond of our bureaucrats. The Chairman Public Accounts Committee in his report a few years ago wrote that the OPF and Ministry of Foreign Affairs have no interest with the Overseas Pakistanis.
How much could one take the figures quoted by Umar Cheema of course taken from the source of OPF, Foreign Affairs and Overseas Division can be judged by a wise reader from one example. Umar Cheema’s article quotes 75,641 Pakistanis in Bahrain. The Gulf News Daily the largest English language national Daily of Bahrain 10 May 2012 says there are 32,000 Pakistanis in Bahrain according to “Official Sources/Statistics” repeat it “official sources/statistics” which however the Pakistani Embassy source in the same news item contradicted to be more than 50,000. It is very meaningful and interesting.
Keeping all above picture in mind, holding his breath, one should lastly read a very significant self speaking needing no comments, a news item appearing on 12 May 2012 in the Bahrain national daily. It is concerning a closed Factory of which, affected and now unemployed workers are still awaiting their unpaid salaries. The article reads that out of 1,100 affected staff in the Light Style Garment Factory 400 still are in Bahrain while most have left. Out of these 1,100, according to the newspaper 800 were Indian, 250 Bahraini, 47 Bangladeshis, two Sri Lankans and one Pakistani.
Umar Cheema reconcile yourself.