I don’t trust cards anymore

Muhammad Javed

javed f3According to a news item of 21 February 2014 the government announced Taxpayer Privileges and Honour Card Scheme for 100 top taxpayers entitling them to use VIP Lounge at airports, fast-track clearance at immigration counters etc.

15 years or so back the then Finance Minister on the august floor of the national assembly presenting the new Budget announced a similar incentive scheme to the Overseas Pakistanis (OPs).  Under that one who remitted through legal channel was to be issued an OPF Remittance Card of the category according to his annual remittance.  The categories of cards are Silver, Gold and Platinum entitling different incentives.  Two such incentives irrespective of one’s category of the Card held were namely (i) separate quick handling counters at the airports and (ii) card holders to be invited at all official functions held by Pakistani Missions abroad.

On the separate special counters there needs nothing to mention except that a month or so before the tenure ending of the previous government March 2013, on a question by editor an Overseas Pakistanis weekly about the separate counters, the then Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr. Farooq Sattar on record said “there should be such separate counters”.  “Should be” is self explanatory what are the naked facts on earth irrespective what is in Files.  The announcement was about Immigration and Customs separate counters.  There are also much talked of another type of counters called the OPF Facilitation Counters on which at least I have never seen any attendance. On 18 August 2013 at 05.20 am on arrival from abroad I found the counter in the Immigration Hall closed.  On 7 November 2013 05.30 am on arrival the counter was again closed.  I wanted to snap a photograph for which first I enquired from an immigration officer who told me the counter mostly remained closed but photographing in this hall was not allowed.  Our accountabilities, commission over commissions, Naibs, susu mattatoo etc all are just routine lacking real spirit waste of times otherwise the words of this senior citizens can be judged just by playing the CCTV recordings of those two times of Immigration Hall but no one will ever do.  If for some reason it had to be done the next day it would be submitted “we have no knowledge about missing persons”

Re the incentive that all card holders would be the guests in all officials functions by Pakistan Embassies abroad despite holding Gold Card I never got any such invitation.  When I approached the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, I was told that the incentive was though announced in the Budget speech but later the Ministry of Finance did not permit to affect this incentive.  In other words not merely the Overseas Pakistanis but also the august Parliament was fooled.  Asking a question the scheme was announced live on Radio/TV before approval, I think is a foolish attempt.

These OPs Remittances Cards are valid only for a year from date of issuance.   In the early years I applied twice. My first card was of silver category and the second one Gold.  Since 10-12 years knowing well the worth of these cards I have felt myself more wise in not applying by wasting much time struggling at embassies and completing other formalities despite the fact that since 10-12 years I am now entitled for Platinum plus card.

I don’t trust Cards anymore may that be a medical risk cover card, locker insurance card or a credit card.

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