By Muhammad Javed
The Managing Director, Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF), Islamabad, recently in a press conference in Dubai said that a 100 member Overseas Advisory Council was being formed for the solution of Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) problems. 30 would be from Middle East, 30 from Europe and 30 from North America.
- First Overseas Pakistanis Advisory Committee was established in 1996-97 when Mian Nawaz Sharif was showing his immeasurable but non existing, love for the OPs under his slogan قرض اتارو ملک سنوارو. General Musarraf relabeled it as Overseas Pakistanis Advisory Council (OPAC) and replaced the members with his own liked ones. Even today OPAC exists. What had been the practical performance of these Committees or Councils or its members? One example would suffix. One Mr. Nishat (if my memories in this old age are not misguiding me) was “selected a member from Bahrain. On his “selection”, he announced through the local Bahraini newspapers that every Sunday he would regularly sit in the Pakistan Embassy to meet Pakistanis in order to listen to their problems. During his full tenure he came only on two Sundays. Later no ordinary person ever saw him.
- What is the performance of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) itself, let alone that of such Committees or Councils or the members thereof? One example might suffix. I addressed Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis Islamabad early 2016 enquiring as to what was the “merit” for selection of one Mr. XYZ as a Member of the Council from Bahrain? I narrated the Ministry how instead of helping a 20 year young Pakistani victim of human smuggling, its council member Mr. XYZ shamefully protected the apparent human smuggler. (I am not aware if Mr. XYZ still is a Member of the new Council proposed and announced in Dubai by the MD OPF if has taken over). In return one official, not less than the Assistant Director (CC) named as Basharat Khan wrote that you are“ADVISED” to provide name/address of the Complainant (Mr. XYZ). The head of this senior citizen went deep down into self-shame as to how “minus lowest” the capability of the officers one can expect had gone that an Assistant Director can’t just “read” and understand a communication lying on his table let alone right action. He did not know that Mr. XYZ was not the complainant rather was against whom I had raised the complaint. The depth of sorrow and self-shame was that the senior level Assistant Director did not know that Mr. XYZ was a Member of the Council established by his own office whose full credentials were somewhere in his own office file present. Those who don’t have their average mental attention towards reading and understanding the content and meaning of a communication from a member of public lying on their table, what “problems” they can solve for others? The ex-Member Advisory Council in Bahrain Mr. Muhammad Usman has in his treasure amongst other a letter from OPF addressed to some government Department reading “received herewith a complaint from LATE Mr. ABC”. Dead people are sending their problems “from up” to OPF, it can happen only in our beloved bureaucracy.
- This 70 years senior citizen can’t understand what actual purpose of forming this 100 member get-together is, if not just to spend on their regular tickets for Pakistan, hoteling, meetings, foreign touring – not a single Rupee from the national exchequer but all from the huge undisclosed treasure with the concerned Ministry/OPF in the form of monies contributed by OPs themselves from their own pockets.
- Air Marshal Asghar Khan once said about a Department that there was a large army there either nothing or very little to do. Same suffixes to the issue of welfare of OPs or OPF which has none concerned except mostly doubtful housing schemes or according to the Senate “spending on physically invisible on the ground development” has done anything. There is a huge Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis solving OPs problems. Then there is a Federal Ombudsman and different provincial ombudsmen all “also” solving problems of OPs. There are different other institutions like Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commissioner. There is a Federal Grievance Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis who never gets tired from seen in the press and on the Facebook. He is said to be solving problems on Skype, having appointed Focal and Grievance Persons in every Department, airport counters, this and that including weekly Ambassadors listening OPs complaints . The other day I read that PIA was the second after Ethiopian Airlines in terms of worst safety; we have distinguish to be the sole and top of world whose Ambassadors regularly weekly listen community complainants. Ha ha ha). Nowhere in the world has an Ambassador attested a document but the Consular. Our Ambassador in Qatar attested famous Qatari letter. So why can’t our ambassadors weekly hold regular complaints hours. In addition to above not ending army, recently PM’s Coordinator/Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis (one named Zubair Gull “probably” living in UK) has been appointed. If it was still not enough the Bahawalpur Division Commissioner has established Special Complaint Cells in his three districts to redress the problems and grievances under the supervision of DCOs.
- Very logical, sensible and a million dollar question arises that since years over years such a large army outlined above is present as self-claimed, solving OPs problems, then all those problems must had, logically, disappeared in thin air by now. If not, which is a fact from the MD OPF’s press conference itself, then the logical conclusion is all this large army practically had done nothing except for enjoying status, jobs, perks and boosting itself. Rather, it depicts that the problems of OPs have further aggravated against the so much trumpeted tall claims from “different” mouths, as is evident from the fact that instead of existing 10-12 members Committee/Council now a 100-member Council is being setup. If a new group of 100 laborers are engaged to pull a sunken ship from the sea, it logically means the earlier team of 10-12 laborers completely failed to perform this job. Federal Ombudsman received 80,000 complaints from Ops in seven months. Why this number increased? Because problems not got solved rather issues of concern increased. It is a total failure against the claims of success. These are the serious judicious views of a senior citizen with 45 years rich experience whose working “still” is liked abroad.
- it is a fact that OPF itself is a problem for the OPson whose personal financial contributions this organization survives. Take one example provided if you are honest and believed on عزوجل خوف خدا only then read this paragraph and arrive at your own God fearing conclusion. Last year on 01 July 2016 the Deputy Director Estate OPF issued a FINAL NOTICE to the Pakistanis all over the world ordering them to pay their outstanding dues by 30th July otherwise their plots would be cancelled. Nothing was mentioned how much was outstanding and why. As millions were “spent” according to Senate on non-existing development, likewise since there was “something” contrary behind the mind, the efficient Deputy. Director kept those Notices on his table for complete one month and sent to the Post Office on 29th July 2016 Friday technically, thus, leaving no time, even any hours, for the allottees to make payment. Last date mentioned was 30th July and it was Saturday which is a Government holiday and OPD closed. Thus on the last date when the payment should have been deposited, the said Dy. Director was enjoying “آلو کا پراٹھا” with his family. This happened all under the nose of the MD OPF who in Dubai now is showing his so much love for the OPs in solving their problems by appointing a 100 member greater Council. This was done deliberately with the intention that the notices may expire before reaching to the OPs so they may suffer and the cancelled plots could be allotted illegally to dear ones as was done in Islamabad-V Housing Scheme earlier. Had there been any remotest honest Government set up, the Dy. Director Estate would have been packed home same moment the matter came into light in writing (through this senior citizen). Please stop, don’t think the film is finished here, just hold your breath and brace yourself to have “unbelievable”. Please don’t take that next lines hereinafter are from a 70 year old having lost his senses and from a “mad” needing mental hospital admission. No, Sir, I am perfectly OK with complete sound mind. Now listen. I took up this matter with the Federal Ombudsman, called in Urdu the وفاقی محتسب. The issue involved was not just an individual personal for this 70 year old, rather it was a matter of collective community concern needing more serious attention as it badly affected a larger segment of OPs. The protector of the citizens’ rights the Federal Ombudsman refused to entertain the complaint on the ground (hold your breath) that a complaint should be (i) in writing and (ii) addressed to the Wafaqi Mohtasib. I have 45 years typing experience starting from old orthodox “Brother” manual type writer to the first generation 486-PC and since 12-years on high class Laptops with high cost laser printers. My “written” letters/papers got due attention like decision by Supreme Court, amendment in foreign exchange regulations etc in Pakistan, written letters to UNO, foreign Governments, foreign missions in line of my duty abroad. First time from the Federal Ombudsman Pakistan I learnt that what I wrote in shape of a complaint was not “in writing”. The second objection was that a complaint should be addressed to the Wafaqi Mohtasib. This 70 years old, not yet mad, could not understand why then then the ombudsman for the mohtasib, whatsoever he is, on his official website mentions himself as the “Federal Ombudsman”? This is the justice, this is the standard of justice for which this poor debit ridden nation is spending huge amount on different ombudsmen system, نام نہاد Grievance Commissioners (provincial or federal) etc on huge expense. A recent example suffixes good for a point to ponder and soul searching provided one is truly honest. Last month two women, a mother and her daughter both Overseas Pakistanis from Norway were physically beaten by FIA staff at Islamabad airport. When through others passengers and the people present there, the incident came out of the Lounge, the FIA denied if any such incident ever occurred. However, the video of the beating became viral when My Lordship Chief Justice of Pakistan took suo moto notice of the incident. At this stage, repeat at this stage, the FIA terminated an FIA lady constable. No news item has so far passed before the eyes of this 70 years senior citizen if any notice having been taken by the Federal Ombudsman or the one called the Grievance Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis. They have managed “Skype” complaints but what happened right under their nose in Islamabad at the airport with two OP ladies, perhaps “skype” did not catch the signal. Where “went” their much fanfare created “special one-window system at airports” for the Ops? Where were the OPF, FIA, CAA, ASF officials seated on this “one window” on the orders of the Federal Ombudsman at the time of incident? Where is the OPF; what notice it took on the issue? Did it covered up this ugly incident in its costly Magazine as a new item? No, certainly not. Lady Constable has been terminated which means the matter has ended. If the Federal Ombudsman and the Grievance Commissioner were really serious for the care of Ops, would they do what rightly is needed viz investigating and terminating the representatives of OPF, CAA, ASF staff present including the Assistant Director on duty of FIA who all criminally remained spectator seeing all what was happening before their eyes. The real OPs, don’t’ need any one-window. By going abroad on job, we the ordinary people have not become shaikhs. We still are ordinary rather have become more ordinary. If our family members living locally in Pakistan can for hours stand in long queues from one window to go to another window in Nadra office, then we would need just “one window” at airport”. This could be the demand of a small elite percentage of OPs. The demand of real OPs are;
- Their properties are saved from mafia. My life earned plot from OPF, I am today told has gone into litigation meaning, I have lost it forever. Senator Tareq Azeem as Minister of Overseas Pakistanis addressed us in the auditorium of Pakistan Club Bahrain. He said most of the land purchases by OPF were under doubtful dealings there were blessing hands of “some” behind the scene mafia. He told a portion of Housing Scheme (Azad Kashmir perhaps) is under encroachment. Whenever he arranged with authorities to visit the site with law enforcement agencies to get encroachments cleared, the mafia master pre-handed got information as someone from within the OPF passed on about this move to mafia beforehand.
- Some sound government investment scheme for our old age, whereas today we can’t open a bank account in Pakistan from abroad.
- We are saved from being pickpocketed eg by Nadra which takes Rs. 2000 for a Card locally but for same card, consuming same material from an OP it charges Rs.16,000 and Mashallah our Grievance Commissioner so pleasantly sleeps on it.
- The OPF a few years back wrote to His Excellency the President of Pakistan that Muhammad Javed living in Bahrain and his wife both are habitual complainants. Dishonest and mentally corrupts always dislike those who act on their still alive conscious, like this old fool, speak out following the Islamic teaching that those who remain silent on injustice, were themselves zalim. Honest people appreciate such bold gestures of those who speak. His Excellency the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on my writing him critically, under his own signature in a one-and-a-half page letter not just thanked this “habitual complainant” rather appreciated his good gesture; because, Ghulam Ishaq Khan was an honest man, leave political ideology aside.