Open letter to Syed Zulfi Bukhari

His Excellency Mr. Sayed Zulfi Bukhari

Special Assistant to PM for Overseas Pakistanis, Islamabad

Your Excellency,

Once during a press conference in a foreign country, a reporter put a question to the addressing Minister of the country. The Minister enquired from where the reporter got that information.  On reply from Pakistan, the Minister advised all present never ever to be surprised on anything connected with Pakistan.  It is really true. One PM advises the other to go home, wait for court decision and come back if declared honorable. But on his own term even on having been declared dishonest questions “مجھے کیوں نکالا؟  “.  If Nawaz Sharif with ample margin appoints Fawad Hasan, that was laughable in the eyes of Imran Khan, but same “narrow margined” Imran Khan justifies appointing Aown Chaudhry that people have mandated the PM.  This joke can only be in our beloved Pakistan.   ما شاء الله our SC has so much affection for the Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) but what Tahir-ul-Qadri, an Overseas Pakistani faced, is not any old history. For five years Imran Khan criticized Nawaz on appointing dual nationals and those having their names in NAB. This week’s newspapers are full of articles about you.  It is really a cruel joke that one who has his own investment abroad would advise on how investment in Pakistan was profitable and as to how “other” Overseas Pakistanis can be advised to bring their money in Pakistan and invest here.

  1. Can OPs or dual nationals “really” serve Pakistan? If someone thinks so he is, for this senior citizen, mentally bankrupt. I am in service, can I serve Pakistan as an Advisor or as an MNA?  Will my Arab employer allow me 3-4 years absence? You are a businessman. You have business in UK. Can your UK business afford your continuous absence from there due to your activity as Advisor in Pakistan?  Certainly not.  Then why you or for that matter those in US, Canada or elsewhere struggle too hard to contest elections in Pakistan leaving behind their businesses as “orphans” unless they “know” their loss of $100 due to absence can be recovered with $1,000 in Pakistan by bagging huge single-bidding contracts etc.
  2. It can be understood from one example how the gun is fired using OPs shoulders.  The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation, so called organization in the name of welfare of OPs, has established a 100-member Overseas Pakistanis Advisory Council. These 100 are scattered in Europe, USA, Middle East headed by a Dual national UK national as Chairman Board of Directors.  Surely all these are appointed fooling the nation and OPs that they being OPs  themselves have much heart in understanding and solving problems of OPs.  None of these 100 including their Chairman ever responds if an OP fooling himself approaches them. How these OPs working abroad or Dual National can serve Pakistan, truth can be found from one self-explanatory example. One out of above 100 told me “I can serve only people in the country of which I am holding nationality of (UK)”.  Then why the hell you are a member!!
  3. People like Imran Khan, like you, are not aware of exact problems of OPs except for voting rights and right to contest elections or more importantly allotment of plots in Islamabad, Murree.  Imran Khan does not know at all, and you too, for one example, that the Government of Pakistan always gave an impression that the income earned abroad by OPs and remitted through legal channel is exempt from income tax and as such exempt from filing annual income tax returns.  However, from the bank accounts of these OPs in Pakistan income tax is deducted.  Recently when I contacted the Government, I was told the OPs are not exempt.  Do you know this? Certainly not, as such what advice as Advisor you will give except for as to how these OPs can be allured more if not fooled.
  4. The PM Imran Khan in his first meeting with the senior journalists and anchors disclosed he was appealing Overseas Pakistanis to bring their money into Pakistan and keep in bank accounts here.
  5. I have my savings account with Habib Bank Limited Samanabad Branch Karachi.   20-25 years from 1980 to end 1990s, I can’t recall exactly how many times I requested the Bank to send me my new cheque book and received the same here in Bahrain through registered post mail. In addition, for example, I opened a Bank Account in HBL The Mall Lahore by sending account opening Form by mail, received cheque book here in Bahrain and closed the same by mail.  I don’t know where The Mall Branch situated is.  Recently I asked the Bank to send me my new cheque book which was refused on the ground that no cheque book can be sent on a “foreign address”.  Since about 15 years no “genuine” OP can open his bank account in Pakistan except for people like Ishaq Dars.  If an OP can’t have his cheque book, then what use is his having a bank account in Pakistan?  World day is striding with new technology like internet banking, e-banking, valet transactions.  In our case already existing normal facilities are gradually being withdrawn.  Bank Draft is a common banking document universally. For about 20 years, I obtained Bank Drafts from Habib Bank Bahrain for sending monies to Pakistan. Few years back my wife went to HBL Bahrain for a Draft in favour of  Layari Development Authority a Government organization. She was refused that she was not account holder of the Bank.  The General Manager advised her to open an account now, obtain a Draft and then close it.
  6. There is a general belief that there are certain un-faced sources in our beloved country who try very tactfully to take the country back to dark ages.  Mr. Advisor, in case you have any real sincere interest for the OPs and the country, will you have time to apprise PM Imran Khan that if an OP remains without a cheque book, why and for what purpose he would keep his money in a bank account in Pakistan as the PM wishes.

Renewing, Excellency, the assurances of my highest regards,

Yours respectfully,

Muhammad Javed Bahrain

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