By Iftikhar A. Khan
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Gilani has said his Government was considering a proposal for granting voting rights to expatriate Pakistanis, and was studying the cases of other countries which had already provided this facility to their overseas nationals.
He was talking to James Shera, Former Mayor of Rugby, who called on him at the PM House on Saturday.
Referring to his government’s initiatives for the uplift and welfare of minorities in Pakistan, the Prime Minister said that all necessary measures were being taken to protect their rights and to ensure their equal status.
In response to the points raised by Shera, the Prime Minister directed the relevant authorities for processing foreign remittances swiftly through banking channels, cutting the registration fee by 50 per cent on the purchase of properties in Pakistan, and putting in place a system under which they could get their Pakistani properties vacated on a three month notice.
He welcomed Shera’s proposal for inviting notable expatriates annually in order to enlist their support for lobbying Pakistan’s interests abroad, and to attract investment in the country.
Shera paid tribute to the Prime Minister for his Dec 16th speech, in which he had announced granting 5% job quotas to minorities in the government sector, plans to increase the number of minority seats in the National and Provincial Assemblies, and allocation of minority seats in the Senate for the first time in Pakistan’s history.
Shera also applauded the Prime Minister’s decision to appoint an individual from the minority community as the Federal Minister for Minorities.