Friends of Pakistan (FoP), a representative organisation of about 10 million overseas Pakistanis planning investment in the country, has demanded allocation of seats in parliament and the senate.
The demand was made at a telephonic conference addressed by FoP Founder Chairman Sarfraz Khan and Country Coordinator Abdullah Butt at the Karachi Press Club on Friday.
Speaking from Los Angeles, Khan said overseas Pakistanis have no voice in the country’s parliament or senate, with no representation in decision-making. He said they were performing important tasks in their chosen countries and improving Pakistan’s image and helping it by remitting foreign exchange.
The speakers claimed that they have the ability to increase remittances from $6.1 billion to a higher level, bring more investment in the private sector, help in the education sector, provide assistance for building schools, colleges and universities, provide assistance for introducing advanced technology in agriculture, provide support for green energy or power stations to solve the energy crisis and give assistance to the IT industry.
“To achieve these goals, we must have representation in the National and Provincial Assemblies and the senate to help them draw legislation to boost the confidence of expatriates. Thus we want the ‘right of vote’ to elect our representatives in overseas countries for the Pakistani parliament,” a written statement of FoP said.
They said that they would unveil a comprehensive investment plan for Pakistan at an international conference of the FoP to be held on February 14-15 at Los Angeles. “We have invited Minister of State on Investment and Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman, Saleem H Mandviwala, and other officials of the government and the opposition, but none of them have confirmed their participation yet,” Butt told The News on the sidelines of the conference.
FoP mentioned that over 10 million Pakistanis were living in different parts of the world including North America, Europe, Middle East and Far East.
When asked whether the idea of acquiring overseas representation in the government machinery was unique or had been implemented in other states, Khan said more or less the same system was being run in Italy, France, Colombia, Britain, Ireland, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, South Korea, Switzerland, Trinidad & Tobago, and the US. The News