27 September 2009
Last month the Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Dr. Farooq Sattar the Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis observed that the Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) should not be treated merely as remittances sending machines. Rulers, ministers, parliamentarians and so called committees always spray such flowered academic feelings and sentiments but practically do nothing. For example addressing by any aggrieved OP even these members of Senate Committee on any problem does not bring back even an acknowledge of the communication let alone any practical attention.
A few years back a similar organ NA Accounts Committee observed that the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis, Overseas Pakistanis Foundation and the Government had no interest with the OPs whereas the Indian government was doing this and that. And this is true beyond any doubt. At the end of this I will l will quote what the Indian government do.
August 2008 a semi literate Pakistani labourer went abroad. In November he met with a critical worksite accident in which running machine caught his throat and hand. His throat was crushed. In Emergency he was operated and throat stitched. Due to narrowness of throat pipeline it was not even able to give him liquid food. Every 2-3 days he was taken to the Emergency for high energy drips to keep him alive. He had to remain motionless on the floor for months. He was not even able to speak. His accident was so critical that the local newspapers there covered it in their front page. Now see what practical interest our Government at any level had with these remittances machines.
The Pakistani Embassy representative visited him twice, enquired about his welfare but clearly told him that the Embassy had no money on this head for any financial help. The company in order to avoid the legal insurance compensation kept giving monthly salary to the injured to keep him mum for 3-4 months. One day silently the company sent the man back to Pakistan and his insurance matter died. Had the Embassy taken any practical interest keeping in view that the patient was an illiterate person and had the insurance authorities timely been approach by the Embassy he would had got at-least something.
He approached the Protector of Emmigrants in Islamabad who charges a huge fee in the name of non existing “protection” to the Pakistani workers. The Protector never gave any response to him. He approached the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation from whom he never got any response whatsoever. However later it transpired OPF had just in routine forwarded the correspondence to the Pakistan Embassy and without caring that the critically injured must be needing some food merely kept the stomach of file fed by regular correspondence.
He approached the State Life Insurance in relation to his Overseas Pakistanis Insurance Policy. The State Life did not give any response. When all these non responses were taken as formal separate complaints with the protector of citizens right the Federal Ombudsman the outcome is an eye opener. Without caring that the complainant was in critical condition with very little hope of surviving the Federal Ombudsman showed more love towards bureaucratic formalities than any real human sympathies. The then dying complainant was advised to fill up a prescribed complaint Form failing which an “adverse action” including closure of his complaint could be taken. What adverse action the Ombudsman can take and who gave such an authority on a complainant’s failing in submitting merely a formality no one will ever explain nor I am sure the Chief Justice of Pakistan will take note of. Completely forgetting the critical condition and that the complainant was an illiterate person motionless on bed, the Ombudsman summoned him to attend a Hearing in Islamabad – a prescription of at least Rs. 60,000/-, Rs, 60,000 which he was probably not get even through insurance claim.
The above story though simple but in fact is naked self explanatory what actually the practical feelings our rulers, the OPF and our concerned Ministries including Khadam-e-aala Punjab etc have for the Overseas Pakistanis. They are really only remitting machines.
Now what the other governments do? When I myself was an OP the day the then Overseas Pakistanis Minister Ijaz Ul Haq was there in the country where he was emptying the pockets of Ops in the name of “Qarz uttaro”, the next morning the Philippines President, a nation much poor than Pakistan, was to arrive there bringing with him keys of house the Philippines Government had built for its nationals working abroad. Our rulers do not stop giving us examples from India how much costly this item is there and that but never quote any good of India. The Indian government last month allocated huge amount (figure not remembered) to its Embassies abroad for use to its distressed nationals. The embassies in Middle East have been allocated more than ones in Europe. Now latest this month, according to Daily Urdu News Jeddah of 16/9/2009 the Indian Ambassador in Reyadh addressing a press conference stated that in case an Indian worker is deported by his employer without any money or dues the Indian Embassy will pay to each such aggrieved Indian Rs. 60,000/-