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First session of overseas Pakistanis Forum on 6th December 2009

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ISLAMABAD: The first session of overseas Pakistanis Forum, will be held on December 6, 2009 in Dubai for establishing sound business linkages between Pakistani manufacturers and expatriate Pakistani businessmen.

Pakistan’s Ambassador at Javed Malik is organising the forum, which will be chaired by the Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Dr Farooq Sattar.

The Forum has been established under the guidance of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani who attaches special importance to the role of overseas Pakistanis, and is therefore sending the Federal Minister for overseas Pakistanis to chair the meeting.

“The Forum will act as a bridge between the overseas Pakistani Community and the Government of Pakistan,” said Ambassador Javed Malik who is organizing the Forum. We need to review the nature of the ”one sided” relationship between overseas Pakistanis and their government, and transform it into a “two way partnership” that appreciates their role, addresses their issues and jointly evolves strategies that gives them a role in the nation building proves, he explained.

Until now the role of Overseas Pakistanis has been limited only as a source of foreign exchange remittance, but they have a lot more to offer to their country, “Many overseas Pakistanis while living abroad have acquired skills, expertise, as well as reached positions of influence, and established themselves in business. Their issues are different and they want to play a more active role in the nation building process back home. “This Forum is the first step to reach out to this community, listen to them, and then evolve strategies that provide solutions.”

The Forum intends to advise on policies that effect the community during their stay abroad as well as when they return home. Primary focus is on education, housing facilities and welfare while being abroad. Similarly we need to look at how we can offer incentives of returning residents, as well as providing skills to those workers that wish to go abroad to work. We have a large pool of human resource and we intend to work with the host governments to train them according to the needs of the host countries so that they can become more effective workers when abroad. Many overseas Pakistani businessmen intend to do business in Pakistan, but the lack of incentives prevents them from doing so. We intend to work with Ministry of Commerce and Investment to evolve strategies that address this issue.

The forum will be a permanent body associated with the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and will have the Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis as its Chairman. Ambassador at Large, Javed Malik is the vice Chairman and Secretary General, however and we will constitute advisory committees that will take their membership directly from the overseas Pakistani community in each country, or region. The Forum is totally non-political and only aims to advise the government on the issues on behalf of the community. We will also expand to other countries, he said.

The other next session of the forum will be in London in February 2010.\12\01\story_1-12-2009_pg5_4

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