The federal ombudsman office received over 80,000 complaints from overseas Pakistanis during the past seven months.
According to data compiled by Wafaqi Mohtasib, 43,000 complaints were registered online by overseas Pakistanis residing in Germany, Malaysia, New York, Middle Eastern countries and Saudi Arabia against Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), issuance of passport by National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and delayed salaries.
The data given by the federal Department regarding the allegations of overseas Pakistanis is incomplete and mostly tackles only minor problems like baggage claims. We don’t know why the federal department has only stated chosen complaints categories, skipping the core issues.
20,000 complaints were registered by Pakistanis residing in Denmark over dual-nationality issues. 10,000 complaints were recorded by unpaid citizens working in Saudi Arabia.
Ombudsman had established a website for overseas Pakistanis to lodge any complaints related to about 40 federal government departments. Punjab Government also has a dedicated website for the complaints from the overseas Pakistanis. But still, it is unclear how they are going to resolve the problems. Still, we have not heard of the main issue rectified by these online portals.
Are these online portals, just a database which collects the number of complainants for a general survey?
Almost 10 million overseas Pakistanis, who contribute over $18.45 billion to the national economy, are plagued by problems such as land grabbing on properties back home and a general lack of support from the country’s diplomatic missions abroad.
Properties of overseas Pakistanis encroach (upon in Pakistan) and no department extends the desired help, while court cases take a long time to settle and cannot be pursued, while overseas Pakistanis reside abroad.
Overseas Pakistanis face “corrupt practices at all levels” in the country and exploitation and abuse at the hands of each and every governmental department.
The performance of diplomatic missions abroad varies according to personalities of our ambassadors/heads of missions and embassy staff concerned — political appointees selected for embassies based on affiliations and disregarding criteria of merit only look after their self-interest. They also lack the vision and capacity to address problems of overseas Pakistanis effectively. The missions abroad are a total mess.
Pakistani missions abroad are also of no use for the Pakistanis living abroad.
There are plenty of other menaces which overseas Pakistanis are facing like Illegal human trafficking by agents, exploitation by fake recruiting agencies for issuance of visas, ignorance of host country laws by contracted workers. While signing agreements, exploitation of employees by employers in host countries, including delayed and non-payment of salaries and substandard working conditions. Problems in remittances through official channels, expensive medical treatment in host countries, the lengthy procedure for transportation of dead bodies from host countries. Delayed payment of death compensation for deceased overseas workers’ families, discriminatory treatment of Pakistani prisoners and detainees abroad and much more.
The increased volume of remittances in Pakistan is not only an important source of funding for families of recipients but also holds tremendous potential as a source of external finance. The Pakistanis living abroad are the important part of our country reserves, and their issues should be resolved on priority basis.
We will try to cover each and every issue in separate articles questioning relevant department and try to make a difference by raising the voice. If you have any complaints, feel free to tell us by commenting here.