ISLAMABAD, May 05 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday pointing to the “indifferent attitude” of officers and staff at Pakistan missions abroad in resolving problems of diaspora urged them to adopt the passion of serving overseas Pakistanis, whose remittances were contributing a lot in running the country.
“Overseas Pakistanis are our major strength. Pakistan is running on their remittances. If they would not have been remitting, the country would have gone towards bankruptcy,” Imran Khan said while addressing Pakistan Ambassadors and High Commissioners via video link.
The Prime Minister referred to his 20 years of living experience in England and said he himself witnessed such attitude of officers and staff at Pakistan High Commission in London towards the labour class.
Pakistani Ambassadors during the decades of 1970s, 80s and 90 used to behave like masters of the colonial days, he remarked.
The Prime Minister mentioned the recent complaints received at Citizen Portal about the “indifferent and callous” attitude of officers and staff at the Pakistan Embassy in Saudi Arabia towards the diaspora was shocking.
“It is unfortunate how we [staff and officers at the Embassy] deal with Overseas Pakistanis. This is unacceptable. It cannot go on this way now. The embassies are duty-bound to serve the diaspora,” he maintained.
The Prime Minister listed the 17 services, which the embassies were duty-bound to render for the facilitation of overseas Pakistanis, including the attestation of education documents, marriage papers, driving license, experience certificate, power of attorney, affidavit etc.
He said there were complaints of unnecessary delays, not adhering to time and indifferent attitude of staff in providing those services particularly in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, from where Pakistan received maximum remittances.
Prime Minister Imran Khan highlighting the importance of Overseas Pakistanis, who work hard for 12 hours a day, share a room with 8 to 10 people to save money to feed their families back home, were sending maximum remittances from Saudi Arabia and UAE.
“We have to help them and support them,” he remarked.
Referring to the complaints received from Saudi Arabia about the officers and staff of the Pakistan Embassy he said these included the lack of will to resolve issues, poor policy decisions, mere fire-fighting and no formal communication with the diaspora. The Prime Minister said a high-level inquiry was underway to correct the things.
He also referred to complaints from Kuwait where an official at the Pakistan embassy was taking 250 to 300 Dirham from the Overseas Pakistanis on the pretext of their legal documentation from the National Database and Regulatory Authority (NADRA).
Similarly, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan Embassy in Saudi Arabia was forcing the Pakistanis to get polio drops despite the fact that the person/s showed a certificate of Saudi Authorities for having received the polio drops.
Pointing to the poor communication of Pakistani embassies with the Pakistanis abroad, he called for establishing websites at Pakistan embassies to communicate with the community. The websites should be also linked with Citizen Portal for effective monitoring for the purpose of reward and punishment, he added.
The Prime Minister also called for establishing special cells at embassies abroad to deal with issues relating to Pakistani prisoners, most of whom were imprisoned for minor crimes and were not released due to non-payment of fines.
He said that Pakistan embassies abroad should also focus on attracting maximum foreign investment to Pakistan and evaluation of potential, as the country with positive indicators was on the verge of economic take-off.
The Prime Minister assured that the government would provide extra staff and officers at the embassies, where required, to achieve these objectives.