Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development in its meeting has called for an effective mechanism for protection of the properties of Pakistanis working abroad with a strong system of countering illegal possession so that they feel secure about the future of their families back home. The Committee proposed timely and proper resolution of complaints and coming up with thorough legislation in all four provinces. Special Assistant to Prime Minister Zulfikar Bukhari remarked that the government is in process of developing a strong mechanism where complaints are not sent to individuals but are processed in an effective complaint cell and are taken up on fast track in special courts.
The meeting was held under the chairmanship of Senator Hilal-ur-Rehman here at the Parliament House on Tuesday and was attended among others by Senator Nighat Mirza, Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah, Special Assistant to Prime Minister Zulfikar Bukhari, Secretary of the ministry Muhammad Asif, Managing Director Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) Amir Sheikh and other officials. The Committee discussed in detail the issues pertaining to overseas Pakistanis with special reference to Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia. The Committee was told that as a result of shutting down of a number of companies a total of 10356 Pakistanis were stuck in an uncertain situation. Out of these 6187 have been repatriated after due processes and OPF is in contact with them for settlement in Pakistan, 3520 have been re-employed in some other companies and matter of 649 overseas Pakistanis are under consideration by the relevant authorities and companies.
The Committee while discussing the matter of capacity of OPF schools and fee structures for children of overseas Pakistanis, the Committee was told that at present 18,000 students are enrolled in the schools which include children of overseas Pakistanis and well as students from families residing in Pakistan and the schools have a further capacity to accommodate 2400 students if any families are repatriated from Saudi Arabia due to tax crisis or from other countries. It was told that the children of overseas Pakistanis already enjoy a 50% concession in fee and further concession is not viable for the foundation.
The Committee strongly recommended a review of the criteria for site selection of OPF schools so that they are opened in areas that are rich in population of those families who have people overseas so that their children can be accommodated here. The Committee also recommended to the ministry to take up these long awaited issues of our expatiates in Saudi Arabia with the visiting delegation.