The Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development in its meeting on Monday, discussed in detail issues faced by stranded Pakistanis in the wake of COVID -19 and facilities being provided to them. The Committee also deliberated over financial assistance being provided to overseas Pakistanis that have suffered due to this Pandemic. It also reviewed the status of housing projects for overseas Pakistanis.
Chaired by Senator Hilal-ur-Rehman, the meeting was attended by Senator Najma Hameed, Senator Nighat Mirza, Senator Shaheen Khalid Butt, Senator Syed Muhammad Sabir Shah and senior officers from the Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development along with all concerned.
While taking up the issue facilities being provided by the Ministry to stranded Pakistanis, the Committee was informed of the measures taken to ensure the safety and welfare of all Pakistanis stuck in different countries especially the UAE. The Committee was informed that special flights were conducted for repatriation of overseas Pakistanis. An emergency cell was established to respond to queries of overseas Pakistanis and extending maximum possible assistance to them. A facilitation desk was deputed at all airports to assistance to all those arriving by special flights. Focal persons were nominated in USA and KSA to coordinate Pakistani missions to arrange for different utilities. While discussing the plight of overseas students stranded in Wuhan during the early days of the Pandemic, the Committee showed displeasure on how the issue was handled. The Committee was of the view that students should have been bought back and quarantined in schools and hostels that had been shut down. It was asserted that just one flight was needed to brig 900 stranded students. The Committee stressed that a policy must be developed so that these issues do not raise their head in future time.
Discussing financial assistance being provided to overseas Pakistanis that have suffered due to this Pandemic the Committee was informed that the Ministry has taken numerous measures to ensure financial assistance of all those that have been affected. The Committee was informed that all returning Pakistanis must register themselves on jobs.oecgov.pk/returnees.
Discussing Housing Schemes for overseas Pakistanis the Committee was informed that currently there are 7 completed schemes. All schemes, including those that has not been completed were discussed in great detail.