Efforts of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis to send Pakistani professional youths to Japan and State of Kuwait, is a welcome step to facilitate Pakistanis in finding job opportunities in overseas countries due to insufficient availabilities of employments at home.
Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan, from time to time acknowledge, Ministry of overseas Pakistanis recognize, and Governor State Bank verify, ever increasing Home-Remittances from Overseas Pakistanis from their hard-earned savings. As such, they are considered a national asset, contributing to foreign exchange reserves of country and playing a vital role in building national economy.
Concerns Of Overseas Pakistanis
Said theoretical appreciations, require conversion into reality to recognize contribution of expatriates and to their family dependents in Pakistan. Both parties, i.e. earning members in overseas countries and their life partners together with other family dependents like old-aged parents, both equally spend life in separation from each other to fulfill their livelihood. Very few overseas Pakistanis, working on higher positions or doing business, live overseas together with their families, while in majority of such cases, the expatriates and their families, live separately with geographical distance. Such families and expatriate, even newly married couples, get together for few days, after years in waiting. Either expatriate visit family on vacation or his family visit him overseas for short period after years due to visa restrictions and travel expenses.
Family dependents especially old-aged parents of expatriates in Pakistan, for both, routine life & emergency situations, have to bear many hardships due to insufficient earning of male member in family. They are treated with no difference, between local earning and hard-earned home-remittances. Regulations require both type of incomes, liable for equal taxation. Although, this virtually draws a difference of earning, i.e. earning at homeland and earning overseas. Yet both different earnings, are levied upon with-holding tax in same manner without out any benefit to remitter and his family dependents in own homeland.
These assets of Pakistan include many labor and middle-class workers, who earn nominal wages and save little money by curtailing their own expenses of living alone overseas, to enable home-remittances for the upkeep of their family dependents, especially the routine medication of their old aged parents. In some cases, even overseas Pakistanis abroad, practically do not receive medical coverage from their employer and have to bear higher medical expenses by themselves, while their Health Insurance Cards, cover nominal medication, as authorized by the employer. For survival, they have to undergo many hardships, over the years, especially the eating of home-cooked food, caring by family members and other problems of life, causing homesickness. At times, they sacrifice getting-together with families on occasions of sadness & festivities and have to bear patience over the years, in order to continue their jobs overseas due to non-entitlement of leave according to applicable labor laws and stiff nature of mindset of the employer toward expatriate.
Under the circumstances, not only overseas Pakistanis but also their family dependents, gaze at Government to facilitate them with certain incentives, especially their free medical coverage. At times, many dependents of overseas Pakistanis, forego their health-care due to unaffordable fee of doctors’ consultation, expensive hospitalization and medication, out of their reach. At times, situation arise to extent, either to forego three times eating food and other basic needs of life or forego medication, if any, what-ever necessary. Major portion of home-remittances goes in paying utility bills, educational fee and rents. Even water has to be purchased, despite payment of KW&SB bills without getting water, which are basic needs of life. Over & above are the basic necessities of hunger & thrust, becoming difficult due to price-hike.
Overseas Pakistanis, themselves do not receive any privilege on going through airport formalities on their Exit & Entry at any airport in Pakistan. They are yet to be considered fit material to get Sehat & Sahulat Card to avail privileged ration and fulfill their health needs in their own motherland. PTI Government is providing Sehat Sahulat Card for entire family in Pakistan, but at the same time, overseas Pakistanis and their families are discriminately deprived of it. When overseas Pakistanis themselves visit their homeland, they have to undergo many problems in disregard of their foreign remittances.
Irony of their fate is, when they return back home for good, they neither receive any pension from their overseas employers, nor from EOBI and have to lead rest of their life in joblessness. They wander for jobs without any income, despite earlier lot of home-remittances without dividends. They are not awarded any certificate or any card or any tool, proving record of their home-remittances to their credit. They become dependent in addition to their family members. The affinities between Overseas Ministry & overseas Pakistanis, mark ‘The-End’, as soon as, they return back to Pakistan for good, like a useless tool.
Majority of overseas Pakistanis have to bear home-sickness in separation from their families during tenure of working-earning overseas, and yet again, more hardships together with their family dependents, on retuning back to Pakistan for good. Their life becomes worst during rest of days of their life, even without any pension from EOBI, because of non-contribution of EOBI funds by overseas employers.
In view of the saddest & pitiable part of their life, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Planning Commission of Pakistan, are requested to consider certain privileges and survival incentives for overseas Pakistanis and their family dependents, like other citizens of Pakistan.