PM warns Pakistani envoys against indifferent attitude

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan Wednesday pointing to “indifferent attitude” of officers and staff at Pakistan missions abroad in resolving the 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 the indifferent attitude of officers and staff at Pakistan High Commission in London towards the labor class Diaspora.

Pakistan 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 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 in this way during the current era. The Embassies were 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 hour a day and share rooms with 8 to 10 people to save money to feed their families back home and were sending maximum remittances from Saudi Arabia and UAE said, if came back to the country, the government could not give them jobs.

“We have to help them and support them,” he remarked.

Referring to the complaints received from Saudi Arabia about the officers and staff of Pakistan Embassy including the lack of passion to resolve issues, no policy level decisions, just fire-fighting and no formal communication with the Diaspora, the Prime Minister said the high level inquiry was underway.

He also referred to complaints from Kuwait where an official at Pakistan Embassy was taking 250 to 300 Dirham from the Overseas Pakistanis on the pretext of their legal documentation from National Database and Regulatory Authority (NADRA).

Similarly, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan Embassy in Saudi Arabia was forcing the Diaspora to get polio drops despite the fact that the person/s showed certificate of Saudi Authorities for having got the polio drops.

Pointing to the poor communication of Pakistani Embassies with the Diaspora, he called for establishing websites at Pakistan Embassies for communication 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 in attracting maximum foreign investment to Pakistan through 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 the objectives.