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    An Overseas Pakistani reader (OP) Ali Ahmed on 13 October stated that Pakistan Consulate in Dubai was refusing renewal of passports unless one produces his foreign exchange remittances receipts. In return Press Councillor Pakistan Embassy Abu Dhabi on 22 October through his letter states remittances through hundi is illegal and State Bank of Pakistan makes it mandatory to remit through legal channels.

    Remittances through illegal channels including Hundi and carrying Pakistani cash is a most un-patriotic act and in my personal views is an enemyt and an act of terrorism against our own beloved motherland. The operator of hundi however fetch the provisions of law as by operating hundi he is doing a parallel illegal banking.

    Press Councillor says UAE central bank has issued fresh instructions to discourage illegal money transactions. The fact is UAE central bank has cautioned on money laundering and in this regard has prescribed all transactions over and above dirhams 2000 to be monitored and reported.

    According to Councillor a separate counter has been opened at Embassy to facilitate home remittances. No embassy can engage itself in remittances. Embassies are not financial institutions. The counters have been opened only to verify one’s remittances under the newly introduced scheme.

    No law of Pakistan enacted by legislators require any OP to produce remittance receipts for renewal of passports. Such a rule if exists that surely is prescribed and introduced by embassy itself which is not competent to introduce such rules which in fact is to opening a new door of ‘corruption’.

    Pakistan Embassy in UAE had always been active in introducing such type of frustrating procedures and rules at its own. For example some years back a few retired personnel approached federal ombudsman that they work in deserts and for getting their pension documents on ordinary fee they have to stay a night in city to get the document back next day. And if they pay Urgent fee to get work done same day it cost them more than their pension. On knowing about complaint immediately Pakistan Foreign Ministry submitted that Embassy has withdrawn urgent fee. But “not very strangely” Ministry did not explain as to how and why without its knowledge such a levy was introduced by this embassy. Such fees are prescribed by ministry of foreign affairs centrally to be implemented both at home and at all embassies. This reminds me an article which appeared July last year in Daily Nawai-e-Waqat and Daily Jazba by a renowned social worker of Pakistan Mr. Pir Binman that for postings and overstaying abroad particularly where there are Pakistani community schools lot of influence and money changes hand.

    Not all Ops can remit home. There are hundreds who have no one in Pakistan to remit. This category keep their savings with them take with them while going on leave to Pakistan. There are hundreds of families who do not have even a single rupee saving abroad due to shrinking incomes and ever increasing cost of living particularly on education in middle east.

    Remittances cannot increase by such tactics as adopted by Pakistani missions in UAE. Customs exemption of US$700 on remittances of US2500 a year would not give that benefit to the country as compared to loss. US$700 means approx. Pak Rs. 45,000 customs exemption which is too large an amount for a debit ridden country like Pakistan.. This is just to cripple and damage the indigenous industry. This scheme in practical term is to benefit professional khapias rather than Ops.

    Pakistan Ambassadors in Saudi Arabia and UAE so often repeat and advise Pakistanis to remit home legally but in practical term there is no known incident where these two embassies had practically done something to eliminate hound. Hound to Pakistan cannot be fully eradicated but with certain steps it can to a good extent be reduced or discouraged. For example had these two embassies ever been honest and sincere in this regard they would had just spared say a sum of Rs. 20,000, arranged sending it through a patriotic community member to anyone in Pakistan, inform competent authority and arrange a trap at the spot and when hound proceeds are paid in Pakistan arrest the person who pays (in most cases it would be a bank branch) and investigate who is the real face behind this proceeds payer. See how such few arrests produce substantial results. You cannot take action abroad who arranges hound transaction but you can take severe action who pays at other end in Pakistan.

    The Councilor says this step has been taken to prevent renewal of illegally issued passports. This is most absurd. One who can buy an illegal bogus or forged passports by paying say Rs. 10,000 at home in Pakistan or abroad to any Pakistani mission staff, he can just spare another Rs. 5000 to bribe the staff for renewal or send a Rs. 5000 by bank even to a bogus name to get his passport renewed. I can remit a sum of Rs. 10,000 through a bank, take the original receipt to the councillor, get my passport renewed and then go back to the bank to get the original draft still in my possession cancelled and full money got back.

    This is stupid.

    Pakistan is a 2 hour flight away from Dubai. I know people who visit Dubai every week if not every other day!

    Most remittances are also done through friends and family returning home. I've used that method frequently rather than rely on 'hundi' operations.

    Why doesn't the Govt of Pakistan crack down on inefficient bank officers who take weeks to clear the transferred money. I don't mind paying $40 in bank fees as long as I'm sure the money will be there when it's needed.
    JaddoN kaddya jaloos ghareeba tay shehr ich choatalee lug gayee


      2 November 2001

      You are right, on middle east currency dealers are sitting on foot paths as are sitting at Boulton Market Karachi. And this currency is more cheap even hundi.

      Nevertheless what SAJ has stated is worth looking that why government does not take correct steps to eradicate hundi. Why does not it itself though its embassies like a common man sends some money to pakistan and catch those who pay in Pakistan and then search who are the patronagers of such arrested persons. Hundi cannot be eradicated by just appealing, by just imposing illegal frustrating conditions as Pakistan Embasy in UAE has done.

      The only viable system is governmetn announces against all Rs.1000/- sent through bank, bank in Pakisan will pay Rs. 1000/- and would contribute Rs. 100 free from itself which Rs. 100 will be taken as Rs. 50 from OPF which has a lot of OPs money and Rs. 50 from Ministry of Foreign Affairs which has a clossal money collected from OPS in the name of community welfare fund. This Rs. 100 may not be paid to OP but put in some sort of bank account. All these Rs. 100 Rs. 100 in years this amount will become a very big amount. When the OP comes back to pakistan he should be able to withdraw monthly profit from this account treating as "Pension" but principal would not be withdrawn.

      Only such types of schemes can work to attract remittances otherwise present incentive scheme like US Dollar 700 free customs are only to damage the counry. And these are designed for smugglers etc. The example is some two years back our national airline introduced on a very cheap fare a flight from UAE as "baggage" free. Though flight was introduced in the name of OPs, nevertheless despite free baggage fliht it always came with full capacity because on that flights professional khapias used to travel and this was designed for them. Our bureaucracy is very master in such tactics.