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    Overseas Pakistan - New Origin/identity Card

    This Forum recently debated on above topic.


    PAKISTNAN ORIGIN CARDS (POCs

    Chief of heavy mandated Qarz Uttaro government raised in 1997 First Overseas Pakistanis Convention Islamabad that OPs whether they live in USA or in Kuwait, they hold Pakistani nationality or have opted any other are all our brothers and can come home anytime. Pakistan is their home. Its doors are always open for them. He went so much with his big mouth opener Shaikh Rashid Ahmed that OPs can take anything they want even our Embassies abroad which they can run. It may be on interest that the day Ijazul Haq had arrived staying in 5 star Intercontinental appealing OPs to contribute towards "breaking of Kashkol" and was taking funds from pockets of OPs, same evening Philippines President was coming in same middle east country bringing with him keys of some houses for distribution to its non residents which Philippines government economically poorer than Pakistan had constructed for them. If OPs having obtained foreign nationalities still are our brothers then the point is why our these family and house members should need a special separate Pakistan Origin Card to enter their own family house. When an OP obtains foreign nationality some foreign governments demand surrendering Pakistani passport to them surrendering of which to host country does not cancels automatically his Pakistani National Identity Card and his name still remains on NIC data. So why should he need separate POC unless idea is not to create new source of income. Everything done with motive other than open lack practicality. This is the reason who paid to buy POCs [earlier perhaps US$ 1OO] about two years back have still not got. One applicant got a written reply about six months back that since design of the card has been changed it is under preparation. On declaring OPs as brothers in 1997 I addressed OPF exact wording of which are not readily available but the main points were:-

    When an OP gets a foreign nationality then what is the legal position viz:

    i. His plot purchased from OPF or KDA or CDA as a Pakistani.

    ii. Can such an OP submit an application for purchase of a plot from OPF/CDA/KDA still treating himself as a Pakistani (and without specifically disclosing that he holds a foreign nationality]. [In 1998 I got through OPF a copy of a rule which is not readily available but based on my memories it stated no foreign national (Pakistani holding foreign nationality?] can purchase any property in Pakistan without prior approval of Ministry of Interior. I never got specific to the point answer.

    iii. Most of OPs have purchased stock exchange shares. Companies declare Right Shares which are a form of Dividend and a share holder gets these Letters of Rights L/Rs as his due accrued entitlement. This is a sort of profit on his investment which comes after a lot of waiting like a year or more. In these L/Rs there is a column as we all know "I declare that I am a Pakistani national". I enquired from OPF what about a share holder who has obtained foreign nationality - can he still sign on this L/R declaration "I am a Pakistani"? [If he cannot then I think his right of utilising his L/Rs or in other words further investment gets waste or on his investment his profit is not paid in simple practical language]. Till today I have never ever got any reply.

    iv. OPs are said to have been given some concessions like income tax exemption for 5 years etc. I enquired if our national brothers holding foreign nationality would too enjoy the same or not? And would be get same personal baggage incentives etc?

    v. And etc.

    About 4 years have passed I have not got replies to these. OPF in1998 on my raising these questions in 1997 informed me they were following up the issues and would let me know. Recently when end 2OO2 I drew the attention of OPF for these pending replies, I got from them a reply copy of which is not readily available but based on my memories reply was "you will appreciate long time has past and previous cannot be linike to know what was your queries". Whereas I had given them their reference and date. OPF however sent me a very beautiful brochure which contained 35/36 Resolutions Passed in the OPF Convention. I returned this brochure back to OPF as in my tinny single room residence I had no place to keep such a valuable "document" and such documents look more beautual in bureaucratic office.

    When I raised these points with OPF end 1997 these were the points which related to matters of Overseas Pakistanis and replies to these should as a matter of fact be readily available with OPF. But learned readers might be surprised OPF did not know replies to these. OPF Islamabad sent my questions to its Office in Karachi and in turn Karachi Office addressed these matters to Karachi Stock Exchange. The written reply from Karachi Stock Exchange is not readily available with me at the moment but the Exchange replied to OPF that citizen OP has raised very important issue and instead of referring these to up such important issues OPF should had referred to higher levels for clarifications.


    OVERSEAS PAKISTANIS NATIONAL IDENTITY CARDS:

    As in Karachi developers of multi storey buildings earn tremendously more by selling application forms, bookings and subsequent cancellation of flats and re-booking them than income on actual sale likewise NADRA earned many times more on sale of its complicated forms than actual fees.

    In a seminar NDARA director general told the audience last year that our fees for a card was much less than India. On my enquiry from Indian nationals in middle east I was told {October 22] Indian government had not prescribed any Indian Origin Card and even in India there was no national identity card.

    The main reason for introducing new NICOPs as told by NASDRA was that present NIC were in Urdu language which cannot be read by foreign authorities and under international law travelling documents should be in English language in addition to local language. As such new NICOP was being prepared in dual language English and Urdu.

    Another unconvincing argument given by NADRA was that new NICOPs would facilitate the NADRA/Government to keep a proper data that how many doctors, engineers, professionals, plumbers etc had gone abroad so suitable policies could be made. The fact is all this information is available with NADRA when one makes his ordinary NIC card. Secondly under the law/procedure Pakistan embassies are required to have all record how many engineers, doctors or Pakistani nationals were residing in particular host country. But Our Embassies have never ever done in these 5O plus years of independence even they do not know how many Pakistani were there. So argument to have a proper record has no weight. Immigration counters keep record of every passenger going abroad this can give record {January 2OO3 came a news item appearing in foreign press from Overseas Employment Corporation showing, as usual its efficiency, that during the last five years so many doctors, so many plumbers, so many engineers etc were sent abroad. So in light of this statement argument that through new NICOPs record of number of doctors, engineers having gone abroad loses any weight.

    National Identity Card of a country had never ever been a travel document. Universal recognised Travel Document is always a Passport for Outboard Pass issued by concerned Embassy for one way single travel or a Lese Passe for one travel only. I am working in a middle east country which also issue national identity cards similar to Pakistani NIC to both locals and we the expatriates. I travel once or twice a year to Pakistan to my home and during the last 17 years not even once ever in Pakistan has anyone like bank, insurance, immigration, PIA etc demanded from me my middle east national identity card.

    Likewise in the country of my work in middle east my Pakistani National Identity Card has during all these 17 years service never ever been demanded by host country and only once in ever 5 years I need my Pakistani NIC to be produced and that too to Pakistan Embassy for renewal of my Passport where everyone knows the Urdu language.

    Prime Minister His Excellency Mr. Zafarullah Khan Jamali during his end January 2OO3 visit in UAE declared that fee for new NICOP has been reduced from US$25/- per three years to US$15/- per 1O years. A week back Sh. Rashid after usual cabinet meeting told press that on directive of PM the Interior Division is being asked that PM wants to decrease this fees to US$15/-.

    #2
    LAND TO ARABS:

    IN this Forum recently a topic has been discussed when someone raised the issue that Arbs are given huge land in Pakistan on very cheap rates. Some members replied that it does not matter as Arabs are our friends. Some said Arabs should not be given such lands on cheap rates but on market price. Some said Pakistanis cannot get land in Arab countries. Etc. One member stated Arabs are helping Pakistan hence no matter if land is given to them.

    The fact is Arabs are not that much friends of Pakistan as is generally thought or is a general perception. Pakistanis who live in middle east and have vision know well that India is more nearer if not dear to Arab countries. Had Arabs any real interest with Pakistan they could had helped Pakistan by importing Pakistani products, by investing in Pakistan to increase Pakistan's economical situation and to reduce its dependency on world financial institutions.

    A study report prepared by Gulf Strategical Investigation Studies published in Arab newspapers on 23.7.2OO2 said "Saudi Arabia is on top of Gulf countries investing in India. Till end 2OO1 Saudi Arabia had invested 8, OOO,OOO,OOO. (euqal rupees]. UAE is second investing 1.7 and Kuwait third at 5.8 and Oman 5.


    PATRIOTISM:

    Some readers have commented on costs of new NICOP or POC saying that these are small amounts which can easily be afforded. Some said that Overseas Pakistanis are earning so much so why cry over such a small fee of US 5 or US 25/-. Some have said in the patriotism this should not be objected to.

    Point is not fee is small or big. The point is of principle. Pakistanis are the most patriotic citizens. If some people which are only in a fraction cry hard words that is also their patriotism. They speak so in love of Pakistan. In the early days of Pakistan some sort of a case was registered in Quetta against one of our respected elders (if my memories are not misguiding me it was learned Mr. S.M. Zafar]. He had probably some where in some frustration stated why he was in Pakistan [or some words like this - exact wording are not remembered now]. Due to political reason a case was registered against him similarly as case was registered against too wealthy late Ch. Zahoor Elahi for stealing of a Cow. When case came up for hearing in High Court the Judge remarks such types of words only a true patriotic Pakistani who really loves his country can say.

    The point is if the country needs money it can ask to OPs and I am sure OPs leaving all frustrations would open their purses as they did in the past. Why taking or generating money on logic which creates frustrations and angerness like the logic that present NIC are in Urdu which cannot be read by foreign authorities. We are all ready to sacrifice for the beloved Pakistan provided we know our money, hard earned money given as donations to the country is going to be spent for true country re-building and not on decreasing profits on national savings and at the same time considering increasing salaries of parliament members and on purchase of new cars for whole lot of new Punjab MPAs. In middle east I can tell you hundreds and thousands are people who do not have money to educate their children, to send money home, no money for a ticket to visit Pakistan even once in 5 years, so very hard to buy a card on US$25/- every three years.


    PS:

    I wish to write in this Forum on topic of Gold & Silver Cards, insurance of OPs etc but have avoided for the reason of my low knowledge and avoiding taking much time of members.

    This has been typed directly without any pre-drafting, checking. All this is based on memories. Hence errors of spellings continuity, omission and commission are expected. But fact are true.

    Comment


      #3
      Javed

      very interesting points have you tried to write as a guest columnist in any of the newspapers? The points that you have brought up are very relevant to what is going on and pose some interesting questions.
      The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he did not exist. And like that... he is gone.

      Comment


        #4
        I did not try to go to press as guest columnist as you kindly suggestd. But November last year I did my humble struggle and approached the Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan on a Human Rights Petition. But I am not aware of any progress or I do not know what happened.

        I am working on a clerical post abroad living in a one single room flat with my family. I strated my career from Pakistan's most lucrative income tax department but despite working in Pakistan 17 years as an Officer due to my stupid thealogy of rizq-e-hilal I still has no flat or house of my own. Though I can due to my family only of beign 3 members I can afford this fee of US$25 (it is still 25 and not 15 as official orders have not reached) yet I took courage of taking up the matter just for thousands who I know cannot. You believe me I know people who cannnot afford purchasing a note book or a spare copy for their children and have not visited homes in 5 /7 years hence taking from them in the name of an unconvincing head is not a pleasant thing.

        HE Mr. Jamali has done by not only reducing fee but also extending the validity from 3 to 10 years.

        You may not agree with me today overseas Pakistanis are poorer than the local resident Pakistanis. I do not mean all. Due to economic policies today there are no three classes as are internationally known. There are only two in Pakistan. One top and poorer and there is noupper middle class. If you go to Pakistan you will see wealth with people, children driving Pejeros, rush on Mcdolands etc whereas OP in middle east are living mostly hand to mouth.

        I wish I could write here about Gold Silver Card and Pakistani insurance scheme of Pakistanis. I struggled so hard about Overseas Immigrants Policy which once was the first and best in the world in as much as that Philippinies Governemnt requested us that they want to study it for implementing in their country. Today this policyhas become unattractive because a condition was imposed two years back and when I addressed on it I got a threat that you are prapogating against the policy whereas I was prapogating for the policy in as much as that once State Life told me you are taking so much interest in the matter and advising labour class to take this policy why donot you work as an agent.

        On this forum due to length and due to other reasons can not written much but Mr. Faraudia (if it is your real name) if you let me have your postal address I may send you a copy of a statement last year from Public Accounts Committee re Overseas Pakistans. It is really a wonderful and realisitic observation by Public Accounts Committee and sometime I wonder how it was given.

        Comment


          #5
          I think I had a post on this thread. What wrong did I commit now?

          Comment

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