An upper house panel on Thursday stressed the need for establishing Overseas Pakistanis Commissions (OPCs) in other provinces on the pattern of Punjab.
Presiding over the Senate’s Standing Committee for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development meeting, Senator Manzoor Ahmed Kakar said the provincial governments should own the idea of setting up the OPCs in provinces.
Senator Shaheen Khalid Butt called for a detailed briefing from the team of Punjab Overseas Pakistanis Commission on its work and steps taken so far for facilitating the expatriates.
The officials of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis told the committee that an OPC had been set up in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and was operational. The Sindh government also agreed to establish the OPC in the province, they added.
The committee chairman said the problems faced by expatriates could be overcome to a “great extent” if the OPCs were formed at the provincial level.
On the issues of Pakistani pensioners languishing in foreign jails, the committee chairman sought details from the federal secretary for Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development in the next meeting.
He said the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation had made arrangements to repatriate Pakistanis released from prisons in Saudi Arabia and also brought back Pakistanis from China.
About the problems faced by intending emigrants who want to go abroad, the ministry’s secretary said that they were working with the National Command and Operation Centre to arrange a booster shot of the Covid-19 vaccine for them.
Kakar also raised complaints of the employees of Workers Welfare Fund. To this, the secretary said that funds were scarce in Sindh and K-P due to less number of industries. He assured that arrears of workers in Balochistan, Sindh and K-P would be settled soon.
The committee chairman said all possible facilities should be provided to the workers and the poor.
The meeting also discussed the bill titled ‘The Emigration (Amendment) Bill, 2020’ and recessed further discussion on the bill until the next meeting.
Among others, multiple senators including Mushtaq Ahmed, Keshoo Bai, Khalida Ateeb, Liaqat Khan Taraqai, and Faisal Vawda attended the meeting.