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December 2, 2009

Overseas Pakistanis Forum in Dubai on 6th


December 2, 2009

DUBAI: Pakistan’s Ambassador at Large to Overseas Pakistanis Javed Malik is organizing the first session of the Overseas Pakistanis Forum to be held in Dubai on December 6, which will be chaired by the federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Dr Farooq Sattar.

The Forum has been established under the guidance of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani who attaches special importance to the role of Overseas Pakistanis, and is therefore sending the federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis to chair the meeting, says a handout on Tuesday.

“The Forum will act as a bridge between the overseas Pakistani community and the government of Pakistan,” said Ambassador Javed Malik who is organizing the Forum.

“We need to review the nature of the ‘one sided’ relationship between Overseas Pakistanis and their government, and transform it into a ‘two way partnership’ that appreciates their role, addresses their issues and jointly evolves strategies that gives them a role in the nation building proves.

“Until now the role of Overseas Pakistanis has been limited only as a source of foreign exchange remittance, but they have a lot more to offer to their country, many overseas Pakistanis while living abroad have acquired skills, expertise, as well as reached positions of influence, and established themselves in business.

Their issues are different and they want to play a more active role in the nation building process back home, but there is no system through which we can utilize their skills,” added the ambassador. This Forum is the first step to reach out to this community, listen to them, and then evolve strategies that provide solutions,” he said.

The Forum intends to advise on policies that effect the community during their stay abroad as well as when they return home.

Primary focus is on education and housing facilities and welfare while being abroad. Similarly we need to look at how we can offer incentives

of returning residents, as well as providing skills to those workers that wish to go abroad to work.

We have a large pool of human resource and we intend to work with the host governments to train them according to the needs of the host countries so that they can become more effective workers when abroad. Many Overseas Pakistani businessmen intend to do business in Pakistan, but the lack of incentives prevents them from doing so. We intend to work with Ministry of Commerce and Investment to evolve strategies that address this issue.

The Forum will be a permanent body associated with the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and will have the federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis as its Chairman. Ambassador at Large, Javed Malik is the vice Chairman and Secretary General, however and we will constitute advisory committees that will take their membership directly from the overseas Pakistani community in each country, or region.

The Forum is totally non-political and only aims to advise the government on the issues on behalf of the community. We are starting with the UK Chapter as well as the UAE Chapter as there is a large number of Pakistanis living here. We will also expand to other countries, he explained. I started my “listening to the community campaign” a few months ago in which I have been consulting with the various community members in order to better understand the issues, and make recommendations to the government for their solutions.

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