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April 19, 2015

Overseas Pakistanis soon to get one-window solutions: Shakeela


April 19, 2015

Overseas Pakistanis burn the midnight oil abroad to make ends meet but those who know them back home suppose that they stand under the windfall of money and it is their right to get benefit as much from them as they can.
Understanding the situation, the government has formed a body with the title ‘Overseas Commission Punjab’ to facilitate overseas Pakistanis in their affairs. Long-standing Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) loyalist, MNA Shakeela Luqman Khalid has been appointed its executive member. Shakeela headed the US chapter women wing of the ruling party for about two decades undisputedly before she moved to Islamabad from New Jersey, US, for good. She was elected MNA in last elections on women reserved seats. In a brief chat, she told ‘The News’ that there are crime rackets out to loot overseas Pakistanis. “Frequent are the cases of illegal occupation of their properties not only in major cities, but also in small towns and villages,” she said.
She said Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif shared a vision to resolve these problems. She said an understanding prevails at top government level that contribution of overseas Pakistanis should be acknowledged. “Shahbaz Sharif has set up the commission for overseas Pakistanis under his own watchful eyes. Its head office is in Lahore. I am one of its executive members,” she said.
She said the commission was very much functional. “Its website is being built. The website will be interactive. Overseas Pakistanis could lodge their complaints from wherever they may live. But all these complaints will land directly at the head office where the focal person will forward them to the departments concerned,” she said.
It is sort of one-window operation, she explained. “The populations living in Gulf countries need to follow laws of their land. The commission will address their problems that are related to Pakistan and Pakistani authorities,”

she said, adding that online solutions will be in focus of the government body.
She said the commission will be in contact with the city/district administrations, law and all other offices to pursue cases of overseas Pakistanis on a priority basis. She said as she herself lived her life abroad so she can understand problems of overseas Pakistanis.
She said before becoming MNA, she renounced citizenship of the US. “I do not regret it. I was afraid that I may not be allowed moving freely between the US and Pakistan. My children are in the US and I cannot live without them. But then I was assured that visa will not be a problem for me and I was relaxed,” she said. She told that she was running her own business in US but in Pakistan it would take a lot of time to empower the women. “I was enjoying my life and was well settled in US but I realised that it was time to pay back to my home country, which is why I am here now,” she said. She is hopeful that a change for good is on cards.

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