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Imran Khan approved measures to facilitate expatriate Pakistanis

13 October, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday approved various measures to facilitate the expatriate Pakistanis besides directing the departments concerned to submit a workable plan to remove hindrances in sending remittances through e-solutions.

In a follow-up meeting of the briefing by Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, the prime minister directed all the departments concerned to provide speedy mechanisms for ease of sending remittances through legal channels.

The prime minister emphasized that the PTI government was fully cognizant of the problems faced by overseas Pakistanis in sending remittances and issues of retaining their legal properties in Pakistan while they were abroad to earn livelihood. He said the government was working on fast track basis to resolve their problems. He said the overseas Pakistanis were an asset of the country who could play a very important role in improving the financial condition through remittances.

He directed the Ministry of Finance, Federal Board of Revenue, State Bank of Pakistan and NADRA to jointly present a workable plan for removing hindrances in sending the remittances through e-solutions. It was also decided to bring legal reforms in the civil and criminal laws to recover the properties of overseas Pakistanis under illegal occupation. Establishment of special courts for these cases was also discussed.

The prime minister stated that workers belonging to the lower income groups were already burdened as they were away from their homes to earn livelihood abroad in harsh conditions. Hence, it is the responsibility of the government to facilitate and provide all necessary facilities and incentives to them and their families back home, he added.

The meeting discussed various incentives including tax exemptions on remittances and several social welfare schemes for expatriates.

The prime minister emphasized that strict action would be taken against the illegal occupants of the properties owned by overseas Pakistanis. In this regard, directives would also be issued to provincial governments and the law enforcing agencies.

The meeting took various decisions for immediate implementation including the establishment of connectivity between Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development and NADRA Database to maintain a record of overseas Pakistanis abroad. The meeting decided to reduce the biometric verification charges for workers going abroad from Rs 45 to Rs 10 per verification. It was decided that the family tree record of Pakistanis working abroad would be shared with the ministry concerned so that their families were provided with benefits of health, education and accommodation.

The meeting declared the NICOP for emigrants and workers as optional. Directions regarding clarification would be issued through newspaper advertisements. To bring further clarity, necessary legal amendment would also be initiated.

Free of charge connectivity between Bureau of Emigration and Overseas Pakistanis and the FIA has already been established that would be operational by October 17. The meeting was attended by Special Assistant to PM on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfiqar Bukhari, Special Assistant to PM on Media Iftikhar Durrani, secretary to PM, secretary finance, secretary overseas Pakistanis and human resource development, chairman FBR, chairman NADRA and other senior officials from the State Bank of Pakistan, FIA and Civil Aviation Authority.

At a separate meeting with a delegation of senators from Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) at the PM Office, the prime minister said the introduction of local government system in tribal areas would help empower the people and ensure development of the area at par with other parts of the country. He said the completion of the process for merger of FATA and their mainstreaming was government’s foremost priority. The meeting discussed the overall situation in tribal areas, merger of FATA and other administrative issues.

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