“The present government attaches high priority to the Overseas Pakistanis and is keen to promote, nurture and sustain a mutually beneficial and productive relationship between Pakistan and Overseas Pakistanis” this was stated by Barrister Amjad Malik, Chairman Board of Governors of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation while addressing a gathering of Pakistani diaspora based in Belgium and Luxembourg at a meeting organized by the Embassy of Pakistan, Brussels, here today.

Barrister Malik called upon the community to strengthen themselves politically in the host country by taking active part in the local politics and remaining united beyond political affiliations back home. He stressed upon the community to respect local laws and make positive contribution in the host society.

While giving an overview of some of the initiatives taken by the present government and the Overseas Pakistani Foundation Barrister Malik informed that the present Government has given mandate to the Board of Governors of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation to bring profound reforms by taking practical steps.  He said that the aim of his visit was to listen to the problems to diaspora and ascertain suggestions and recommendations with a view to improve services being rendered by the government for 10 million overseas Pakistanis around the globe, including estimated 2.2 million Pakistanis in the Europe. He said that the overseas Pakistanis in the EU maintain more contact with their homeland than those who live elsewhere. Pakistani expatriates and their children influence their homeland culturally and economically by maintaining close ties, travelling to Pakistan and investing there.

Barrister Malik said “Pakistanis living in Belgium should be considered ambassadors of Pakistan who are always willing to help Overseas Pakistanis in Belgium and their relatives in Pakistan. The members of the Overseas Pakistani living in Belgium are well-respected in their villages and towns in Pakistan, because they have at some point assisted their friends and family to settle in Belgium, or have invested in industry or provided employment opportunities he added.

Mr Malik stated that the welfare of Overseas Pakistanis was of very great significance to Prime Minister of Pakistan. His Government not only gave representation to overseas Pakistanis in Board of Governors of Overseas Pakistanis Foundation but also nominated an Overseas Pakistani as its Chairman.  “We expanded and shared this representation with the help of Pakistan Missions to 136 Overseas Pakistanis coming from different walks of life and different region of the world. These members will represent their community and inform the Government of Pakistan of their grievances “he added.” In an interactive session following the address, Barrister Malik replied to the questions of community members from different walks of life who attended the meeting in large numbers.

He informed that to facilitate overseas Pakistanis OPF has established centres at all the International airports in Pakistan that work 24/7 and are run by OPF officers and staff. Recently, these centres have been merged into one window facility under the directions of Federal Ombudsman for Overseas Pakistanis. OPF is also serving a complaint cell, under Prime Minister Complaint cell. Since 2001 OPF Complaint Cell received 18,840, in which 17,824 cases are settled. OPF had taken up the case with NADRA and convinced them to establish NADRA swift Centre at OPF building. Eventually OPF-NADRA SWIFT CENTRE was established at OPF Headquarters, Islamabad on December 12, 2013. This Centre provides a central point where all issues related to issuance of NICOP and POC are handled exclusively and single day delivery is ensured. The joint initiative is also aimed at promoting and strengthening the working relationship between OPF and NADRA.

OPF is also running 4 colleges, and 19 Public Schools, in all over Pakistan. OPF also offer merit base scholarships in these educational institutions. OPF Education Division has ensured the filling of reserve seats that are 418 seats in different Medical, Engineering, PAF, Army, Navy and some other good institutions of Pakistan. At present Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) has increased concession in tuition fee from 25 per cent to 50 per cent for the children of overseas Pakistanis studying in its various educational institutions Over 2500 children of overseas Pakistanis will benefit from this concession, a decision was taken on 137th meeting of OPF Board of Governors.

From Europe these names have been nominated as members of OPAC Council Mr. Abbas Rizvi Denmark (Copenhagen), Mr. Sohail Mirza Switzerland (Berne), Rana Liaqat Ali Germany, Ch. Shabeer Ahmed Germany, Mian Tariq Mahmood Germany, Mr. Pervaiz Lousar Belgium, Mr. Khalid Khokhar, Mr. Shafqat Ali Raza Spain Barcelona, Mr. Bashir Ahmed Milan Italy, Mr. Yasir Bajwa Milan Italy, Dr. Qamar Farooq Barcelona, Mr. Khalid Hameed Farooqi Belgium, Sahibzada Atiqur Rehman Paris France, Mr. Kashif Bhutta Sweden, Mr. Arif Mahmud Kisana Sweden, Mr. Alam Zaib Switzerland, Mr. Saqib Shahbaz Norway, Mr. Javed Sana Holland, Mr. Ata Muhammad Paris.