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Date Posted: 22:02:27 08/31/07 Fri
Author: Javed

By Javed – 08 January 2007

A debate has started in Daily DAWN Karachi when one Mr. Qadri expressed his experience when he decided to come back from abroad and settle back in Pakistan. A lot of letters have appeared most of which say that the country badly needs the high skills of Overseas Pakistanis (OPs) settled abroad and that and they should also mentally expect to face same problem which their relatives back home or society generally have. This advice looks very wise and good but million dollar question is does the country actually needs this brain drain to be reversed back? The answer is no.

The naked truth is no one at the helm of affair has ever wished or wishes that OPs should come back because their remittances are one of the biggest source of stability of governments and their remitted foreign exchange is the one on which full loads of planes go on “tours”. In 1990 Gulf War evey country including India and Bangladesh prepared plans to evaculate their citizens in case of war between Saddam and US. If any country did not care about it, it was only our beloved country. General Ziaul Haq addressed the Ops in Mecca said that Ops should work honourably and if at any time they felt humiliated or degraded the country has enough for them. I wrote him I wish to come back and never got any response. The big mouth opener Sheikh Rashid Ahmed as the then Minister for Overseas Pakistanis during his “tour” to Saudi Arabia advised Ops that those who had served abroad more than 10 years should come back to serve the country with their skills. I wrong him I want to come back to my previous organization at my sake old grade and salary. I sent him at least a dozen reminders never ever to get a response.

The whole matter can be well understood from one angle. Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) is a subsidity of Ministry of Labour, Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis. It is an independent organization with all its capital from contributions from Ops as its membership fee. The moto of this organization is welfare of Ops. It has offices in all provinces, some schools and some medical units etc. The most interesting is it has never employed even a single OP who had returned from abroad. This act of OPF has proved beyond any doubt that in the eyes of authorities that the skills got on most modern machines and technology abroad has in fact no value in the eye of authorities whosoever.

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