ISLAMABAD: Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) has established a complaint cell for the timely resolution of problems of Overseas Pakistanis and as of now, 28,526 complaints have been resolved against the 33,982 registered complaints.
This was stated by the Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (MOPHRD) Shabnam Amir Khan during the briefing to the Senate Standing Committee meeting. A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on MOPHRD was held at Parliament House on Tuesday with Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar in Chair, said a press release.
She said that OPF is aiming to establish dedicated fast-track courts in all provinces of Pakistan for the protection of properties and quick redressal of property disputes of overseas Pakistanis. Senator Anwar ul Haq Kakar commended the initiative and uttered it as a ‘step in the right direction’. Besides, a comprehensive plan is needed to redress the problems confronted by overseas Pakistanis at airports, he commented.
The Senate Committee was briefed about the functions, roles, priorities and future plans of the Ministry and its attached departments. Shabnam apprised the Committee that Ministry for Overseas Pakistanis was created as an independent ministry in 2008, however, it was merged with Human Resource Development in 2013 and currently, there are four autonomous bodies working under the ministry which includes Employees Old Age Benefits Institution (EOBI), Overseas Pakistani Foundation (OPF), Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC) and Workers Welfare Fund (WWF).
She said that the primary function of the ministry is to ensure well being of overseas Pakistanis and by keeping in view this goal, the ministry initiated policies aimed to streamline the problems confronted by overseas Pakistanis and their dependents and besides the ministry also motivates the overseas citizens to strengthen their links with the mother country. As of now, there are 48 officers and 198 officials working in the ministry and around 67 posts are vacant against the total 313 sanctioned posts, she informed.
Moreover, the Committee was briefed about the working of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF). Dr. Amer Sheikh, MD OPF, informed the committee that the major function of the foundation is to ensure social welfare of emigrants and their families in Pakistan and abroad and to achieve this milestone, OPF has established housing societies, educational institutions and also offered scholarships for offsprings of overseas Pakistanis in field of science, technology and art.
While discussing the role of Employees old age benefits Institution (EOBI), Chairman Committee expressed displeasure over the absence of Chairperson of EOBI.
However, Senator Shahadat Awan stated that there is an allegation that EOBI has disbursed pensions to employees who were taking pensions from their respective provinces and EOBI has changed their members of Board of Trustees so many times that it has raised suspicion and EOBI has refused to provide minutes of meetings despite several demands. Moreover, he maintained that EOBI has given favours to different insurance companies enlisted with the former and above all, EOBI has not provided the recovery status on 18 cases, registered against the 187 plots owned by Ministry of overseas Pakistanis and Resource Development. Chairman Committee directed the EOBI to provide a detailed report against all the alleged allegations in the next two weeks.
Furthermore, the committee was briefed by Overseas Employment Corporation (OEC) regarding their efforts for securing employment for Pakistanis abroad. Naseer Khan Kashani, MD OEC, informed that OEC helps skilled and unskilled labour in getting employment in different countries and due to continous efforts, OEC has succeeded in increasing the number of immigrants per year for skilled and unskilled workers. Chairman Committee applauded the efforts of OEC and suggested that efforts should also be made for skilled immigrants to train them in new technology.
The meeting was attended by Senator Manzoor Ahmed, Senator Asad Ali Khan Junejo, Senator Prince Ahmed Umer Ahmedzai, Senator Rana Mahmood ul Hassan, Federal Minister for Climate Change Senator Sherry Rehman, State Minister for Law and Justice Senator Shahadat Awan, Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistani and Resource Development Sajid Hussain Turi, Joint Secretary for MOPHRD Shabnam Amir Khan, Managing Director OPF Dr. Amer Shiekh, Managing Director OEC Naseer Khan Kashani and other senior officers of relevant departments were also in attendance. (APP)