Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is ignoring the demands of Pakistani diaspora spread across the world, especially in the UAE and UK. Pak diplomatic missions need the diaspora for making their stay in foreign lands comfortable or as a crowd sourcer for Embassy events…writes Nazir Mehmood Khan, a member of Movement for the Right of Overseas Pakistanis (MROP). The new forum has served a four-week notice for action by the Pakistani government
Dubai and London are the second home of Pakistanis. While the fascination with Dubai is a post –petrodollar boom phenomenon, London fixation is a colonial legacy. In recent years Canada has emerged as another tantalising destination for the foreign-bound from Lahore, Peshawar and Karachi. This is besides the attractions of the Big Apple though Uncle Sam has become Mr. Despicable with his Islamophobia.
Any other country would have tapped into this vast Diaspora, as some Asian countries did into theirs. But not our Pakistani diplomatic bureaucracy; While they use the diaspora for making their stay in foreign lands comfortable or as a crowd sourcer for Pakistan Embassy events, there is little that they do in return for us.
Honour killings, and vigilante murders, forced marriages of teenagers and kidnappings for ransom have not made us proud outside the boundaries of our country
What do we, the Pak diaspora, want from these worthies? Not jobs nor any recommendatory letters. What letters they can give us when all of us, are standing on our own by the dint of our hard work, and our reputation for reliability, and trustworthiness. Courtesy, as fellow citizens from the Land of the Pure is the minimum we expect from these greats. We also like to see them rally in aid of our students in distress. Also our businessmen with interests at home and abroad.
Our diplomats appear to have jettisoned these demands through the ventilator as they practice to perfection the art of putting their foot in the mouth at the drop of a hat as the new envoy sent from Islamabad to Washington amidst much fanfare did the other day. Of course, we do not want to see any more of our diplomatic worthies being hauled up on charges of rape and child abductions. Like it happened in 2014 in London.
Recourse to diplomatic immunity for criminal acts brings no good name to Pakistan. We know that blaming the diplomats for Pakistan’s image shame is like missing the woods for the trees. The real culprits are the masters at home – the political class, who have been short changing the electorate with their high rhetoric and poor performance.
The MROP campaign is seeking good days and to break the vicious cycle of corruption, lack of governance and under-development that has enveloped Pakistan
Whether it is the PPP- the People’s Party of Pakistan, or the Pakistan Muslim League- Nawaz or their clones – all are on the same page. Otherwise, Pakistan will not be sweating in peak summer for long, long hours.
Whether it is Karachi, the port city or Miranwali Basti in Punjab’s Rahim Yar KhanDistrict, people have learnt to live like their ancestors of Mohenjo-daro and Harappa with no electricity, no water and food shortages.
Strong civilian government with institutionalised accountability could have been our real tribute to our founder – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a thorough- bred constitutionalist. Today we have pushed the values he had stood for into the dust bin of history.
Honour killings, and vigilante murders, forced marriages of teenagers and kidnappings for ransom have not made us proud outside the boundaries of our country.
Law and order is sine qua non of any society but it is nowhere to be seen from the heights of Gilgit in the Northern Areas to Sukkur in the Sindh plains.
So where does this leave us Pakistanis, who have settled abroad but have not disengaged from our roots overseas
We have no miracle wand. But we have the commitment and the resolve to see a new Pakistan, a better Pakistan, a Pakistan where every one of us can hold our head high.
A manifestation of this resolve was the noisy demonstration,we, some of the Overseas Pakistanis, had staged outside the Consulate General of Pakistan at Manchester on May 24. We have come together under the banner of Movement for the Right of Overseas Pakistanis (MROP), an organisation that represents overseas Pakistanis worldwide. Undoubtedly MROP is thinking big. It wants to see transformation of Pakistan, which helps its diaspora shine in its reflex glory. But for the moment the goals are modest. Like for instance, world class infrastructure at Pakistani airports, and seaports, which in their present pathetic state are a disgrace to Pakistan which boasts of nuclear missiles.
Other MROP short term and near term demands include special training to Pakistani government officers and employees who are mandated to deal with the Diaspora to image makeover for Pakistan International Airlines (PIA)- the national carrier that has become notorious as narcotics carrier with regular recoveries of heroin from its aircraft.
Also flagged are issues like land grabbing, and kidnappings for ransom that the overseas Pakistanis are made to grapple with frequently thanks to the reluctance of government functionaries at the cutting-edge to help us. And MROP has served a four-week notice for action by the Pakistani government.
“If the government fails to act in four weeks on our demands, we will launch an international campaign,” the notice stated. An international campaign will find its echo soon at home in these days of satellite TV channels. It is a campaign for good days and to break the vicious cycle of corruption, lack of governance and under-development that has enveloped Pakistan.