ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that the country would not need the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme in future, if it is able to tap the full potential of the overseas Pakistanis whom he termed the “biggest asset” of the country.
Addressing after the launch of digital portal for attestation of power of attorney for overseas Pakistanis, the premier said that beneficiaries of the current system have been resisting the reforms and automation. He referred the use of EVMs, and automation in Utility Stores Corporation (USC) and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in this regard.
He said that when the government tried to bring about automation in the USC, the people from within the organisation moved court against the reform.
Similarly, he said that people from within the FBR are not allowing automation because some people are making money from the current system.
Efforts are made to implement Track and Trace system for the last 15 years but successive governments have failed and now for the first time, next week, Track and Trace system would be introduced.
The prime minister said that overseas Pakistanis have been sending US$30 billion every year to help their country bridge the trade deficit.
PM Imran launches 'digital power of attorney' portal for overseas Pakistanis
He said he was feeling glad that another facility for them after succession certificate was being provided.
Overseas Pakistanis are patriotic and have always been on the fore to help Pakistan in difficult times and even generously contributed for Shaukat Khanum Memorial Hospital, the prime minister said.
He further stated that the overseas Pakistanis are the biggest asset of the country, and if their full potential is tapped, the country would no longer need the IMF. However, he regretted that the governments had created problems for them instead of creating facilities.
He said that although the overseas Pakistan remittances have been a blessing for the country, actual potential of their investment is not coming to Pakistan, solely because they were not being facilitated.
The government policy, he said, from day one is that this asset of overseas Pakistanis would be protected at all costs and in this regard embassies in the Middle East and the other countries have been instructed to extend services to them. He f stated that the foreign minister has created a portal for the overseas Pakistanis, so that they could directly complain on this portal about their problems.
The prime minister regretted that the two main political parties of the opposition have opposed and even tried to block the government law the other day during the joint sitting of the parliament, to allow nine million overseas Pakistanis the right to vote.
Parliament allows use of EVMs and voting rights for overseas Pakistanis, opposition says will knock SC’s door
He said overseas Pakistanis are being allowed the right to vote and now it would be important for every government to cater their needs. The governments would be sensitised about overseas Pakistanis’ problems, he added.
He was very happy that overseas Pakistanis have been included in democracy and now they would be important for every government and would not be ignored like in the past.
The prime minister said that opposition parties have been opposed to the use of EVM and technology in the elections because they were a beneficiary of the current system, knowing that it would end the fake votes and other issues that have been making the election controversial.
He said that the government sought open votes in the senate election and both the main political parties opposed it, he said that the use of EVM would not benefit the government.
He said that technology has made the life of the people easier and there would be nothing more unfair than not to benefit from it.
This article was first published on Nov 19 2021 in Business Recorder.