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Overseas Pakistanis Forum to be established

In an effort to reach out to the Pakistani community abroad, the government has decided to establish an Overseas Pakistanis Forum under the chairmanship of Minister for Overseasn Pakistanis Farooq Sattar.

world Updated: Nov 08, 2009 19:52 IST

In an effort to reach out to the Pakistani community abroad, the government has decided to establish an Overseas Pakistanis Forum under the chairmanship of Minister for Overseasn Pakistanis Farooq Sattar.

Noted overseas Pakistani and Ambassador-at-Large Javed Malik has been named the secretary general and vice chair of the forum.

"My efforts would focus on reaching out to the community and connecting them to the decision makers in Pakistan," Online news agency Sunday quoted Malik as saying.

"The role of overseas Pakistanis has always been underestimated. It would be be wrong to view them only as a source of foreign exchange remittances when they have a lot more to offer," he added.

"They have skills, established businesses and professional knowledge which can be very beneficial for Pakistan. Many have distinguished themselves in positions of influence in their host countries and can prove very effective in their own way," Malik pointed out.

"Moreover, they have the willingness to support their home country but often feel neglected," he maintained.

According to Malik, "The lack of services and incentives being offered to the overseas Pakistani community also needs to be addressed and we need to take steps to overcome the trust deficit due to broken promises and bad experiences with housing schemes".

According to estimates, overseas Pakistanis remitted almost $7.811 billion during fiscal 2008-09 and if facilities are introduced, this figure is likely to go up. Experts have estimated that given the right environment and incentives, a figure of $800 million per month is achievable.