THE increased volume of remittances in Pakistan is not only an important source of funding for families of recipients, but also holds tremendous potential as a source of external finance.
After the oil shock of 1974, during which Pakistan exported a vast labour force to Gulf countries, the remittance-to-GDP ratio is continuously increasing. In view of the above stated facts, I would like to urge the government of Pakistan to look into problems being faced by overseas Pakistanis who are helping their country by way of remittances to support the economic crisis in the country.
Through your columns, I would like to highlight the main issue being faced nowadays by overseas Pakistanis. Since the introduction of machine-readable passports, the passport holder has to be present in the Embassy for issuance of new passport or its renewal which involves a lot of inconvenience for those who have to travel from other cities to the embassy.
The government can arrange mobile equipment to be sent to different cities to collect the data, and passports can be delivered on their next visit, or the individuals concerned can collect them from the embassy in case of an urgency. In this connection, I would like to mention that almost everywhere Pakistanis have to go to their embassies early in the morning for making queues and they are not dealt with as politely as they deserve.