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Feb 13, 2009



Govt mulling legislation to allocate seats for Overseas Pakistanis in NA

DUBAI, Feb 10: Speakers at an international seminar Tuesday called for measures for ensuring recognition to the contribution by the Pakistani Diaspora for improving the image of the country across the globe.
The seminar, held here under the aegis of Pakistan International Council (PIC) by Pakistan’s Ambassador at Large, Javed Malik. It was addressed by Governor Sindh, Dr. Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan, Deputy Speaker of National Assembly, Faisal Karim Kundi, and Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis Dr. Farooq Sattar, besides other Federal Ministers and Nazim of Karachi, Mustafa Kamal.
Distinguished Middle East based Pakistanis, in addition to the overseas based Pakistanis, a large number of Arab personalities also took part which included members of the Royal family and leading businessmen.
Welcoming the guests, Pakistan's Ambassador at Large, Javed Malik appreciated the role being played by overseas Pakistanis for the image building of the country and said that the government was working on a series of initiatives to recognize their contributions not only to support Pakistan but also in highlighting the positive image of the country.
He also paid rich tributes to Friends of Pakistan, and said, "the government, in addition to the overseas Pakistanis, will also recognize and appreciate the support of Friends of Pakistan. These are people who may not be Pakistanis by nationality but have a great interest with Pakistan and we appreciate the support of our friends".
Javed Malik said the government would demonstrate this appreciation through Prime Minister's Global Pakistani Awards which have been launched on directives of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to honour, recognize and appreciate the role of overseas Pakistanis and Friends of Pakistan annually".
"Moreover the government is also considering legislation that would give representation to overseas Pakistanis in Parliament both in the National Assembly and the Senate," he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Sindh Dr. Ishrat Ul Ebad Khan appreciated the efforts of Pakistan’s Ambassador at Large, Javed Malik and assured him of full support of the government.
"The overseas based Pakistanis are an asset for Pakistan and the government will do all that it can to ensure that they are supported in every way," he added.
Farooq Sattar, the newly appointed Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, appreciated the idea of formation of Pakistan International Council which, he said, would play a key role in uniting the overseas Pakistani community.
He said that overseas Pakistanis would be given a status of a VIP when they come back. He said he is already working on ensuring that they are also given the right to vote in Parliament.
"We agreed to prepare a piece of legislation which would create a few seats for overseas Pakistanis to our national assembly, to our senate and to our provincial legislature," said Dr Sattar.
"This exists in some modern countries of the world like China, Germany and Italy, where overseas citizens have representation back home in their own parliaments."
Deputy Speaker, National Assembly, Faisal Karim Kundi and others also addressed the gathering.

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