Education for children of UAE consulate staff is not free now

* Govt has withdrawn free education facility for children of Pakistanis working at UAE consulate in Dubai

ISLAMABAD: While the Ministry of Overseas Pakistan is busy making tall claims to facilitate expat Pakistanis, the government has taken back free education facility for children of Pakistanis working in a consulate of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

According to the information available with Daily Times, around 50 Pakistanis are working in a Pakistani Consulate in Dubai and the government was bearing all expense of their children’s education studying in His Highness Sheikh Rashid Al Maktoum Pakistan School.

But the government has now withdrawn the facility over unknown reasons to the utter surprise of the UAE consulate staff.

Irked at the new development, the consulate staff said that they can’t afford exorbitant study expenditures of their children.

It is pertinent to mention that the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development was established in 2013 after the merger of erstwhile Ministry of Human Resource Development and the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis.

According to Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Zulfiqar Abbas Bukhari, the ministry has no data of oversees Pakistanis in different countries.

Bukhari, however, could not approach for his comment over the issue.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis has rejected media reports regarding abolishment of the National Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis (NICOP) for overseas Pakistanis.

In an official statement, Prime Minister’s Special Assistant Bukhari said that the condition of NICOP was abolished only for immigrants Pakistanis and not overseas Pakistanis.

As per the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) Act, 2000, it is mandatory for overseas Pakistanis to hold NICOP to get national identity cards from the authority. The condition was later imposed on immigrant Pakistanis, which has been abolished.

Bukhari said that the recommendation was approved by Prime Minister Imran Khan. “Now the overseas Pakistani can travel to Pakistan without visa,” he added in the statement.

“The ministry takes lead in initiating and implementing prime minister’s 100-day reformative agenda to ensure quick redress of issues pertaining to expatriates and their children by achieving almost all set targets,” said Bukhari.

Before this, the government decided to undertake a couple of new initiatives to facilitate overseas Pakistanis. The PM announced that the government would soon unveil a special incentive package aimed at encouraging overseas Pakistanis to transfer remittances through banking channels. The government, Bukhari said, was fully aware of problems being faced by overseas Pakistanis in sending remittances and retaining their legal properties in Pakistan.

Published in Daily Times, November 30th 2018.