Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis has condemned the brutal murder of Prof. Javed Bhuttoo, a renowned Pakistani intellectual and scholar in America and directed ministry of foreign affairs to take up the matter with its counterparts in America for detailed inquiry. The Committee was presided over by its Chairman Senator Hilal-ur-Rehman at Parliament Lodges, Islamabad on Tuesday to discuss matters pertaining to welfare of Overseas Pakistanis besides measures taken by the ministry of Overseas Pakistan for retrieval of OPF land from illegal possession and the housing projects launched recently.
Senator Hilal-ur-Rehman and other members of the Committee expressed their sympathies with the family of Prof. Javed Bhuttoo and called upon the concerned quarters to provide justice to the victim family. The matter was raised during the meeting by Senator Sassui Palejo. She said that Prof. Javed Bhuttoo was a noted scholar and liberal face of Pakistan. she said that the matter needs to be investigated thoroughly to provide justice to the family of Prof. Javed.
The Committee also condemned the brutal murder of Shakirullah who was languishing in prison in India. The Committee termed the highhandedness of Indian authorities as a brutal act. Chairman of the Committee said that Indian leadership has lost its senses and is trying to divert attention of the people from real issues which India is facing on political, economic and social side. He said that the treatment meted out to Shakirullah in Indian jail is highly unfortunate. He lauded the role of the security forces especially Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force in the recent standoff between Pakistan and India, adding that, political leadership of the country has also shown exemplary unity in their ranks and the whole nation stood out with one voice for the defense of motherland.
Senator Samina Saeed raised the issue of illegal occupation of a piece of land owned by an overseas Pakistani Nasir Awan at Gujrat. She said that Nasir Awan’s family is passing through testing time as he has drained out all his finances on litigation for seeking justice. She said that the family is unable to bear the expenses of their children for education.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minster, Zulfiqar Bukhari informed about the plans of the ministry about utilization of land for the benefit of overseas Pakistanis. Sectary Overseas Pakistani informed the committee that 102 canal in Islamabad and 76.4 canal lands from Lahore has been retrieved which would be used for housing projects for overseas Pakistanis and a transparent mechanism would be adopted for allotment. Senator Samina Saeed suggested creation hospitals for overseas Pakistanis. The special assistant told that Sehat Insaf Card schemes is also available for health and already there are so many initiatives have been taken by ministry for welfare of overseas Pakistanis since last six months. The Committee was informed that legislation is being considered by the government to establish separate courts for disposing off court cases.
Senator Ayub Afridi proposed a comprehensive policy for addressing the issues being faced by the overseas Pakistanis and to introduce some policy interventions for addressing their grievances.
The Committee was also informed regarding public petition on enhancement of pension disbursed by EOBI. Ministry informed that pension under the Act can only be enhanced on the recommendation of actuaries after proper actuarial valuation to be done after every three years. However, to extend immediate relief to the very vulnerable segment of the society, the government has announced 10% increase for EOBI pensioners through Finance Suplementary (Amendment) Bill , 2018 to be funded by Finance Division. It was informed that minimum amount is Rs. 6500 per month now. Special Assistant to the PM said that billions were wasted on purchase of properties. The current government is trying to fix the problems and aims to enhance the pension upto Rs.10000 per month in the long run. He further informed that a white paper would be issued soon. The Committee also disposed off petition with regard to alleged banking fraud.
The Meeting was attended by Senators Mirza Muhammad Afridi, Molvi Faiz Muhammad, Nighat Mirza, Najma Hameed, Sassui Palijo, Muhammad Ayubv Afridi, Samina Saeed, Dr Shehzad Waseem, Special Assistant to the Prime Minster Zulfiqar Bukhari and senior officers of ministry concerned.