Syed Ehsan-ul-Haq Convener-PRC
Karachi-Pakistan Repatriation Council (PRC) last evening held a symposium at Karachi Press Club to highlight the PRC proposal of “Repatriation and Rehabilitation of Stranded Pakistanis on self-finance scheme “presented by Syed Ehsanul Haque, Convener.
Renowned Journalists, Social and literary personalities Shafiq Ullah Ismail, Mumtaz Hussain Ansari (President), Iftikhar Hussain Kamal (leader), Mohibban Pakistan Foundation), Faheem Burney, Farooq Azam Arish, Shakur Rahman Khan (Chairman Council of Guardians), Engr. Waseem Farooqui, Masood Ahmed Wasi (General Secretary Social Students Forum), Arshad Afaq, Jawed Memon, Tariq Jamel, Nafees Ahmed Khan, Owais Adeeb Ansari (Member Arts Council of Pakistan), Sarfraz Alam, Dr. Rija Farhanul Haque. Hamid Islam Khan organized and conducted the event.
This proposal was presented in Al-Harithy Hotel, Jeddah on 23rd March 1998 and based on “ Employment as a resource for their repatriation and rehabilitation “ as briefly mentioned below:
1. Bangladesh should be included in Rabita Trust to play an active role in giving protection for life and security to Pakistanis stranded in camps, and to facilitate those willing to settle in Bangladesh with full legal status and dignity.
In the present situation, an alternative organization should be created with the same mandate as Rabita Trust whose chairman should be the Chief Minister of Punjab.
2. Pakistan government to approach UNHCR to secure the status of “Refugees (or Homeless) “for them; which will allow the supply of food, medical, educational other grants to alleviate their miseries.
3. Those 3,000 destitute families who were issued ID cards in 1992 should be repatriated on top priority. The Trust has the required fund for it. Out of 1000 housing units built in 1993, 937 housing units are still vacant. To build 2000 more housing units to accommodate all the 2937 families to be repatriated for which the funds are also available.
4) OIC ( Organization of Islamic Countries ) to include the repatriation issue in its agenda to secure financial and logistic support from 57 member states.
5) Approach National and International Charitable organizations, and urge them to extend necessary subsistence allowance until they are repatriated.
6) For the rest of the 37,000 families who have at least one male member, PRC hereby proposes:
a) Pakistani High Commission at Dhaka to issue passports to those persons on the first stage. To approach Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to issue 37,000 employment visas for them. The employment will enable them to acquire a house and bear the expenses of travelling to settle their families in Pakistan.
b) To approach IDB, ADB and Pakistani Banks to finance the construction of 37,000 houses in Punjab where land has already been allocated in 1988. Once the houses are built the employed persons could be offered 10 years instalments which they could easily afford.
c) The scope of housing should be reduced from $ 5000 per unit to 2,000$. Single room housing units built in Surjani Town at Karachi did cost less than $ 1500 per unit. It will reduce the budget from 185 Million $ to 74 Million $. Such a project is an attractive investment for the Banks.
d) Until repatriation is done; Pakistan High Commissioner at Dhaka should protect the rights of stranded Pakistanis.
If the above steps are taken urgently 40,000 stranded families could be settled within 2-3 years without any burden on our economy, in fact, their products overseas employment will also generate valued foreign exchange for our ailing economy. One more aspect to be mentioned is that with the reward for their patriotism – the spirit of patriotism, Islamic brotherhood and nationalism will flourish and the parochial and ethnicity will diminish in the country. We would be able to solve the problem of one of the oldest cases of refugees living in misery since 1971.
The proposal was sent to then prime minister Nawaz Sharif, later hand-delivered by Dr.Francis Lamand to General Musharraf on 2nd July 2003 and formally sent by courier to ex-President Musharraf by Dr. Abdullah Omar Nasseef in 2004 per request of Musharraf when Dr. Nasseef met and reminded him about the issue while attending the Board meeting of Islamic University in Islamabad in June 2004.
This proposal was handed over in Jeddah to Federal Overseas Minister Farooq Sattar on 14/08/2010, Federal Minister Khurshid Shah on 18/04/2010, and PPP Gen secretary Jahangir Badar during their visit to Jeddah.
It was again reminded to Raja Zafrul Haque in June 2015 in a meeting at the Office of Dr. Nasseef with the PRC delegation. It was sent to ex-prime minister Imran Khan in April 2019.
Hamid Islam Khan started the program with recitation from Holy Quran and conducted the proceeding of the symposium.
Posted by: Syed Mussarat Khalil Special correspondence TN media.