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Trade bodies representatives would be selected on merit : Zulfi Bokhari

Lahore : Special Assistant to Prime Minister on
Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development Syed Zulfiqar Abbas Bokhari Saturday assured that trade bodies representatives would be selected on merit and through advertisement in an effort to bring forth genuine and actual people for representation of the labourers community.

He was addressing the ‘Consultation and Overview of the Social
Safety Nets Schemes for Workers and Recommendations by the Trade Unions’ organised by the Pakistan Workers Federation (PWF) in cooperation with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) at a local Hotel.

The PM’s special assistant said the Ministry of Overseas
Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (HRD) was taking all the relevant quarters for bringing effective reforms in the labourers
affairs and promotion of human resource development.

He was of the view that no institution could perform smoothly and
effectively, unless it was brought into profitability by eliminating
the menace of corruption. He said that volume of corruption committed in the past ran into billions especially in the EOBI (Employees Oldage Benefits Institution) and a white paper was also being prepared to this effect.

Zulfiqar Bokhari said that he would request the prime minister to
convene the meeting of the Council of Common Interests (CCI) at the earliest so as to take up the labourers and overseas Pakistanis
workforce issues at that forum.

He also announced that workers pension under the EOBI had been
increased from Rs 5,250 to Rs 6,500, and vowed to take this figure up to minimum wage of Rs 15,000 as early as possible.

Later, talking to the media, Zulfiqar Bukhari said that the
Ministry of Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development was introducing biometric system, which would not only help to collect credible data of Pakistani workforce abroad but also ensure speedy and transparent processing of their data.

He cited that paperless processing/verification of workforce would
also help eliminate corruption, which had in the past been committed at various levels.

The ministry had also abolished the condition of NICOP (National
Identity Card for Overseas Pakistanis) for the workers working abroad, and now they could travel from Pakistan to their respective country of work and from where to Pakistan through their valid Pakistani passport, he maintained.

The PM’s special assistant mentioned that the Ministry of Overseas
Pakistanis and HRD was also working on modalities and developing of apps to streamline the US $ 20 billion foreign remittances of overseas Pakistanis in an effort to control the money transfers from other countries through non-banking channels.

He mentioned that last week, they had launched a ‘Naya Pakistan
Calling’ (software) application having credible database for the
highly skilled Pakistani workforce abroad, who want to come back to
Naya Pakistan and this app will help them as to how and where they can submit their resumes for working here and where they can find a better employment.

On November 19, he said that he would launch a state-of-the-art
website of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and HRD that would
facilitate people to the maximum extent; this ministry would be made paperless and it would be first ministry moving towards e-governance that would in a way ensure accountability and save time; and ‘Call Sar Zameen’ apps would also be launched. This app would have a dedicated complaint cell for overseas Pakistanis and this app would also be integrated with Prime Minister’s Complaint Cell, he disclosed.

To a question about Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said that a
leader could take such steps of reviewing his decisions instead of
being rigid on his stance, and one could not term this step of
rectification as U-turn, because Imran Khan reviewed his decision
keeping in view the given circumstances for the good of the nation and country.

Regarding his dual nationality, he said that since the matter was
sub-judice, therefore, let the judiciary decide this issue.

Earlier, PWF General Secretary Zahoor Awan gave a detailed
presentation on the state of labourers and their issues in Pakistan
and abroad, while Federal Secretary of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and HRD Muhammad Asif Sheikh, FES representative Abdul Qadir, and former LCCI President Malik Tahir Javed also spoke on the occasion.

A large number of representatives of trade unions actively
participated in the consultation meeting.

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