‘Having a look at lives of overseas Pakistanis in light of my first hand experience’
It is often said that overseas Pakistanis are of biggest assets for our country and often acknowledged by high level Officials. Foreign exchange obtained from overseas Pakistanis is increasing every passing year. However, majority of people inside Pakistan might not envisage the emotional, social and living conditions that these expatriates undergo every day. I would today like to express my feelings and observations after spending good 5 years abroad.
Reasons of Increasing number of Expatriates
Mainly due to lack of merit in our society and less job opportunities. Obviously, that directly links with the economic conditions of country and direction of interests of leadership. Number of people interested in going abroad has increased with the passage of time with the decline of our national progress ratio. Low salaries are also a big reason for people to leave and people are interested in getting advantage of powerful currencies abroad to increase their living standard. Law and Order also play’s an important role in this brain drain; I have personally witnessed some terrified individuals moving abroad despite of enjoying a good status in Pakistan.
Ironically, despite of loving Pakistan so much; people are forced to leave due to the factors mentioned above.
Ghareeb-ul-Watan: Easy to Leave, Difficult to return
You leave in excitement but it’s difficult to return back; having many reasons for the same. While you see a better environment especially with NO LOAD SHEDDING, then you start comparing the loop holes of your country with the developed countries abroad. When you are used to of comfort and easiness; it’s not that easy to come back.
People often start with few targets to achieve but as the time passes away, the TO-DO list goes on increasing and you find yourself trapped between reality and ambitions/expectations.
Condition of People
Many of the people live here with their families back home. Worst condition is when people are living bachelor’s life with their wife and kids distant.
There are few people living for 7 to 9 years abroad and still trying it hard to go back home. While traveling in KSA during my Umrah, I met with an individual residing illegally outside Pakistan for good 8 years or so just dragging his life somehow; not sure of his future. His face was disrupted and his thoughts were scattered. He was hanging between life and death. Just can not forget his misery.
While you see stories of students who went for studies and in the end failed to complete their degrees due to tough conditions. In face of uncertainty, such Guys pass through a mental trauma each and every day. Many students somehow manage in difficult living conditions for their better future. We can not conceive their condition sitting in our cozy couches.
People also face various strict laws and harsh treatment in other countries. In many cases, salaries are delayed leaving them in tatters. Some companies keep their passports and they find it difficult to depart of their own will. Often International Human rights watch institutions raise their voices against such laws. ‘Door ke Dhol Suhane’ , quite right mates!
Living as a secondary citizen abroad and obviously expatriates can not enjoy the independence of a pure resident/citizen. They have to give utmost and unilateral regard to the locals and occasionally humiliated in the process. Most of the people back home does not realize this. We see the new generation of Pakistani origin people often face Racism in the countries like UK and Australia. One of such person was telling me that he had to face this behavior by the local fellows (who were somehow living at comparatively low status as compared to the educated expatriates) and had to silently listen for sentences like “My grandfather fought the war, it’s my country: I deserve more opportunities and rights than you”. People still carry on to live outside as they do not want to come back to face Pakistani mess again.
Mostly people are cut-off from the Pakistani society specially the ones living distant in Europe, Australia and America. They are separated from their own people and miss the unmatchable society bond and care in their lives. Work is the sole priority while abroad. The gathering and enticement which you can make with your own people is very difficult almost impossible to create with people from other backgrounds.
We see many young bachelors leaving for job to other countries. They often find it difficult to find matches for their marriage. This also applies for people well settled abroad with dual nationalities. This is widely witnessed mainly because many people (in Pakistan) are scared to believe the credentials and character of a given expatriate candidate of marriage. Physical presence in Pakistan is also not possible very frequently; ultimately it takes many years to make couples for the interested expatriates. This is a big cost which manyPardesis have to pay; nobody else can feel this dilemma.
It’s very complicated for expatriate’s new generation morally and emotionally. Despite of all the good things present in developed countries, it is very unlikely to develop a child with pure Pakistani attitude and when the child finally grows up (abroad) you often find all your life’s effort wasted due to his/her behavior/attitude. Other way around, children of expatriates bringing up in Pakistan are not established the way they would like them to be. Such people intensely miss out the brought up phases of their children and eventually that particular Father-Child bond is not much strong.
In one instance, one of our poor colleagues took some good One Lac Dirhams back home which was equally distributed among all his brothers by his father. He kept quiet in light of their old traditions. What a shame! This news was leaked within our circle, nobody was commenting but the faces were saying: “This was not just.” Just imagine when your loose your right like this…
We miss out National Days/Events while living abroad and spent those particular days by refreshing pure & everlasting memories fromPakistan. In my case, Dil Dil Pakistan is very helpful on 23rd March and 14th August!
People often fail to reach back home while their loved one passes away in Pakistan and carry this regret for the rest of their lives. This is the worst part of poor Ghareeb-ul-Watan people.
Negatives faced by overseas
Some people treat overseas people ass money machines and closes eyes to their problems. They think that people abroad are most resourceful and rich. Such people do not realize tough living and earning conditions after which Guys abroad are able to earn money and spend their share as this money is coming for free.
People often ask abroad Guys to find out jobs for them. They think it’s very easy for them to get jobs as their acquaintance is abroad; which is not the case in reality. I personally think people from Pakistan should treat their overseas relatives/contacts as ONE of job finding resources, not the SOLE resource.
Being in contact and remember each other is also very important. Many overseas complain that their relatives and friends from Pakistan do not contact them in a manner they should do rather they take this granted that the person overseas carries this responsibility of contacting them. This is specially felt on Festivals of both EIDs. People must realize the emotions of their brothers/sisters abroad; one call to your loved one abroad can make a BIG difference.
Negatives faced by People at home
People back home are also some times unjustly treated by overseas people. People abroad sometimes think that people in Pakistan do not know anything. That should not happen because we were also the part of same society and culture once. Obviously in lack of a developed environment and equal facilities, how can one behave as per your standards? People abroad should also realize tough living conditions in Pakistan and go to all extents to pay back society be it through sending money to support or to transfer their experiences to help struggling fellows in Pakistan.
Supporting Pakistanis, building a better image!
I tell you one instance when a guy was looted by another Pakistani. My friend had just arrived in Europe for studies and he had no bank account to keep his money. So he trusted that Guy with whom was staying by giving him money as Amanat. In return, that guy spent the good amount of money for repairing his car. As a result my friend faced severe daunts and at one time he was helpless in paying his fee at time. The money was return later in installments around 85% but the pain faced was irreplaceable and changed behavior of my friend forever.
We also hear some negatives about Pakistanis. This mostly includes illegal immigrant status. People dying in ship containers trying to get better future for their families. In some cases, disobedience of foreign law and deception leave Pakistan’s image at stake.
In contrast; apart from sending the revenue, we can play far greater role for Pakistan while living abroad. We can play role of ambassadors for our country. By following the local laws respectfully, being honest to people and obeying our jobs in a justified manner. I have seen people giving their utmost effort to enlighten Pakistan image by their performance at work. Aim of keeping Pakistan’s flag Hi-fi keeps them motivated and they keep on playing their role far from their beloved homeland.
In one of the cases, one of Pakistani offered my close colleague a Private part time job (illegal as per company’s employment contract) but my friend rejected this offer, I remember his words till now. He replied to him “By doing this job, we might well become another case of Salman-Asif-Amir (the spot fixing cricket Guys) and Pakistan could well be defamed in our Office environment, this is illegal ; sorry mate I can not do this work for you”.
Salam to all such people, your are unknown heroes of this Pak-land. Bravo and Respect for you Guys.
Behavior in Calamities
Overseas Pakistanis share a great deal while Pakistan face any natural calamity or for any national cause. We have seen this in Qarz Utaaro Mulk Sanwaro movement, Earthquake, floods and recent drought in Thar-Sindh. In such time, people are just uneasy and desperate to add their part to help their brothers and sisters. People take brilliant initiatives during such conditions and create funds and send money open heartedly as humble gifts to the suffering people back home. Such passion of our nation is un-matched and we should be proud.
Very few people would say that they are living abroad BY CHOICE. Believe me or not, many people are abroad are waiting for a good time to return and give their expertise to this nation. May the time come soon, Ameen.
Many writers and poets have raised their Pen for the overseas Pakistanis; Pardesi literature in form of verses and songs. People listen to such songs and often disappear in memories of Pakistan. My Urdu is not that much of high quality nor I know the technicalities of Poetry, but still this shair right from the bottom of my heart goes out for Pakistan.
Haal-e-dil tujh ko kiya sunaoo’n aaai mere mehboob watan
Tu hai, teri yaad hai, teri yaadein aur Bas!
This article was published at following, Published date 23rd June, 2014
Article No: 21