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Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The abandonment of overseas Pakistanis

The realization & understanding of how democracy works leads those immigrants to ask questions of themselves as well as the political hierarchy in Pakistan. That soon led to total disillusionment as the political hierarchy does not have an answer.

There is a riddle that goes around with a lesson in it. Three ants walk in a line and the middle and say there are two ants in front of me and two behind. You can think and rethink, and try all permutations and combinations but you can never understand how that can happen. The answer is the one hitting you right on the face, that is the middle and is lying. Most of the time the truth is something that smacks you on the face however bizarre it may be. Some crime writers like the creator of Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle) or Poirot (Agatha Christie) opine that to solve a crime just look at the biggest possibility & it is likely that it is the solution. Take any bizarre situation, take it through the gamut of possibility and eureka you have the truth.

Even considering the huge probability of bizarre & unexplainable situations in Pakistani politics it boggles the mind how Pakistani politicians have abandoned the diaspora of Pakistani immigrants living in almost every country of the world. Actually, if social media platforms are any indicators to go by, that includes the cyber team & the hidden assets with an established identity trying to shape an opinion according to the instructions given to them it is not an abandonment only but an effort to snap the umbilical cord tying the millions of immigrants with their Motherland.

Read more: PM Shehbaz thanks Overseas Pakistanis as RDA inflows cross $4.5B

Understanding the matter better

The campaign encompasses not only legislative blunders to disenfranchise them but also a cacophonic, shrill and abusive campaign to establish that the Pakistani immigrant diaspora is out of touch with Pakistan, has no interest in Pakistan, has no understanding of Pakistani politics and regional geopolitical realities, no love lost for Pakistan, the money sent is their burden as they send it to their own relatives, it’s just an effort to dominate Pakistan and some other serious slurs to embellish the allegations. It’s very strange, a political party, any political party for that matter when it loses a section or group of people will redouble its effort to win them back.

They will research the group of people, and find out what they can do or promise to do for them so that they win them back. Mind it the immigrant diaspora all over the world is not a small group of people. In 2017 they were identified as 8.8 Million strong and now in 2022, they will almost assuredly be 10 million plus. If we consider the population of Pakistan as 220 million that’s 4.54 percent of the total population How can any political party afford to neglect, vilify and shun such a large percentage of their voters? This becomes more mind-boggling when one realizes that by necessity most of the immigrants are of voting age.

If we look at the diaspora of immigrants all over the world we realize some of them were actually beneficiaries of the same political party who have for some reason or other, including rewarding, escaping, or simply settling, sent quite a few of these immigrants abroad. The vicious reaction by these political parties and their henchmen displays the desperation & burning of all boat’s strategies.

Winning them back was never an option

Just take a dispassionate look at the scenario. The immigrants are exposed to democracy, the working of democracy at its basics, the power of rule of law and its implications, the concept of morality in society, the actual choice of democracy and what should be at stake. They soon realize that what we have in Pakistan is not a democracy by any means. The thankfulness of the beneficiary soon evaporates when they realize that everyone used them and while they have been thrown a crumb of bread their country has been led to the debtor’s prison.

The realization & understanding of how democracy works leads those immigrants to ask questions of themselves as well as the political hierarchy in Pakistan. That soon led to total disillusionment as the political hierarchy does not have an answer. Over a period of time, the immigrant Pakistanis achieved maturity which enabled them to differentiate between political sloganeering & real solutions and strategy. That created problems for political parties used to subservient semi-educated & socially subdued masses who can be divided by ethnicity, caste & meaningless political rhetoric. The scarecrow they used for one another seemed devoid of any impact on the immigrant diaspora.

While on the other hand another political party coming up as a third force was giving logical answers & had the advantage of no baggage as they did not have power before. As time passed the political support began to get more and more lopsided as the new political party soon had an overwhelming majority.

Read more: Remittances decline as Overseas Pakistanis stop sending money?

Logically the political parties in the fray should have had a think tank inside the party telling them what is happening, and they should have taken concrete steps to counter the third political party. They should have gone for an effective political narrative and not treated this group of the immigrant diaspora the same as the Pakistani masses back home. Unfortunately, these political parties are virtually dying dinosaurs no longer in touch with reality. They had lost the capability to politics in midst of intelligent masses plus the fact that they are used to coming to power on the back of the establishment via palace intrigue further disabled them in their effort to touch the immigrant diaspora. Somehow, they lacked the vision to look into the future and thought this disconnect with the immigrant diaspora will never hurt them till the chickens come home to roost.

The new strategy of vilifying, degrading and name-calling of immigrant diaspora is almost like committing hara-kiri by the political parties. There were some bubbles of support from the beneficiary that are going to evaporate as well. Moreover, up till this moment, the immigrant diaspora has been evaluating the third force critically but now this targeting by sleepers & unwarranted criticism will connect them with the third force emotionally & which will be very hard to reverse.

The immigrant diaspora, especially the first generation loves Pakistan very very dearly as happens with every group of first-generation immigrants. The slur that why you left Pakistan seems very ridiculous as hijrat to earn a livelihood is always allowed plus these pious claimants will jump into the hold of a ship if they get a ticket out of Pakistan. This kind of claim and counterclaim only produces a poisonous ambiance & makes it more difficult for the political parties to reclaim the group. Pakistani political parties must realize that eventually as is the norm all over the world these immigrants will get their voting rights and that will be a death knell for these political parties in Pakistan. So they have to take some logical steps instead of just throwing mud on them. It is now or never for them.


The author has worked for Unilever for 25 years. He is a professional translator/interpreter of five languages and is also a certified computer trainer. He is currently living in Virginia, USA. The views expressed in the article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.