Are overseas Pakistanis any less greener?
We celebrate Independence Day and Eid, we contribute to the GDP and send aid, but we aren't patriotic Pakistanis.
The dilemma of resident Pakistanis being more loyal to their country than non-resident Pakistanis seems to be going on forever. Enough has already been said and written on the issue, but we just don’t seem to come out of this rhetoric.
My first argument to anybody who doubts my patriotism is whether being a non-resident makes me any less Pakistani than them? For me it’s a pretty simple equation, it’s not a requisite that you can only love someone or something when you’re available in person. It can be a bonus but definitely not necessary.
I acknowledge that people in Pakistan are facing abysmal circumstances first-hand and they need a pat on the back for that, but does that give them the right to accuse the expats of treason?
I admit that people migrate to greener pastures for their personal motives and I don’t see any harm in that. However, in the process of migrating they take a piece of their native land with them. As a result we have got robust, dedicated and patriotic Pakistani communities all over the globe. They actively contribute to their newly adopted countries and are heavily involved in Pakistani affairs.
Pakistan always witnesses huge support from the Pakistani community abroad in daunting times, be it the earthquake, floods or general aid; we like any other Pakistani celebrate Independence Day; we also feel proud on the Defence Day; we have the same Eid gatherings as any other household in Pakistan and we do social work for the community just for the sake of helping fellow Pakistanis.
In short, expats have kept everything about Pakistan alive while integrating with other cultures. The way I see it, we represent Pakistan in the broader sense. The Westerners always see two faces of Pakistan - the one in the media and the educated cultured one depicted by the expatriates.
Doesn't this count as giving back to Pakistan?
According to a study by the World Bank, Pakistan lies at number seven in the list of top emigration countries and lies at number 11 in the list of top remittance receiving countries. According to a different source, Pakistan lies in at number five in the list of top remittance receiving countries!
According to a report by International Monetary Fund, the flow of workers’ remittances to Pakistan has more than quadrupled in the last eight years. The importance of incoming remittances was duly accredited by the government of Pakistan and for that matter they even set up a structure in Pakistan for remittance facilitation called Pakistan Remittance Initiative (PRI) with the help of State Bank of Pakistan, Ministry of Oversees Pakistanis and Ministry of Finance.
The mere reason to quote all this data is to prove that the so called non-resident, non-patriotic Pakistanis are still one of the biggest contributors to the Pakistani GDP, which is in a sorry state and needs all the help it can get.
Doesn’t this count as giving back to Pakistan?
If all this is not patriotism, then I don't know what is.
We are proud Pakistanis and nobody can take that from us. We represent, to the world, all that is good in Pakistan and all that Pakistan stands for. We will always refer to ourselves as Pakistanis - therein lie our roots.
There is really no taking the Pakistani out of us!
This post originally appeared here