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.

Ahmed Baig February 21, 2013
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
Ahmed Baig An Australian based Pakistani, who happens to be a jingoist. He feels agitated about the ongoing melancholic and ever deteriorating state of Pakistan. He tweets @ahmedbaig85
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.


Zubair Ali | 11 years ago | Reply You question the love Overseas Pakistanis have for Pakistan and doubt our loyalty? I am born and bred in the UK - 3rd gen.. well educated, settled, secure and have the vast majority of my family here in the UK (95%+). I have spent a collective total of 5 months in Pak in 34+ years yet I follow Pak news daily, have Pakistan based friends, exhibit Pak's cultural aspects, speak urdu, punjabi fluently, adore and evangelise Pak and speak about its current state (in a positive way) at every opportunity - private, public and professional etc. I am involved in numerous projects (mainly private) to help resident Pakistanis that I have never met and do not know to improve their lives by helping them build homes, fund education for their children, setup micro businesses, marry their children, healthcare funding, give birth, go abroad etc etc. I have shipped containers to Pak filled with humanitarian goods through the huge and substantial donations I was able to organise from the UK Pakistani community (Slough / London). I earn the equivalent of over 10lakhs per month (Allhumdulillah), yet I choose to live in a middle working class neighborhood - where average income is less than a third of mine. I have no kids (and no expensive bad habits), yet my bank account is frequently in the red every month (even now) due to the work I am engrossed in. Why do I do this? Its really quite simple. I love Pakistan and my people more than I love anything. I believe in making a difference. I believe in sacrifice. I don't talk about what I do to anyone (not even my family to the fullest extent) and I am in no way bragging... I consider myself to be fortunate to be able to help others. Allhumdulillah. I also have a circle of non resident Pakistani friends (mainly UK born) who are similar to me. Reading some of your comments has disappointed me. Truth is some of you have no idea how much we cherish Pakistan.
Optimist | 11 years ago | Reply I am an overseas Pakistani. My love for Pakistan is for selfish reasons (I hate to admit it). . I watch Pakistani news and want Pakistan to do well BECAUSE I don't want it to become embarrassment for me in foreign countries. I want it to become developed so that I could go back and reap rewards of development. . Yes I love Pakistan but I will only go there on my terms. That is selfish love.
Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ