Penalising overseas Pakistanis

Published: October 2, 2012

LONDON: The cost for overseas Pakistanis to call Pakistani landlines and cell phones has increased by 300 to 800 per cent from October 1, depending on the country and network. This tremendous increase is a result of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority’s (PTA) decision to implement the controversial international clearing house (ICH). This move, which is claimed to reduce illegal calls to Pakistan, has resulted in a tremendous penalty for overseas Pakistanis who call their family and friends in Pakistan.

Call charges from the UK to Pakistan have already been increased from three to six cents a minute to as high as up to 24 cents a minute. In comparison, charges for neighbouring countries such as India, China and Bangladesh are one to six cents a minute depending on the network.

According to media reports, monthly incoming international traffic to Pakistan is around one and a half billion minutes a month, which means overseas Pakistanis will have to pay an extra $120 to $150 million to the PTA for calling their families back home.

During the current economic downturn in Pakistan, when foreign investors are reluctant to invest due to the poor law and order situation, economic activity will further suffer as overseas companies will be discouraged to do business with Pakistan. Overseas Pakistanis will also be discouraged from sending remittances and investing in Pakistan. It should be noted that overseas Pakistanis play a very important role in the country’s economy by remitting billions of dollars every year. The PTA’s decision to penalise them must be taken back with immediate effect.

Irfan Hussain

Published in The Express Tribune, October 3rd, 2012.

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Reader Comments (28)

  • Danish Abbasi
    Oct 3, 2012 - 9:48AM

    I am really disappointed by this change. Why do we have changes imposed without any logic


  • Farhan
    Oct 3, 2012 - 10:36AM

    Skype zindabad! Let’s hope it does not get blocked on suspicion of being used by blasphemers


  • Vijay K
    Oct 3, 2012 - 11:00AM

    I use skype, and it is free.


  • Ahsan
    Oct 3, 2012 - 1:20PM

    The country is running out fo apparent resouces to pay there bills. The election is round the corner as well, overseas Pakistanis are only option to earn money without compromising any vote bank. Anything else will cost something and required some strength and guts to do.


  • Umair Saeed
    Oct 3, 2012 - 1:20PM

    Well, the move is shocking. I agree with you with what you have said about foreign investments, but I do not see how it is going to effect remittances.


  • Abbas Raza
    Oct 3, 2012 - 1:48PM

    I was looking at mega voip rates on their website which i was using regularly to call to pakistan. I have observed that they have raised the call rates all around the world. I dont think it is only for pak.


  • Faisal Khan
    Oct 3, 2012 - 2:18PM

    Its a shame ! I think i should start using Messenger agian.
    Hope that will not effected.


  • asim qaiser
    Oct 3, 2012 - 2:57PM

    Here in Pakistan, we hit by Petrol prices and there you absorb call rates.


  • IceSoul
    Oct 3, 2012 - 5:28PM

    The Pakistani government has this amazing ability to make life harder for its citizens even OUTSIDE the country. Like a boss!


  • Scam
    Oct 3, 2012 - 6:20PM

    A scam proposed and supported by the government.
    Grey traffickers’ ki Eid ho gayee and ofcourse the powers that be.


  • Haider
    Oct 3, 2012 - 6:39PM

    If someone thinks that this will increase the foreign currency reserve then I believe they are mistaken as loads of people like me will request their families to call us rather than we call them .


  • Ali Khan
    Oct 3, 2012 - 8:25PM

    So how about we all overseas Pakistanis, come to one platform, and file a Petition in Supreme Court for this ridiculous price hike? We ALL need to make realize to the Supreme Court, that how important is the contribution that come from overseas Pakistanis and the vital role they play in the country’s economy.


  • Canuckistani
    Oct 3, 2012 - 9:06PM

    Absurd PTA. No wonder no foreign company wants to invest in Pakistan. A few weeks ago when the global competitiveness report was released it was easy to find Pakistan in the bottom bunch. This move will give us the coveted position of being last in the row. Recommend

  • MK
    Oct 3, 2012 - 10:12PM

    @asim qaiser:

    “Here in Pakistan, we hit by Petrol prices and there you absorb call rates.”

    Asim I paid $1.43 per liter this morning in British Columbia Canada. At today’s exchange rate it is PKR 138 per liter.

    Back to the topic, overseas Pakistanis will start using other methods such as Magic Jack or Skype to call Pakistan now. Gov can make more money if they keep prices low which gives us incentive to call more.


  • Imran
    Oct 3, 2012 - 10:32PM

    The aim of current ppp government is to finish all Pakistanis, someone told them many of them live outside Pakistan, so they said ok, we can kill them too and implemented these new rates for them.


  • nasar
    Oct 3, 2012 - 11:01PM

    Jeo BHUTTO!


  • Syed
    Oct 4, 2012 - 12:02AM

    Elections are close and they need to generate money….

    They have already tested the mobile operators by shutting down their services blaming terrorism for this.


  • Adeel
    Oct 4, 2012 - 2:32AM

    First Roti, Kapra, Makaan and now phone …. “Democracy is the best revenge”. I wonder what is next? Breathing tax?


  • RajaShoaib
    Oct 4, 2012 - 4:19AM



  • Nwanko
    Oct 4, 2012 - 12:33PM

    use voipyo, they still offer 5 ct, and skype if your family has skype as well.


  • umair
    Oct 6, 2012 - 2:26PM

    dear guys its our duty to raise our voice for our rights its a cruel dissicion made by our govt but a very disapointing situation that not a single oppsition party took notice…becz it will not give them any political benifit…


  • umair
    Oct 6, 2012 - 2:27PM

    let we all should join hands as we are far away from our country and should raise our issues on a platform…


  • Ali
    Oct 7, 2012 - 12:45AM

    Dear All,
    Everyone living in overseas is fade up due to this increasing taxes on phone calls, and i am one of them, i don’t know why our government is doing all these things instead of the things they should do, why people came here because of less job opportunity in Pakistan, we left our family and our dears only to support our families, and now our government want to makes our life miserable. And everyone know that in overseas how life is already miserable. Please if u people cant give us job in Pakistan u should give us this little bit facilities. Please remove the all taxes we r also Pakistani and we love our country. we want only whatever is our rights so this our rights and we deserve for it…
    Thank you.


  • Suffian
    Oct 20, 2012 - 3:35AM

    This increase in the phone call tarrif is absolutely ridiculous and I don’t know what is our government upto?????????????


  • Ismail Ahmed
    Oct 30, 2012 - 9:14PM

    the current govt of Pakistan increases the rates for us who living abroad and trying to connect to the loved ones. I am not disappoint at all cause I know what this govt is for. just to get money and fill their pockets they don’t have any shame they could sell their kids for money.
    anyway I am not seeing any hope for anything good at the moment InshaAllah they will get the punishment of their wrong doing in this world and in life after.


  • Muhammad A Anwar
    Nov 4, 2012 - 11:21PM

    That tells you that there is no way this government is going to allow overseas Pakistanis to vote in the upcoming elections. They know they can suppress the local Pakistani population but vote of overseas will be against them.


  • Nov 6, 2012 - 12:29AM

    dear friends,

    i am sorry to say that we are born for troubles because we are born in pakistan.

    even now we are outside from pakistan.

    dont think that they will give you a chance to talk your family in pakistan because the dont

    know how they passing there life in other countries.

    dont ask from pakistani goverment ask from the God.

    inshallah God will help us.


  • khan
    Nov 13, 2012 - 6:01PM

    I know 2 russian voip providers , which are still providing cheap rates 2-3 us cents/min.
    1. Comtube. website is in russian and english.
    2., It is yahoo like massenger, and offers cals to phone. pakistan landline and mobile 2 cents/min


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