ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile Industry has asked the government to revive the abolished scheme of the Pakistan Origin Card (POC) for Pakistani expatriates to attract foreign investment in the country.
Under the POC scheme the Pakistani expatriates, who had left Pakistan at the time of independence and their spouses, were allowed to travel to Pakistan visa free for seven years. However, the scheme had been discarded by the government.
A report compiled by the sub-committee of the standing committee has recommended the government that POC was a rational scheme which allowed the overseas investors to visit Pakistan visa free.
The report on formulation of the investment policy for Pakistanis, who had left the country immediately after the partition, is yet to be presented before the Senate and is available with Customs Today.
In the report, the sub-committee had unanimously asked the government that investors should be facilitated after being persuaded to invest in Pakistan.
Furthermore, Pashtun and Baloch working in different countries have also been able to accumulate considerable amount of capital over the decades and surely this accumulated fund could be repatriated to Pakistan.
The report stated that presently Pakistan was receiving a handsome amount in the name of foreign remittances, yet it could be further increased and utilised.
It is pertinent to note here that as per information available with National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA), POC is comprehensive identification document as it brings special status to the foreigners of the Pakistani origin with some attractive incentives and benefits.
Moreover, a POC holder may enjoy visa free entry to Pakistan, indefinite stay in Pakistan (till the expiry of the card), permission to use POC in place of CNIC, right to open and operate bank accounts in Pakistan, and permission to purchase /sell property anywhere in Pakistan.