Remittances of overseas Pakistanis are a key source of revenue for the national economy. Remittances sent from overseas Pakistanis provide stability to the country’s foreign exchange reserves and help attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). Currently, there are nine million overseas Pakistanis in different countries that have sent record-high remittances in July 2022, with an estimated amount of $31 billion (Dawn,2022). The Pakistani diaspora is considered a valuable asset of the country as they not only contribute to the country’s economy by sending remittances but also invest in different sectors, including real estate, startups, workshops, and the construction industry. Despite so much importance, the Pakistani diaspora faces various issues related to their property and investment, which needs to be addressed by the government.
This article by the Iqbal Institute of Policy Studies (IIPS) will discuss the need for automated power of Attorney and how it facilitates the Pakistanis Diaspora.
Need for Digital Power of Attorney
The United Nations estimates that the Pakistani diaspora community is the 7th largest in the world. Remittances sent from overseas Pakistanis have provided more cash inflow than any other official assistance package. It reached an all-time quarterly high during the pandemic between July and September 2020. Despite so much economic contribution, expatriates face various challenges, like difficulty in property verification or getting power of attorney, etc. For instance, in the case of overseas Pakistanis, a special power of attorney is required for the transfer of property in Islamabad, which further delays the process. The availability of this special power of attorney depends on the laws of the country of residence. In many cases, investors fall for quick and easy ways to inject their capital into the real estate economy resulting in capital traps. Considering the significant role of the Pakistani diaspora and the issues they tackle, the government and the concerned authorities need to make several efforts to facilitate them.
Power of Attorney
A power of attorney or letter of attorney is a written authorisation that is given to a designated person called the agent or attorney to act on behalf of another person, known as principal or grantor, in private, financial or any other matters.
Automated Power of Attorney
To overcome the challenges of the Pakistani Diaspora, the government has taken several initiatives. One of the key initiatives taken by the government includes the automation of power of attorney for overseas Pakistanis, aiming to facilitate 75,000 individuals annually. The introduced service benefits those travelling long distances from different cities and far-off places to Pakistani missions. According to the Pakistani foreign office, this automated system reduces costs and minimises hassle. The service was initially launched in ten Pakistani missions, including the United States and the United Kingdom, which will soon be replicated at all Pakistani missions abroad.
How to Get Power of Attorney?
For automated power of attorney, some prerequisites and procedures need to be followed.
Eligibility and Pre-Requisites
Before submitting an online Power of Attorney (PoA) application, the applicant must meet the required criteria, like having details of the attorney and witnesses and valid documents, including CNIC / NICOP / POC and any other relevant documents such as an Affidavit.
In the case of a foreigner, the applicant must physically visit the Pakistan Mission Abroad after having their documents attested by their country’s State Department/Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The procedure for online attestation of Power of Attorney will be as follows:
The user or executor shall visit the online portal and sign up in order to be facilitated by online services to apply for the attestation and administration of any oath.
Once logged in, the details of the executor, attorney, witnesses, and all relevant documents are required to be uploaded.
Upon successfully verifying the details by NADRA and successful fee payment of $36/, Pakistan Mission Abroad will conduct an online interview.
After the successful conduct of the process, Pakistan Mission Abroad will issue a receipt
The executor can then print the receipt and physically dispatch the instrument and receipt both to the relevant agent or nominee, as the case may be
The Pakistani diaspora is an asset. In order to maintain economic stability and foster social progress, it is imperative to integrate the ex-pat community into our society to every extent possible. In this regard, digitising power of attorney is considered a revolutionary step to benefit the expatriates. With this digital service, there will be no need to go to the embassy for attestation of power of Attorney. Technology helps simplify procedures, and the government is taking all possible measures to facilitate overseas Pakistanis through digitisation.