Any ray of hope for Pakistan seems quickly clouded by its dire financial straits. Not handled wisely the State Bank of Pakistan’s minuscule reserve of $9billion can pose as an existential threat for Pakistan. In May of 2018 the State Bank of Pakistan’s external debt was $91.8 billion, a whopping 50 percent increase over the last four years. Servicing this debt keeps us in the rewind and repeat cycle. An urgent and multi-pronged approach will be needed to yank Pakistan out of this quagmire. In his somber and states-man-like speech after the July 25 elections, Imran Khan called overseas Pakistanis “our biggest asset”. Harnessing the financial power of the overseas Pakistanis might be a very effective part of the urgently needed multifaceted strategy to heal Pakistan’s financial crisis. There is something mysterious and magical about loving Pakistan. My American born children don’t understand it. You’ve got to feel it to know that there is a lot you would do for Pakistan. Many expatriate Pakistanis, like me, are deeply grateful to Pakistan for making us into all that we are today. I can never completely repay Pakistan, Civil Hospital Karachi and Dow Medical College for making me a physician, essentially for free. In its time of desperate need, Pakistan should capitalize on this love-guilt-debt emotion that numerous expatriate Pakistanis feel. I came to the United States for my residency training with plans to return on its completion. When the time came to return, there was a spate of killing Shia doctors in Pakistan. My former husband is Shia and we thought it wise to not endanger our family. Till today I remember how I wilted inside and, out, dropped roots that ensured returning would be a pipe dream. There are 7.6 million Pakistanis who live abroad. In 2017 they sent remittances to Pakistan totaling $20 billion According to the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, there are 7.6 million Pakistanis who live abroad. In 2017 they sent remittances to Pakistan totaling $20 billion. Political commentators RaufKlasra and Amir Mateen have come up with a brilliant idea that can act as a band-aid for Pakistan, at least for the present. Each overseas Pakistani is urged to transfer $1000 to their families’ or their own accounts in Pakistan, with instructions to not draw it for at least one month. If we were to take one third of the 7.6 million and persuade them to send $1000, it amounts to over $2 billion. This could go toward debt servicing, so the chasing-our-tail phenomenon with regard to the external debt stops. In addition to the average expatriate Pakistani, there are the billionaires. Like Pakistani-American Shahid Khan who owns the Jacksonville Jaguars an American professional football team, as well as the Fulham Club a British football team and an automotive company. His net worth is $8.5 billion. British-Pakistani Anwer Pervez is the owner of Bestway and United Bank and has a net worth of $3.8billion. Pakistani-American Ashar Aziz is owner of FireEye, a cyber-security company, and has a net worth of $1billion among many other very wealthy overseas Pakistanis. Asad Umer, the future finance minister of Pakistan, has not ruled out any measures to deal with Pakistan’s debt, including reaching out to the IMF. Perhaps reaching out to overseas Pakistani billionaires and multimillionaires to help reduce Pakistan’s debt, or lend money at no interest, is doable. The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis ought to create two departments; one called ‘Donation for Debt Reduction’ and another called ‘Loans for Business Development’. Legal frameworks should be created quickly to protect the overseas donor and lender. If overseas Pakistanis are assured that their donations or their loans will be assiduously protected and channeled appropriately, we just might have an ongoing stream of money that will bolster Pakistan quickly and effectively. The loans for business development should be based on the micro-financing concept of Nobel Prize winner Muhammad Yunus. Low interest or interest-free loans to families for starting businesses will reduce unemployment, and raise people out of the abject poverty, that Imran Khan speaks of repeatedly. “There’s a tide in the affairs of men, which when taken at its flood leads onto fortune” said Shakespeare. There is a naya Pakistan fervor in Pakistan and among expatriate Pakistanis as well; we should pivot quickly to capitalize on this. That magical love for Pakistan is at its peak, full of hope and yearning. It is little that we overseas Pakistanis want in return; the right to vote in Pakistan’s elections through our nearest embassy’s and consulates, eliminating red tape and political competitiveness. More than usurping jobs, expatriates just want to help our home country, for example opening technologically advanced addiction centers to combat Pakistan’s drug epidemic. Finger pointing is now pretty pointless. We can all take the responsibility to redress the havoc wrecked by previous faulty systems of governance. Instead of international banks or the Chinese always bailing out Pakistan, the average, wealthy or super-wealthy overseas Pakistani could really help. Our guilt will be assuaged and our hopes realized. Dr. Mahjabeen Islam is an expatriate Pakistani who lives in Ohio USA. She specialises in addiction treatment and family medicine. firstname.lastname@example.org Published in Daily Times, August 11th 2018.