South Asia has a long tradition of its citizens travelling abroad to live in other countries, primarily for education or employment purposes. This trend became particularly pronounced during the latter part of the British Raj in India when workers started settling in England to work in the factories which would then export goods throughout the commonwealth, while those from wealthier families would travel to study in the renowned Universities of England of the time.Mohammed Ali Jinnah was one of those who travelled to London initially to complete a business apprenticeship but soon changed his mind and enrolled at the famous Lincolns Inn to train as a Barrister. After completing a pupillage with a practicing Barrister he returned to India in 1897 and started his legal career. He returned to England in 1930 for another 4 years where he resumed his legal practice and withdrew entirely from his legal and political career in India. Mahatma Gandhi had also completed his legal education in London a few years prior to Jinnah and returned to India in 1891 to establish his legal practice. In 1893 he accepted a case in South Africa, which was also then part of the Commonwealth, and would remain in South Africa for the next 21 years where he developed many of his views on civil rights and politics. It would therefore be fair to say that the founders of both nations were overseas citizens who travelled back to their home countries with the education, skills, training and money that they earned in their respective host countries. It would also be fair to say that the host countries, such as England, have benefitted very much from the influx of immigrants from the other Commonwealth countries. They have worked in the factories and other menial jobs which no English person would have liked to do, they have imparted their foods, music and other traditions to the host countries, and now many second or third generation immigrant families are leading businessmen, traders, cricketers and now politicians. Sadiq Khan is the Mayor of one of the worlds global cities, London, and Sajid Javed is the Home Secretary of England and Wales.As we all know Pakistan is currently in a precarious situation in terms of its finances and its development in a broad range of matters. Remittances are the second biggest source of foreign exchange for the country with nearly $20 billion being received in the last fiscal year. Prime Minister Khan has been advocating the strength of overseas Pakistanis for many years and has recently appealed for all its overseas citizens to donate towards its development, particularly towards the Dam Fund. However, there is a number of reasons why despite having a large pool of talented, capable and affluent overseas Pakistanis, there is a reluctance to return to Pakistan, or send any money over and above the amount that is already being sent to support friends and families. To begin with Pakistan is a very difficult place for one to conduct any type of business transaction, or in many cases, to do something as simple as purchase a property. There is corruption and incompetence at every stage and if someone does manage to navigate his or her way through the quagmire that is the Pakistani legal system (we are still using legal codes left by the British from 1898) he is constantly reminded that he is an overseas citizen and therefore ineligible to partake in any public position.His Lordship Justice Mian Saqib Nisar in particular, seems to be trying wholeheartedly to discourage any overseas Pakistani from ever investing in this country or returning to utilisetheir skills and knowledge to try to improve the future of the nation. He has recently summoned, humiliated and then taken legal action against a number of prominent overseas Pakistanis, some of whom had given up comfortable lives and lucrative careers in their host countries. Recently a video went viral showing His Honour visiting a prominent private hospital in Lahore and humiliating one of its directors, an award winning fashion designer, placing him on the Exit Control List and directing him to change his clothes before appearing at court. There are reports that suggest that the gentleman will be selling all his assets in Pakistan and return to his adopted country. It did not go unnoticed that after the spectacle displayed by the Honourable CJ about working for the welfare of the needy, he drove off in a S Class Mercedes surrounded by a mighty cavalcade. One could argue that the efforts to improve the medical system of this country by the highest authority in our legal system could be better directed to developing a system to allow patients to take medical establishments and practitioners to court for negligence or other substandard care. Negligence was after all judge made law, however our highest judicial officer seems to be pushing the boundaries of his constitutionally mandated position in a much more ad hoc manner. Forcefully seizing price lists and telling patients that the hospital they are admitted in is going to loot them has little impact other than to create an entertaining spectacle.The biggest worry for those overseas is generally the dysfunctional legal system so in the absence of any meaningful overhaul of this, a parallel arbitration system should be set up to deal with grievances of overseas PakistanisThe ease and frequency with which the CJ places overseas Pakistanis on the Exit control list should be worrisome for all. Recently the Commissioner for Overseas Pakistanis for Punjab who is a chartered accountant from London, has also been placed on the ECL by the Honourable CJ and been ordered to pay back his salary. Similarly, a specialist liver transplant doctor from the US whowas heading up the first kidney and liver transplant hospital in Pakistan was also placed on the ECL and questioned about his motivations for returning to the country. In both cases it would be fair to say that these respected professionals had taken a substantial pay cut in order to return to Pakistan and serve their country. The appalling treatment of these overseas Pakistanis will surely discourage others from returning to their homeland in future.There are examples of other countries that have utilised the resources of their overseas citizens to further the lives of all of its citizens. In 1991 India avoided a fiscal default by asking Non-resident Indians to invest in diaspora bonds and have since frequently utilised this resource to boost their foreign reserves. From the early 1990s a concerted effort has been made to utilise their overseas citizens as unofficial ambassadors wherever they may be. They have been encouraged and facilitated to invest in India and build linkages between the home country and the adopted country. There are numerous other examples of countries that have used the resources and talents of their overseas citizens.The Federal Government needs to immediately implement an action plan to target its overseas resources, that much is clear. First and foremost the government needs to make clear the role of overseas Pakistanis. There is currently a constitutional bar from dual nationals being elected as members of Parliament only but it seems that the higher Judiciary is trying to expand this into all spheres of governance, from the bureaucracy to advisors and the judiciary itself. If that is the case then perhaps they should refrain from asking for funds for dams and other investments from these same people.It does seem however that PM Khan does not wish to block off these overseas resources as he rightly believes them to assets and he should therefore make his intentions clear to the nation and to the Judiciary. Some suggestions of things that can be easily implemented are as follows. Funds that are invested from abroad should be easily transferrable without the complications that arise through the banking channels. If a hawala transaction can take less than 24 hours why does the banking system take days and even weeks to do the same. It should also be easier to repatriate this money abroad without jumping through hoops with the State Bank of Pakistan.An online portal needs to be created to allow for easy investment into various projects in the country from wherever one is living. The embassies and consulates in every part of the world should be inviting local residents to events to explain how investments can be made into various infrastructure (such as dams), education and healthcare facilities through this online portal. These investments can be paid at a slightly higher rate than what those overseas citizens are earning in their respective currencies but at a lower rate than what Pakistan would borrow from the international money markets. Pensioners should be targeted with incentives to bring their pension pots with them. The biggest worry for those overseas is generally the dysfunctional legal system so in the absence of any meaningful overhaul of this, a parallel arbitration system should be set up to deal with grievances of overseas Pakistanis.The CJ will be retiring in the near future and it is hoped that he does not cause any lasting damage to the generally rose tinted view of most overseas Pakistanis towards its home country. While the rest of the world is racing towards artificial intelligence, biotechnology, blockchain, we seem to banning or ignoring all these developments and becoming an increasingly close minded society. PM Khan must lead the way in integrating our overseas resources to the maximum benefit of all stakeholders, whether they reside in or outside of the country.The writer is a BarristerPublished in Daily Times, November 4th 2018.