THIS refers to the letter ‘Incentive for expats’ (Sept 17) in which the writer has lamented medical insurance cards are not given to overseas Pakistanis among other things and that their home remittances are subject to withholding tax, etc.
I want to highlight another issue which Pakistanis living in Germany face. It concerns the validity of German medical insurance of Pakistanis and persons of Pakistani origin when they are in Pakistan for short or longer periods.
Every person working in Germany, or even the retired persons are medically insured by big medical insurance companies like DAK, AOK, etc., and the premium is automatically deducted from their salaries and pensions.
People of several other countries working in Germany have their medical insurance valid when they visit their home countries. If they fall ill or they are in hospitals of their countries, expenses are paid as per regulations of the German medical insurance company. This is not the case with Pakistanis.
The reason given by German medical insurance companies in case of Pakistan is that there is no social contract (sozial vertrag) between Pakistan and Germany. Making a ‘sozial vertrag’ will enable Pakistanis to get their medical costs from their respective German medical insurance companies as per their regulations in case of sickness while they are in Pakistan.
Our government does not need to give any Sehat Sahulat cards or medical insurance cards. Making a social contract with the German government will not cost any sum to the state.
I have pointed out about this subject already in 2018 to the Pakistan embassy and the then Pakistan ambassador in Berlin in Germany as well as to the current Pakistan ambassador in Berlin.
To my knowledge, the subject was referred to the European department of the foreign office in Islamabad a long ago. Apparently, there is still no reply.
I had written about this subject also to the ministry of overseas Pakistanis which replied that this was an important subject and should be followed by the Pakistan embassy in Berlin and the foreign office in Islamabad.
Dr Syed Laik Ali
Bad Vilbel, Germany
Published in Dawn, September 24th, 2020