Islamabad, September 09, 2016 (PPI-OT):The Government of Pakistan is fully aware of the problems being faced by Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia and has taken all possible measures to address them. On the directions of the Prime Minister of Pakistan, a high level delegation led by Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Pir Syed Sadaruddin Shah Rashidi visited Saudi Arabia in order to gain firsthand knowledge of the issue and to help the Pakistani workers.
During the visit, the issues affecting the Pakistani labour community were taken up with the concerned Saudi authorities at the highest level. The Saudi Labour Minister assured the delegation that the Pakistani workers are being treated as citizens of Saudi Arabia and are being given all support. Their Iqamas have been revalidated without fee and free medicine and food have been restored to them. The Saudi Minister informed that some of the private construction companies have not been able to pay the salaries to the labour due to financial constraints.
The affected labour community belongs to Pakistan and other countries including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Syria, Yemen and Philippines. He said that the compensation and return benefits are being enforced through courts and the courts have been duly informed to expedite the disposal of such cases. However, the Saudi government cannot interfere in the matters which are subjudice. He assured the delegation that all outstanding salaries and dues will be cleared by the companies in the shortest possible time and each and every penny of the workers will be secured and returned to them.
The Federal Minister was informed by Pakistani Ambassador to Saudi Arabia that he has been in touch with relevant Saudi authorities since February 2016 to provide due support to the affected workers. The embassy and its various consulates were in contact with all the labour camps on day to day basis to assist them. The Community Welfare Attaches and other Consular staff is in constant touch with the affected workers and Saudi authorities for providing all due support wherever required. Moreover, OPF has established a 24/7 help desk providing necessary support to the affected workers and their relatives in Pakistan.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Prime Minister of Pakistan had taken immediate action by directing the Pakistan Bait ul Mal to pay Rs. 50000/= to the family of each affected Pakistani worker in Saudi Arabia. All the affected families have been paid the amount. The rest of the cases are being confirmed by the Pakistani diplomatic Mission in Saudi Arabia before the amount is released by Pakistan Bait ul Mal.
The relatives of the workers who have not been compensated by the Bat ul Mal may contact the Pakistani Mission in Saudi Arabia for addition of the names in the affectless list. It is highlighted that Pakistan is the only country which has provided direct financial assistance to the affected families to provide them some relief.
The present government attaches high importance to Pakistani emigrants and maximum efforts are being made to overcome their sufferings and problems. At present 2.6 million Pakistanis are residing in Saudi Arabia out of which 2.2 million are workers. The total number of affected workers is around 9,136. Only two major Saudi companies have not been able to pay the salaries to their workers due to financial constraints.
The current labour crisis in Saudi Arabia has affected the workers belonging to various countries but the Saudi government is taking all necessary measures to provide them all possible support including arranging substitute jobs in other companies and expediting their claims in case the workers opt to return home. Most of the Pakistani workers have been working in these Saudi companies since decades. A vast majority of them have declined to come back to Pakistan as they would like to continue their jobs in Saudi Arabia.
For more information, contact:
Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF)
Shahrah-e-Jamhooriat, Sector G-5/2,
Post Box No. 1470, Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-9203267, 9048320
Fax: +92-51-9224335, 9211613