Stranded in Saudi Arabia: The notice comes just a little too late

Published: February 15, 2013
Email
The 700 Pakistanis arrived in Saudi Arabia towards the end of 2011 and since then have not been allowed to work or travel outside the Kingdom.

The 700 Pakistanis arrived in Saudi Arabia towards the end of 2011 and since then have not been allowed to work or travel outside the Kingdom.

ISLAMABAD: 

It took a year for the President to notice and when he did it was already too late.

Dost Swalay – one of the 700 Pakistanis stranded in Saudi Arabia for over a year in a visa fraud – died on Sunday after falling from a roof during work.

Parents of the 24-year-old, unaware of what happened to their son, still await Swalay’s return to Swat. The relatives aware of Swalay’s death, on the other hand, cannot gather courage to break the news to the family.

“How can I inform Swalay’s aged parents of his death? I’m not even sure if we’ll be able to bring his body back to Pakistan,” Swalay’s cousin Gul Rehman told The Express Tribune.

He added that the relatives of the deceased were working to get his passport, which is still in custody of the Turkish Company MAAPA, so that they could shift his body back to Swalay’s hometown.

He fears that like Swalay’s visa case his body too will be shifted to a cold storage in Al-Haasa, Riyadh.

Rehman said that some 90% of the people stranded in Saudi Arabia wanted to transfer their visas to other companies. He added that according to the Saudi law the visas issued were valid. It was the company that committed the fraud and the labourers can get their visas transferred to other companies and legally work for them.

However, the rest of the Pakistanis, not so hopeful about other working prospects in the kingdom, just demand a safe exit to Pakistan.

A worker of the same company on condition of anonymity said that he along with many of his friends wanted the company to give them their passports back so that they can transfer their visas to other companies and can have a valid iqama (resident permit).

Meanwhile, the recent notice taken by the President has not gone all in vain.

The same employee informed that after President Zardari took notice of the scam after a story was published on Monday in The Express Tribune, the Pakistani Embassy in Riyadh has seriously looked into the matter. He added that the manager had assured the workers that the issue will be resolved within a month.

The 700 Pakistanis arrived in Saudi Arabia towards the end of 2011 and since then have not been allowed to work or travel outside the Kingdom.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 15th, 2013.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (11)

  • RAW is WAR
    Feb 15, 2013 - 4:15AM

    brotherly Muslim Turkish company.

    Recommend

  • Siddique Malik
    Feb 15, 2013 - 5:16AM

    Arab countries and especially Saudi Arabia get away with crimes againts humnaity. How can they make laws under which an employer can seize an employee’s passport. It’s a clear violation of international law? Shame on Saudi Arabia, shame on the thuggish Turkish company.

    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

    Recommend

  • Shiv
    Feb 15, 2013 - 6:56AM

    And Pakistani actors who work in India are treated so well! And you guys still hate them!!

    Recommend

  • Pappoo
    Feb 15, 2013 - 7:03AM

    @Siddique Malik

    This issue is not gonna be resolved by calling shame shame! the fact is that almost 1 million Pakistanis are earning a decent living in Saudi Arabia despite all this inhuman laws.

    And the other fact is that if Saudi Arabia can get away with these kind crimes against humanity it’s because the same country you living in (USA) calls Saudi Arabia an ally. you should call shame on USA as well :)

    Pakistani government should work closely with Saudi and Turkish Governments to get those people repatriate to Pakistan respectfully and this is the only solution.

    Recommend

  • RAW is WAR
    Feb 15, 2013 - 8:40AM

    And muslims coplain about the injustice they receive in Europe , Canada , Australia and USA. No protest about what happens in Saudi.

    Recommend

  • The Khan
    Feb 15, 2013 - 12:27PM

    how is this saudi fault. Clearly its turkish firm’s fault and also please note the hundreds of indians also caught in this mess

    Recommend

  • Lol
    Feb 15, 2013 - 12:43PM

    @Shiv:
    Why do you have to bring india in this story.. needs attention…

    Recommend

  • Adil Zaman
    Feb 15, 2013 - 2:31PM

    It is in fact not only Saudi Arabia, that Pakistanis are suffering, but in many countries pakistanis are in critical conditions. and about all the time the embassies used to enjoy their luxurious life with out any care for those people. i questioned what is the need of these diplomats if they can not protect the people of their own homeland. It should not be the tradition, that if the president or Chief Justice take notice then only after that the issue will be resolved. I think in Saudi case the Embassy of Pakistan in Saudi Arabia should be questioned that why they did not provide any help to the victims on time. The matter should also be looked that how a Turkish company was able to decieve the 700 people. the scam should exposed in all its respect.
    The matter should also then be generalized not only in Saudi Arabia but in all the countries where the Pakistanis are working but specifically in Middle eastern countries. This exploitation of the pakistanis should be stoped now and must be dealt with not only in those countries but also in Pakistan where the so called agents working illegally and without any kind of permit throught the country, dramitically and with certain ease used to drag large money from People for working visas in Middel eastern countries.

    Recommend

  • Baba Ji
    Feb 15, 2013 - 2:36PM

    Pak Saudi bhai bhai !!!!

    Recommend

  • Siddique Malik
    Feb 15, 2013 - 7:14PM

    @Pappoo:
    So how is the issue going to be resolved? By pretending that Saudis have the right to treat Pakistani workers in an inhuman way? Pakistani people are hard working people, but this does not mean that Saudis have a blank check to treat these proud and hard-working people badly.
    When you say, “And the other fact is that if Saudi Arabia can get away with these kind crimes against humanity it’s because the same country you living in (USA) calls Saudi Arabia an ally. you should call shame on USA as well,” you could not be more wrong. The reason Saudis get away with these crimes against Pakistanis is because Pakistani government is their most obedient servant. Every other day Pakistani leaders are knocking at Saudi doors begging for money, most of which they then put in their personal accounts. Saudis mistreat Pakistani workers because Pakistani government is a coward and you blame America for this? Saudis will never treat an American citizen the way they treat Pakistani citizens. Do you know why? Because friend or not, American government will show Saudis a stick so large that mere the sight of it will fix them permanently.
    In international relations, a lot of countries call each other friends. America and Pakistan call each other friends, too. Many Pakistanis will love to get a Green Card. When you can understand the complexities of international relations, you will be in a position to talk cogently about it. Keep trying.
    Siddique Malik, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

    Recommend

  • Kiss
    Apr 14, 2013 - 4:59PM

    saudia arabia ia great place in the worldRecommend

More in Pakistan