Senate body directs Ministry to resolve issue of stranded Pakistanis

Expressing dismay over delay in resolving the issue of stranded Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia, a parliamentary panel on Thursday directed the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development to resolve the issue of stranded Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia.

The Standing Committee of Senate on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development that met here with Senator Baz Muhammad Khan in the chair, said that issue of stranded Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia was getting complicated day by day which is not acceptable.

Senator Muhamad directed the Minister for Overseas Pakistanis to give a detailed briefing to the committee, adding that the issue should be settled once for all.

A representative of the stranded Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia told the panel that performance of the Pakistani Embassy in Saudi Arabia was appalling, adding it provides food to 150 persons just for 332 Saudi riyals.

“This is very disappointing as visas of the Pakistanis working for the Saudi company have expired, and all their passports are in the possession of their Saudi kafeel or sponsors due to which they could not come to Pakistan.

The secretary for Overseas Pakistanis Azmat Khan said that not only Pakistanis but also people from other countries had also stranded there for similar reasons, adding the minister for Overseas Pakistanis will visit Saudi Arabia especially for this purpose.

He said that due to financial problems of three major Saudi companies, about ten-thousand Pakistanis have been stranded, for which the minister will visit Saudi Arabia next week and he will also visit the camps of the Pakistanis to take stock of the situation.

He said that Pakistan embassy has given 300 riyal each to the stranded Pakistanis, while the government has announced Rs 50,000 for their families here in Pakistan, adding Saudi King has also announced 100 million riyal for them.

Senator Rehman Malik, a member of the committee, said that Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) should hold a probe into the matter why labourers were sent abroad without proper verification of the company, adding the committee chairman should also be allowed to visit Saudi Arabia along with committee members.

Barrister Muhammad Ali Saif said that voice should be raised against Saudi companies through ILO and other human rights organisations for harassing the labourers.

He also expressed dissatisfaction over the briefing given by the ministry on the issue of the stranded Pakistanis. -Business Recorder