Committee calls for concerted efforts to resolve Saudi’ overseas workers issue

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ISLAMABAD, Aug 11(APP): Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OP&HRD) on Thursday directed the concerned officials to initiate intensive efforts to resolve the issues being faced by the Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia at political, administrative and diplomatic level.
The committee, met under the chairmanship of Senator Baz Muhammad Khan, was informed by Secretary Ministry of OP&HRD, Khizer Hayat Khan that Minister for OP&HRD, Pir Sadruddin Rashidi will leave for Saudi Arabia on Monday along with Managing Director OPF for meeting with the Saudi officials to resolve the issue.
The minister in his five-day visit will hold meetings with the relevant Saudi Ministers, Governor and other high officials for resolving the issue of the Pakistani workers.
Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs said a total of 10395 affected workers are residing in 20 camps in Riyadh, Jeddah, Taif and other places and are facing issues regarding salaries, food, end of service benefits, residency permits and transfer of their work permits.
The government has paid Rs.50,000 cash amount to around 5,000 families each as per the available data through Pakistani Embassy in Saudi Arabia. The rest of the families will be paid the amount as soon as the data is received.
The affected people are being provided with food and medicine in their camps by the Pakistani Embassy there.
Senators Barrister Saif and Rehman Malik said that merely discussions on this issue and giving cash amounts to the affected workers and their families will be useless. “We have to sort out a permanent solution to this issue”.
They said that workers in Saudi Arabia send valuable remittances to the country and now they are deprived of their jobs, residence, medical facilities and other necessities from the last many months and no solid efforts were carried out to redress their problems.
The committee also discussed the issues of lengthy procedure of sending dead bodies of Overseas Pakistanis to the home country, problems faced by the workers in sending their remittances and discriminatory attitude toward the Pakistani prisoners in Saudi jails.
The committee recommended that the Minister OP&HRD after his visit to Saudi Arabia will brief the committee about his meetings with the Saudi officials regarding the issue.
The committee suggested that the Community Welfare Attaches (CWAs) in Saudi Arabia will have to play his active role for addressing the plight of the workers.
The committee also recommended calling the convention of overseas Pakistanis till coming April without any delay to give an opportunity to these workers to share their problems.
The Senators including Hafiz Hamdullah, Lt Gen R Abdul Qayyum, Nighat Mirza, Najma Hameed and others attended the meeting.