PM directs authorities to aid stranded Pakistani workers


Facilitation centre set up in Riyadh

Staff Reporter

Islamabad—Taking notice of the plight of Pakistanis workers stranded in the Saudi city of Dammam, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif directed on Tuesday the country’s embassy in Riyadh to have the issue resolved on priority basis.
“Pakistani workers from two companies, namely M/s Saad Trading and Contracting Company, Al-Khobar (520 workers) and Saudi Oger Limited (8,000 workers) are currently facing problems in getting their salaries and end of service benefits,” a statement issued by the Foreign Office said on Tuesday.
“The prime minister has directed to make arrangements for payment of pending dues and visa problems to facilitate the affected Pakistanis in case they intended to stay in Dammam or return back home,” sources told media.
Ordeal in Dammam: Stranded Pakistanis bank hopes on FO
“The companies do not refuse the claims of their employees but they have not been able to pay their dues for several months. In the given circumstances, most of the workers want to leave these companies but only after settling their dues,” the communiqué added.
The Foreign Office said the Pakistani ambassador to Saudi Arabia was vigorously perusing the matter with deputy foreign minister, minister of justice and secretary ministry of labour and governor of eastern province as well as the management of the companies concerned.
“The Saudi King has issued a decree for urgent payment of dues to workers by Saudi Oger Company. The company will also facilitate those workers who wish to leave by providing air tickets and renewing their resident permits.”
The foreign minister has also approved an amount of SAR0.1m (equivalent to PKR2.785m) from PCW&E Fund for providing relief to the workers by the embassy.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani embassy in Riyadh has set up ‘Special Facilitation Centre’ to provide welfare to Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia who are suffering from financial problems and distress, a PM House statement said on Tuesday.
“The prime minister has instructed the Pakistan embassy to assist the Pakistani workers in distress and take all possible steps to resolve their grievances at the earliest,” read the statement.
The embassy will also facilitate the Pakistani workforce by compiling claims for their dues and salaries.
The Foreign Office (FO) also apprised the premier that the Pakistani embassy has made arrangements for ensuring food supply, medical assistance and settlement of salaries and outstanding dues of the employees.
The Pakistani workers will be facilitated in the transfer of work permits for those who have decide to leave their company and the embassy will also facilitate workers to return to their homeland, if they opt to do so, added the statement.
The embassy further said that the Saudi king has issued a decree ordering urgent payment of dues to workers by the concerned corporate entities.
The prime minister further directed the FO to ensure provision of all necessary support to Pakistani workers.
‘’We stand by our hardworking workers who are away from their homeland to earn a living for their families. They are our strength and pride. We will help them out in all possible ways’’, said Nawaz.

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