The Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis on August 11 was afraid and disagreed with a legal expert's view that Pakistan could ask the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to intervene in the matter of about two million Pakistanis who were being expelled from Saudi Arabia.
"Pakistan is not in a position to file a case against Saudi Arabia or write to the ILO because Saudi Arabia can expel them with a single order," expressing fear by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis Secretary Khizar Hayat Khan.
Speaking at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis, chaired by Senator Baz Mohammad Khan, the secretary said the matter of Pakistanis stranded in camps and not paid by their employers had been taken up with the Saudi government.
Earlier, Secretary Ministry of Foreign Affairs Tasawar Khan said 10,395 Pakistanis were moved to 20 camps of three companies that were facing financial problems. He the ministry had started receiving complaints in February about Pakistanis not being paid their salaries and that the matter was taken up with the Saudi government. The employers were then paid a month's salary, but the situation worsened in July.
He said the Pakistani embassy in Saudi Arabia was providing food to the stranded Pakistanis or paying them 200 Saudi riyals each. He said the prime minister had allocated a fund of Rs500 million for the stranded people and that their families in Pakistan were being paid Rs50,000. "The Saudi king has also taken notice of the matter and allocated 100 million riyals for addressing the issue," Mr Tasawar added.
However, Senator Barrister Mohammad Ali Saif, who was specially invited to the meeting to give his legal opinion, said the workers were sent under an agreement between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and that international labour laws apply in this case.
"The issue has been going on for nine months and the government took no interest in it. The government can write to the ILO and ask it to play its role in addressing the matter," he said. "We never hear similar complaints from...