Remittances loss worries Islamabad

Updated 24 April 2013

Remittances loss worries Islamabad

The Pakistan government is concerned about the potential loss of remittances from Saudi Arabia, which has the largest Pakistani expatriate community in the world.
This concern was raised here by Feroze Jamal Shah Kakahel, Pakistani federal minister for human resources development and overseas Pakistanis. He was in Jeddah to perform Umrah hortly after attending an international migration conference in Istanbul, Turkey.
Kakakhel discussed Saudi Arabia’s new labor laws and the grace period granted by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.
President Asif Ali Zardari has lauded the gesture of King Abdullah to allow a three-month period for all expatriate workers to rectify their work status in Saudi Arabia, the minister said.
In an interview with Arab News, Kakakhel said Pakistan respects the Kingdom's labor laws and its Saudization process and Pakistan workers have played an important role in developing the Saudi economy.
He, however, appeared concerned about workers that they would not have enough time to rectify their work status in the country.
Kakahel said he hoped the Saudi government would show further flexibility on this core issue.
Kakakhel said that Saudi Arabia is currently the largest job market for skilled and semi-skilled Pakistani workers. The minister said that remittances of Pakistan expatriates from Saudi Arabia play a crucial role in the Pakistan economy.
He said a possible abrupt return home of large numbers of Pakistani expatriates from Saudi Arabia could pose a challenge for Pakistan.
Kakakhel said that the Pakistan ambassador in Riyadh and consul general in Jeddah had met with high-ranking Saudi officials to expedite procedures for Pakistanis whose visas had expired. He said Pakistan diplomats are also taking up these issues with regional governors in the Kingdom.
Kakakhel said that his ministry was fully prepared for overseas Pakistanis to vote in the May 11 elections, but the final decision has to come from the Supreme Court and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP). He said there has been a delay in delivery of the machine-readable passports in Pakistan, which is the prime grievance of overseas Pakistanis.
“Overseas Pakistanis are the backbone of the country’s economy. They should enjoy the same rights as those back home, including the right to vote.”
Kakakhel said that 6.45 million Pakistanis are working abroad, of whom 96 percent are in the Gulf region. Less than 1 percent of this overseas workforce has been allowed to work in European countries, which he termed as "discrimination."
He said workers from Pakistan and other countries in the region should be allowed to work in Europe based on merit. This would reduce illegal migration, he added.

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

Updated 26 April 2018

Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid

  • Total relief provided by the Kingdom since the war began now stands at about $1billion
  • Latest package announced by Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at conference in Brussels

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The announcement of the latest aid package was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on April 25 at an international conference on the future of Syria and the region, held in the Belgian capital Brussels. He pointed out that the meeting comes after the suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, which killed dozens of civilians, including women and children.

“The world is facing a regime allied with terrorist militias who believe that spreading atrocities and committing crimes will bring victory to it, and that war crimes are bearing fruit,” said Al-Jubeir. “In addition to bombing civilians with explosive barrels, the policies of starvation and siege, ethnic and sectarian cleansing, and the demographic change of Syrian cities and towns, its use of chemical weapons have shocked the entire world.”

He said that the only acceptable solution to the Syrian crisis is a peaceful political resolution, and that Saudi Arabia has been working to achieve this since the crisis began, while also working with others to end the continuing human tragedy in the war-torn country.

The Kingdom has played a role in unifying the ranks of the Syrian opposition and encouraging them to speak with one voice, he added. After the Riyadh 1 Conference in 2015, Saudi Arabia hosted the Riyadh 2 conference for the Syrian opposition in November 2017, which succeeded in unifying the factions and establishing a negotiating body to take part in the rounds of talks held since then, earning praise from the United Nations.

The foreign minister also reiterated his country’s support for the efforts of the UN secretary-general’s envoy, Stephan de Mistura, to resume negotiations between all sides of the conflict.

“The Kingdom hopes that the agreements endorsed by the international resolutions on the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to its beneficiaries will be implemented throughout Syria, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sectarian or political affiliations, and calls for the speedy release of detainees and abductees and clarifying the situation of those absent,” said Al-Jubeir. “It also renews its demand to punish individuals and institutions for war crimes and to prevent their impunity.”

He added that the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting refugees inside and outside of Syria should add to the urgency of finding a political solution and resuming the negotiating process as soon as possible.

Since the war began, the Kingdom has taken in about two and a half million Syrians and treats them like its own citizens, Al-Jubeir said, providing them with free health care, work and education. Saudi universities and schools have more than 140,000 Syrian students. He added that Saudi Arabia is also supporting and helping to care for of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, in coordination with the governments of those countries. The humanitarian assistance provided so far totals about $1 billion.