Role of Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia

Role of Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia
In this screen grab from a video published on YouTube, Pakistani national Farman Ali Khan is shown rescuing a man stranded on an electric pole at an underpass during the 2009 flood in Jeddah. Khan saved 14 lives but lost his own while trying to save the 15th person.
Updated 23 March 2017

Role of Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia

Role of Pakistani expatriates in Saudi Arabia

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia enjoy warm and friendly relations. The two countries have developed strong ties in various fields. Pakistan has an embassy in Riyadh and a consulate general in Jeddah. The embassy was initially established in Jeddah but later moved to Riyadh and started functioning in a rented building. The new chancery building in Riyadh was inaugurated on Nov. 5, 1992.
Saudi Arabia hosts around 2.6 million expatriate Pakistanis, who act as a strong bridge of friendship between the two countries. This community is making valuable contributions to the economic development of Saudi Arabia. These Pakistanis also help in the economic progress of Pakistan. They sent $5.6 billion worth of remittances to Pakistan during the year 2014-2015. It constitutes 30 percent of total remittances to Pakistan from across the globe. A large number of professionals, including doctors, engineers and auditors from Pakistan have earned a good reputation for their professionalism and hard work in the Kingdom.
Expatriate Pakistanis reside all across Saudi Arabia. To provide them with consular services at their doorsteps, the embassy and consulate general dispatch consular teams on weekends to various cities and far-flung areas. The places they frequently visit are Damman, Alkhobar, Dhahran, Hafr Al-Batin, Wadi Dawasser, Arar, Tabuk, Sakaka, Al-Quryat, Al-Qaseem, Hafuf, Jubail, etc. They provide consular services such as issuance of passports, attestation of documents, granting of visas and issuing of national identity cards.
Over 1,500 people visit the consular section in Riyadh daily and a similar number in Jeddah for various consular services such as machine-readable passports (MRPs), manual passports, attestation of documents, issuance of visas for Pakistan and processing of computerized national identity cards. Recently the embassy has expanded the MRP set-up and doubled its processing capacity to 1,200 applications for MRPs per day. The consulate general had earlier expanded its facility and is issuing a similar number of MRPs. This is a great relief to passport-seekers who come from far-flung areas.
On the community welfare side, the embassy ensures to have regular interaction with the local authorities for extending various services to the community including measures to settle matters between Pakistan’s workers and their sponsors, assist in pursuing cases in courts, and coordination with authorities to ensure they are paid their dues. At the embassy, a facilitation center has been established to cater to the needs of those who have any issue related to the labor court or repatriation of dead bodies etc. This center proved to be very useful during the recent labor crisis.
In addition to that, a weekly open house is held at the embassy where community members can interact with the ambassador and apprise him of their complaints or problems. The envoy then takes necessary measures to address those issues.
The Pakistani community in Saudi Arabia has not only contributed to the economic development of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan but has also earned a name in their host society. In this regard, Shaukat Amin, Farman Ali Khan and recently Muhammad Yehya Mansoor will be remembered in golden words. In April 2016, Amin was honored by then-Crown Prince Muhammad bin Naif for saving a Saudi citizen from drowning in a flood in Asir.
In the November 2009 Jeddah floods, Khan, a Pakistani national from Swat rescued 14 lives but lost his own while trying to save the 15th person.
In March 2017, Mansoor rescued a Saudi family when their car caught fire following a crash. He rushed to help the family and save those who were inside the car. In recognition of his heroic act, Prince Saud bin Naif praised his courage and honored him.