Landslide engulfs Pakistani bus with workers, killing 8

In this file photo, Pakistani men stand next to the wreckage of a passenger bus after it collided with an oil tanker, in Kohat on August 4, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 15 January 2019

Landslide engulfs Pakistani bus with workers, killing 8

  • Rescuers managed to retrieve all the bodies
  • Rains and snowfall often cause landslides in Pakistan mountainous terrains

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police say a landslide triggered by this week’s rains engulfed a bus carrying workers on a dam project in the northwest, killing eight people.
Regional police chief Raja Abdul Saboor says the incident took place on a hilly road late on Monday. He says rescuers managed to retrieve all the bodies.
The bus was taking workers to their homes from the site of Dasu Dam being built on the Indus River in Kohistan district. Police say there are no survivors but locals fear one or two people are still missing.
Rains and snowfall often cause landslides and flash floods in northern Pakistan where millions live in mountainous areas.
Kohistan is located about 200 kilometers, or 120 miles, north of Mansehra, an impoverished but scenic district in the Pakhtunkhwa province.


Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

Updated 14 November 2019

Pakistan to be part of new Saudi foreign manpower program 

  • New skills-based system to be launched from next month
  • Will include India, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Starting next month, Saudi Arabia will introduce a new skilled foreign manpower program that will eventually include Pakistan, a senior official at the Saudi labor ministry said this week. 

Nayef Al-Omair, head of the vocational examination program at the Ministry of Labor, said on Tuesday in Riyadh that the ministry was categorizing the tasks and the structure of some professions for visa-issuing purposes.

Under the new policy, visas would be issued only after skill tests and the previous system would be gradually phased out. 

The new scheme would be optional for one year starting December 2019 after which it would become compulsory, Al-Omair said. The new program would first be applied to manpower recruited from India due to its large size in the Saudi market.

Eventually, the program will cover seven countries, including India, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Egypt, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Workers belonging to these states constitute 95 percent of professional manpower in the Kingdom’s local market.

Saudi Arabia is home to around 2.6 million Pakistani expats those have been a vital source of foreign remittances.

Last year the country received $21.8 billion in remittances out of which $5 billion were remitted by Pakistani nationals working in Kingdom.

According to the Pakistani ministry of finance, there was a major decline in manpower export to Saudi Arabia where only 100,910 emigrants proceeded for employment in 2018 as compared to 2017, a drop of 42,453 emigrants.

However, Sayed Zulfikar Bukhari, special assistant to the Pakistani prime minister on overseas Pakistanis, said in an interview earlier this month that Saudi Arabia had agreed to increase the share of the Pakistani labor force in the multi-billion dollar New Taif City development.

Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have formed working groups to develop procedures for this transfer of manpower. Pakistani groups will visit the Kingdom in the coming months to finalize arrangements.