AMMAN: Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar Razzaz expressed sorrow over the death of 13 Pakistanis, including eight children, in a fire.
They had been living in agricultural structures in the Jordan Valley, and early reports indicate that the fire was caused by an electrical short.
Jordanian government spokesman Amjad Adaileh told Arab News that Razzaz has established a committee to look into the cause of the fire, and it “will include members of the Civil Defense and Interior Ministry.”
Adaileh tweeted: “Sincere condolences and sympathies to our Pakistani brothers who died as a result of this painful incident … and our prayers for a speedy recovery to the injured.”
Al-Mamlaka TV quoted Iyad Amro, spokesman for the Civil Defense Directorate, as saying the fire took place at 2:08 a.m. and eight children, four women and a man were killed.
Hadeel Abdel Aziz, executive director of the Justice Center for Legal Aid in Jordan, told Arab News: “The government continues to disregard clear evidence about the environment of workers and the need to regulate the labor market, especially in the agricultural sector, and to enhance regulation and protection for laborers in this sector.”
She said: “Ignoring the conditions of work for foreign workers, and treating it as unimportant because they’re non-Jordanian, is counterproductive and does more harm to the country.”
Labor Ministry official Bilal Al-Majali said a special set of bylaws will be introduced soon to deal with the working conditions of agriculture workers.
He added that major amendments to the Labor Law are being worked on.
“The changes will include the work environment and issues of the health and well-being of all workers, including foreign workers,” he told Arab News.
A spokeswoman for the Pakistani Embassy in Amman told Arab News that 15,000 Pakistanis live in Jordan.
She said the embassy has full faith in the investigative committee that Jordan’s government has established, and awaits its results.