Number of Pakistani expats exceeds 1.5 m

Updated 29 August 2012

Number of Pakistani expats exceeds 1.5 m

RIYADH: The number of Pakistani expats in Saudi Arabia is consistently increasing and currently exceeds 1.5 million.
Pakistani Ambassador Mohammed Naeem Khan said yesterday that the Pakistanis were “committed and conscientious workers” because of their proximity to the Kingdom and its people, especially in terms of religion and age-old ties.
Ambassador Khan was commenting on a report of the Bureau of Emigration & Overseas Employment (BEOE), a regulatory body of the Pakistan government, which controls workers’ employment and the emigration process.
According to the report, Saudi Arabia has become the largest market for Pakistani workers in the world. “Saudi Arabia being an Islamic state has been an attractive place to work in for millions of Pakistani job seekers aiming for employment abroad,” said the report.
The report said that Islamabad attracts huge foreign exchange with continuous growth in the number of workers traveling to Gulf states.
The report said that the total number of Pakistani workers deployed in the Kingdom has doubled during the last seven or eight years.
“Presently, Pakistan is exporting skilled, semiskilled and unskilled workers to Saudi Arabia,” said the report, adding that the number of visa issued by the Saudi Embassy and Consulate has risen to 25,000 every month.
A large number of Pakistani are traveling for jobs, while many of them arrive in the Kingdom for Umrah and business. The Pakistani population of 1.5 million is the highest overseas population of the country.
The UK, US and UAE are other countries with a significant Pakistani population, which varies from 1.2 million to 1 million. The remittances of Pakistani workers from the Kingdom have increased significantly to about $3 billion annually.
Asked about the Kingdom’s plan to recruit more doctors, engineers, paramedical staff and technicians from Pakistan, the ambassador said that “the plan was being implemented and the process is on.”
He pointed out that a large number of skilled workers are coming to Saudi Arabia. Also, the middle category workers arriving in the Kingdom include professionals in the fields of medicine, health care, nursing, management, engineering, sales and courier services, he added.
He said Pakistani workers were more committed than any other expatriate groups because they consider the Kingdom as their second home. “They get an opportunity to visit the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah, a lifetime dream of millions of Muslims,” said the envoy.
The diplomat said that the Kingdom had been hiring doctors, engineers, teachers, bankers, IT and telecom experts and accountants from Pakistan in large numbers. These professionals are fortunate to have handsome salaries along with fringe benefits, accommodation and holidays. Usually hiring companies afford all of their expenses including visa fees, airfare and expenditure of annual or bi-annual visits to homeland.
The salaries of Pakistani professionals vary from SR 5,000 to SR 20,000 easily, which increases with the passage of time, experience and opportunities.
“There is a constant demand of laborers and technical staff in different ongoing projects in Saudi Arabia, which is witnessing heavy construction activities,” said Khan, adding that Pakistani workers have contributed to each and every project in the Kingdom.
Asked about the plans to recruit female workers from Pakistan, he said there was no such move for the time being. “But, there are a number of Pakistani female doctors currently working here,” said the envoy.
Makkah and Madinah have created opportunities for millions of workers in Pakistan and other developing countries to complete their large projects by 2016. Normally, Muslim workers are preferred in these two cities.


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 15 September 2019

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

BAGHDAD: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war.
But the Wall Street Journal has reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.