LAHORE, Dec 7: A ‘labour camp’, in which at least 50 Pakistanis are forced to perform duties under worst working conditions and without any formal agreement, has been unearthed in Saudi Arabia, said an application filed with the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Lahore.
A so-called recruiting agent of Sialkot is running the labour camp, it added. Amriaz Khan, complainer, in his application to the FIA director said that he sent his nephew, Nawazish Ali Khan, to Saudi Arabia for a job of computerised numerical calculation (CNC) operator cum programmer against the salary of 1,300 Saudi riyals per month. Owner of Fahad Munir Enterprises received Rs 170,000 for the abovementioned purpose and sent Nawazish to KSA on November 24, 2015. When Nawazish reached Riyadh, an Indian received him from the airport and compelled him to do hard labour rather than the prescribed job. Nawazish told his uncle in a telephonic call that he, along with more than a dozen colleagues, were asked to do labour with no other option. “All my colleagues were sent from Pakistan against technical trades like CNC operators, welders, auto engineers but none of them was given the prescribed job, rather they were asked to do hard and dangerous labour,” Nawazish added.
He said that the work involves operating steel cutter machines, which are dangerous and can cause chronic asthma. He further revealed in his telephonic conversation that the workers sent by Fahad Munir Enterprises, which were more than 40, were not paid salaries for the last three months.
Although Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar few days ago termed human smuggling as the second largest reason behind Pakistan’s bad image abroad after terrorism, the FIA was reluctant to take action against the accused owner of Fahad Munir Enterprises Sialkot.
Another victim of the enterprises, Ghulam Fareed, told the scribe that his son, Imran, was sent by the same agent for the job of auto engineer but was asked to do labour instead. “I paid about Rs 2.5 lac for the job but my son was not facilitated as per the agreement,” he lamented. “I live in Karachi and being only bread winner of my family, can not visit Lahore or Sialkot to complain any concerned department to take action against the said human smuggler.”
Another victim, Asif, resident of Narowal, said he sent his brother Farasat as a welder but he was assigned the job of sanitation. Asif said that he paid Rs 2.10 lac to the abovementioned agent and would file a complaint with FIA to take action against the enterprises and get its overseas license cancelled.
Directing FIA to prepare a strategy against human smugglers in 48 hours, Ch Nisar summoned a meeting couple of weeks back. However, FIA Lahore was unmoved on the said issue despite passage of 18 days of the application. Not even a single summon was issued to the accused to appear and explain its position.
Pakistan Overseas Employment Promoters Association (POEPA) Vice Chairman Mirza Amjad Baig said, “Such type of recruitments can never be supported in which one signs an agreement for technical job but he/she is assigned to do labour instead.”
Published by Daily Times on Dec 7, 2015