Al­low us to cel­e­brate Eid with kids

Pakistan Observer - - OPINION - AYE­SHA BINT NIAZ MORIO

The east­ern prov­ince of Saudi Ara­bia is not only an at­trac­tion for for­eign tourists but it is the heart of King­dom’s oil in­dus­try where over­seas work­ers pop­u­late the sec­tor. A vast ma­jor­ity of Pak­ista­nis, In­di­ans and Sri Lankans as well as Saudi shias live there. It is be­cause of this di­verse mix, the Pro­vin­cial govern­ment launched a pro­gramme “Ehna al Ahl” - we are one fam­ily. It is meant to en­hance the co­he­sion, un­der­stand­ing and de­nounce di­vi­sion and ex­trem­ism. Un­for­tu­nately Pak­istan is not a part of this one fam­ily. There are many Pak­ista­nis who have been try­ing to ob­tain an exit per­mit, which would al­low them to visit their coun­try. Sev­eral months ago, Saudi govern­ment is­sued a di­rec­tive that Pak­ista­nis would be al­lowed to visit Pak­istan once in a year. How­ever, the govern­ment with­drew it and said that Pak­istani work­ers can visit their coun­try mul­ti­ple times as was the prac­tice in pre­vi­ous years. Yet sys­tem of get­ting exit per­mit is com­pli­cated and cum­ber­some.

Only way through which they can get per­mit is com­put­er­ized sys­tem, “Muqeeb” when Pak­istani work­ers tried to ob­tain their exit per­mit, they get error mes­sage and were asked to visit pass­port of­fice of Jubail, where once again, they were told that they can not go to Pak­istan mul­ti­ple times in a year. Pak­istani Em­bassy in Riyadh is­sued a state­ment that they know work­ers’ con­cerns about exit per­mit, they are con­stantly in con­tact with con­cerned au­thor­i­ties and very soon mat­ter would be sorted out.

Now it has been months that it is not re­solved and many Pak­ista­nis are fet­tered in the East­ern prov­ince of Saudi Ara­bia. It is Ra­mazan and Pak­istani work­ers would like to cel­e­brate Eid with their fam­i­lies. The Pak govern­ment is re­quested to kindly take up the is­sue with Saudi au­thor­i­ties and make it easy for work­ers to ob­tain en­try/exit per­mit so that they could come to Pak­istan and cel­e­brate Eid with their fam­i­lies. —Larkana, Sindh

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