By Ayaz Fakir
April 17, 2015
The Saudi government passed a law approximately eight years ago, in June 2006, forbidding the issuance of an Umrah visa to any Pakistani male under the age of 40. This law discriminates against Pakistanis as it is specific only to Pakistanis. I wrote a piece on this at that time as well. I stated that the twin tower bombers were Saudi, Osama bin Laden was Saudi, Wahhabis were Saudi and al Qaeda was Saudi.
A week after this article appeared I was invited by a friend in Islamabad to dinner and the only other guest was none other than the then Saudi ambassador to Islamabad, who launched a furious tirade at me the minute he walked in, threatening to sue me for whatever I was worth. After he had calmed down, I asked him which of my accusations was a lie. He replied that my comments were true but that the Saudis were facing severe problems with our overstaying (illegal) Pakistanis. To this I told him to please send them back. “Oh we cannot do that,” he said. I then said, “You have a very good intelligence service and know where each illegal is located. Send them back.” It was then obvious that the Saudis were protecting their Saudi contractors, who were too powerful to ignore, with many princes amongst them.
This is but a short introduction to the ongoing tragic conditions of our overseas labour and the inaction of our government to cope or to offer any protection to them. On the contrary, government officers are all part of the picking off pieces from the fruits of this labour, earned in subhuman conditions. Our Prime Minister (PM) lived in luxury while in exile in Saudi Arabia but never once did he enquire of the conditions of his fellow Pakistanis. Our leadership considers itself a race apart from the rest of us and not bound by the rules that apply to us.
It has come as a delight to working class Pakistanis that the Arabs are now appealing to Pakistanis for help to defend the holy shrines against an invasion from the Yemenis who are also Muslims, also downtrodden. The government should carefully examine the factors involved and should not allow the debt of gratitude owed by the Sharif family to influence their decision, which has many countries involved. The pressure bearing down on Nawaz Sharif must be resisted and the combatants should be brought to negotiations (dragged) if need be. We may be a nuclear power but it is time we asserted our position, away form our usual begging pose.
The Saudis and Emiratis must realise the damage they have done to Pakistan in their funding of jihad on our soil. Suicide bombers are another gift to us from the Saudi largesse. How is it that not one suicide bombing has taken place in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait or any other place in the region? The damage to Pakistan has been immense, not the least being the support extended to the upkeep of our corrupt leadership that has damaged Pakistan more than any foreign invader could. The Sharifs and Zardaris combined have destroyed this country, encouraging corruption to be rooted deeper into the system, carefully abetted and aided by the Arabs.
The insulting remarks by the Emirati foreign minister of state should be taken seriously and examined in the light of the effect on the plastic island that is Dubai. If even one suicide bomber were to make his way back into the Emirates, the resultant exodus would make the glamorous new glass skyscraper look like a horror movie. The inhabitants value serenity and peace above all. This can easily evaporate. We have suffered at the hands of terrorism and well know the disastrous effects of terrorism on a nation. The Emiratis should heed the saying about people who live in beautiful glasshouses having to look out for stones.
Coming back to our leadership, it is disgraceful that it has not cared for our overseas workers, happily partaking of the benefits passed on to us, without any appreciation of their contribution to our country. The many problems being faced by our workers have never been addressed. Nor will they be unless there is a radical change in the thinking of our leaders, or a change of the leadership itself.
The threat to Pakistani investments is welcome because it is illegal money anyway and should be seized and sent back to our country. All that money is earnings from corruption and belongs rightfully to the people. It is time that the people of Pakistan rise up and sweep these parasites from amongst us. We must be free of them. Only then can there be progress.
Ayaz Fakir is a freelance columnist