DAMMAM: Stranded Pakistani workers in Saudi Arabia have refused to accept aid sent by the Pakistani Embassy in Riyadh, terming it a ‘big joke’.

Reportedly, the government has sent a packet of onion, two packets of tomatoes, three packets of tea and a can of oil for 204 affectees.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Pakistani Ministry of Foreign Affairs claimed that the government is making all out efforts to help Pakistani employees of two companies in Saudi Arabia, following instructions by the Prime Minister to provide necessary assistance to more than eight thousand Pakistanis.

Pakistani workers from two companies, namely M/s Saad Trading and Contracting Company, Al-Khobar (520 workers) and Saudi Oger Limited (8000 workers) are currently facing problems in getting their salaries and End of Service benefits. In addition, the resident permits of many of the employees have not been renewed by the company. The companies do not refuse the claims of their employees but they have not been able to pay their dues for several months.

In the given circumstances, most of the workers want to leave these companies but only after settling their dues.

“There are around 520 workers from M/s. Saad trading and Contracting Company living in three camps namely i) Dessert camp, ii) Al-Azizia camp, and iii) Abqiaq Camp, all located in the eastern region. Estimated number of affected Pakistanis in the Saudi Oger company is up to 8,000. Around 20% are living on their own while majority of them are living in various camps set up by the company in Riyadh, Dammam, Jeddah, Taif and Makkah regions,” the Foreign Office stated.

The FO further said: “Ambassador is vigorously perusing this matter with Deputy Foreign Minister, Minister of Justice and Secretary, Ministry of Labour and Governor of Eastern Province as well as the management of the companies concerned. Embassy teams have visited all the camps in Dammam and provided food to the workers. The camps in Riyadh and Jeddah regions have been visited by the Community Welfare Attaches. Mission s representatives have visited the labour court in Dammam several times and have facilitated Pakistani work force in compiling claims for their dues and salaries. Saudi Oger Ltd. Management in Al-Khobar has confirmed that the company food and other facilities in all its camps are being provided.”

The Saudi King has also issued a decree for urgent payment of dues to workers by Saudi Oger Company and resolve the situation.

“The Company will also facilitate those workers who wish to leave. The Company would provide air tickets and renew their resident permits. Those who want to transfer their iqamas will also be facilitated. The officials of both the companies assured us that the companies are trying their best to resolve the problem,” claimed the Foreign Office.

The Ministry has approved an amount of SAR 100,000/- (equivalent to Pak Rs.2,785,000/-) from PCW&E Fund for providing relief to the workers by the Embassy.