Pakistan has intervened with Qatar on behalf of its nationals who are working on FIFA World Cup projects in the Gulf state.
Pakistan’s government officials waded in on Thursday 11 June, 2020 over worker payment issues for its nationals, calling on the Gulf state to address the issues.
Pakistanis working in Qatar are estimated to be around 150,000, according to the director-general of the Bureau of Emmigration and Overseas Pakistanis, Kashif Ahmed Noor.
Following the promise by the Qatari government in 2015 to make available 100,000 jobs related to the World Cup projects, more than 80,000 Pakistanis were sent to the Gulf nation.
Kashif said Pakistan’s officials had no further details about the individual deployment of workers but recently heard Qatar authorities had stopped paying a few companies including Decson, a Pakistan-based multinational that had engaged many casual workers in Doha.
He added that Pakistanis working for Decson started facing salary issues, which prompted the Pakistan’s officials to intervene by asking the company to pay its workers the pending salaries and provide accommodation as well as food for them before their return to Pakistan.
The complaints about unpaid salaries from workers increased more after the coronavirus outbreak.
“We have been working with the host government, employees of the company and the employers to deal with the issue” he said.
“Pakistan’s embassy in Doha had taken up all such cases with Qatar’s Ministry of Labour who has also assured of his support in the resolution of such cases, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Aisha Farooqui said.
International human rights organisation, Amnesty International said that migrant workers constructing football stadiums are struggling to secure unpaid wages for months. The organisation stated this while referring to the current labour crisis in Qatar.
The Gulf nation responded to the issue through its communication office that the government had made significant efforts to revamp the country’s labour system. The office acknowledged there was a lot to overcome but assured that it was committed to the task.
Raja Muzzaffar, a Pakistani welder labourer from Bahawalpur who lost his job after months without pay said the Pakistani Embassy in Qatar gave him and other stranded workers some food packages. He added that many had been laid off from work, leaving them with no option since no company is employing due to the pandemic.
Qadir Bakshi, another Pakistani labourer working on a World Cup infrastructure project in Qatar said his company terminated his job when he demanded his 3-month salary.