Home > India-Pakistan Relations, Media, Oil, Pax Americana, Social Trends > One ‘Birather’ to Another?

One ‘Birather’ to Another?


Back in 70s, the new-found power by the Islāmic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity? What now …

The State of Public Policy  in Pakistan  |  Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today  |  Click for image.

The State of Public Policy in Pakistan | Cartoon by Sabir Nazar; Source & courtesy: Pakistan Today | Click for image.

Oil wealth

The oil riches, glitzy infrastructure boom of the Middle East, after the 1973 Oil Embargo, had a profound effect in Indian Muslims. The new-found power by the Islamic Middle East made the Indian Muslim proud about his religious identity.

For the general Indian, the Middle East was the answer to the slow Indian economy. In an economy of shortages, with an over-valued Indian currency, the Dubai allure was irresistible. It was the passport to wealth and abundance.

Jannat lost?

It took another 10-15 years for Indians to discover the underbelly of Dubai.

To an average Indian, the prospect of slow career growth in Dubai, limited growth opportunities, the discrimination between the Western expatriates and Indians (and others) had a telling – and chilling effect. The Indian-Muslim, expecting a warm welcome in sandy climes, found a sneer instead.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy - time.com). Click for larger image.

The fig leaf of oil riches covered the intellectual bankruptcy of the Middle East. (Cartoon by Bob Gorrell; 2009; source and courtesy – time.com). Click for larger image.

Unfortunate victims in this labour-import by the Middle East, many are in the Saudi Arabia. With a rich Welfare State, high disposable incomes

THE presence of a housemaid in a Saudi house has become inevitable. If this inevitability is not because of her services, then it is because of the need to imitate others. This is a fact that everybody knows. The need for housemaids is connected to the ways Saudis live — women go to work, responsibilities for the social and educational welfare of children, men failing to help with house duties, few day-care facilities for children, large and spacious homes, extended families and increasing numbers of children. The net result is that the majority of families need to have housemaids. The truth of the matter is that some of us need more than one housemaid. (via Saudis and domestic help — ‘maid’ for each other).

This above extract on Middle East does not utter the word India even once – or the abuse of these maids – as another story, from the same publication shows.

But now the 40-year-old woman says her sponsor stopped paying her four months ago and then sold her to a labor placement agency in Riyadh for SR13,000 (about $3,460).

After promising to pay her the back salary, the agency sent her to work for another Saudi family without paying her the promised sum. And she claims her new employer, a Saudi woman, is treating her poorly, such as not paying her a salary, keeping her locked up so she won’t flee and denying her medical attention.

“I’m sick and this woman won’t give me even a Panadol, and she has not given me salary,” Beevi told Arab News.

“There are three other maids here, too: an Indonesian, a Sri Lankan, and one from Morocco. They have not been paid their salaries either.”

If the allegations are true then a number of Saudi labor laws have been violated by Beevi’s first sponsor, the labor placement agent and the new employer.

Besides the obvious illegal practice of not paying a salary, a sponsor cannot sell off an employee to a third party agent. That third party agent is likewise prohibited by law from then hiring out a worker under somebody else’s sponsorship.

The new employer has also broken the law by taking in a worker who is not under her sponsorship. Beevi says she is still under the sponsorship of her first sponsor.

Beevi has complained to the Federation of Kerala Associations in Saudi Arabia (FOKASA), which has filed a petition on her behalf to the Indian Embassy in Riyadh. (via Housemaids bought, sold like chattels | ArabNews).

Welcome to the party

But for Pakistanis the story has been different.

Brought up on a history that glorified Mohammed Bin Qasim, Pakistan’s official history hitched itself to Muslim ‘invaders’ and ‘conquerors’ of ‘idol-worshiping’ India. Even invoked on cricket fields, the Mohammed Bin Qasim narrative gained further strength in Pakistan with the Oil Boom in the Middle East.

From 1975-2005, as India slowly and inexorably pulled away and ahead of Pakistan, this narrative started sounding rather tinny. Further, the plateau and decline of the Oil Boom in the Middle East, diluted the power of this narrative.

What of Pakistani perception of treatment of Pakistanis by the Saudis?

Not very complimentary if this report is anything to go by.

RAWALPINDI: Airport Security Force personnel at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport allegedly entered into an altercation with the military attaché of the Saudi embassy on Thursday, after he refused to cooperate during security checks and abused Pakistan and called Pakistani officials his “servants”.

According to officials from the ASF, Colonel Sukhari, who was meant to fly out to Riyadh, refused to get a routine body check and started quarrelling with the security personnel at the airport.

The Saudi embassy official became abusive and attacked the ASF officials, say eye witnesses. He also abused Pakistanis in general and called them “servant class,” said eyewitnesses.

An official from the Airport Police said the Saudi official started the fight by slapping an ASF official, identified as Idrees. (via Refusing to cooperate: ‘ASF men rough up Saudi embassy official’ – The Express Tribune).

Not surprising this ‘official’ history attracts sarcasm and derision in Pakistan.

For instance this tweet.

https://twitter.com/majorlyprofound/status/208440711551524864


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  1. June 2, 2012 at 5:29 am

  2. June 2, 2012 at 5:33 am

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