We know that Saudi Arabia is a home to many nationalities. Some of the expats living here have never visited their home countries. They are living here since generations and know very little about their home land. Similar is the case of Baloch families residing here. Baluchistan is a province of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The Baloch are residing here since ages and their generations have not even visited Pakistan once! Among hundreds of Pakistani families living in Saudi Arabia, Baloch families dominate in number.
Most Baloch families have setup their livelihood in Wadi Mariq. Wadi Mariq lies in eastern Jeddah’s suburbs. The place looks like a shanty town and is encapsulated by Mountains and a valley. The Baloch community living here is not well-off. They are finding hard to meet their both ends. They are either illiterate or semi-literate. Thereby, most of them have undertaken the profession of farmers and shepherds. This is the reason they choose to live in Wadi Mariq. The valley and mountains nearby have helped in their profession. The wadi has been given an outlook of an underprivileged area of Baluchistan. One, sometimes feels that he is not standing in Saudi Arabia.
Yet the Balochs residing in the Riyadh and Qassim are quite well off, in fact, they are rich families enjoying a lavish lifestyle. The problem has arisen now. Dependent’s fees levied by the Saudi authorities on the expats have now alarmed these residents. Since 1st July 2017, the fee has been implemented due to which the town’s residents are fading away. Most of these under privileged Balochs don’t even hold a passport, as they were living here for ages; the government granted them some perks. Some of the Balochs thereby were given special residency cards and they have been exempted from the dependent’s fee as well.
Yet the problem is that those who work in the private sector have to pay the fee. How can they pay the fee when they themselves are living hand to mouth? They have large families, meaning large payment as the dependent’s fee has to be borne. Most of the Baloch men have been married more than once and thereby have large families. They hardly earn SR 2,000 a month by undertaking odd jobs.
For instance, take the case of 16-year-old Haroon who hails from Pakistan. He has 6 siblings and none of them have visited Pakistan even once. His family knows very less about Pakistan as well. The 16 years old boy does not go to school, rather he collects wooden scraps and earns SR 40! He could not afford a school and his father required his help to meet the ends.
What a pity, the boy at this age shall be free from such worries! There are many Balochs like Haroon in Saudi Arabia. Sindhi families residing here have more or less the same situation. For the first time, in half of a century, these Balochs and Sindhis are planning to go back to Pakistan due to the expat dependent’s fee!
Source: Saudi Gazette