2,000 unpaid Indian workers stranded in Kuwait

HYDERABAD: With no food to eat or even a blanket to cover themselves with, about 2,000 Indian workers are suffering in Kuwait as they have not been paid wages by the company they have been working for more than a year now. In despair, many are contemplating suicide.
The workers who are from different parts of India, including Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, are in a piquant situation. Their visas have expired while waiting for the infrastructure company Kharafi National — to settle the issue, which has not happened. They are even unable to go to hospitals in sickness as their stay has become illegal and if caught, they will be imprisoned.

Restive workers of Kharafi National, a construction company in Kuwait, have been protesting day and night before the company office demanding they be given their due salaries and sent back to India.

"I can only think of suicide. I haven't been paid for the last 10 months and my stay here has become illegal. I have a lot of debts to repay in India," said Naresh Naidu, a worker. The workers said that the company told them it was not in a position to pay salaries as it doesn't have projects to execute.


As many as 45 workers are demonstrating before the office, carrying placards. The company has put them up in a camp, which is 60km away from office. "We do not have money to travel daily to the office to plead our case. The only thing we can do is sit here, sleep here and wait till our plea is considered. But no one seems to be bothered," said 42-yearold Irfan Ahmed.

Moved by their plight, Shaheen Sayyed‏, a social worker in Kuwait, has been trying to provide food. "We requested a local gurudwara and they have come forward to assist us. There are many workers who have become suicidal and need help. I've been counselling them against taking any extreme step, Sayeed told TOI on Tuesday.

The company even has the workers' passports, due to which they can't leave Kuwait even if they decide to forego the dues. With the expiry of their visas, they also have to pay a fine for overstaying. "If I have to return home, I will have to pay ₹75,000 as fine. Where will I get it from? And if police arrest me for overstaying, I won't ever be able to return to Kuwait for work," said another worker.

Pakistan International Airlines stops flights to Kuwait

The airline has also halted flights to Salalah and the US

Lahore: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) will no longer fly to Kuwait from Thursday, February 1.

According to official sources, the airline was bearing heavy annual losses on its flight operations there.


Pakistan International Airlines has also halted flights to Salalah and the US.

PIA will provide alternate arrangements for passengers who had already booked flights to these countries.

Kuwait minister beats no-confidence motion

Al Sabeeh was charged with financial and administrative irregularities

Kuwait’s Social Affairs and Labour Minister Hind Al Sabeeh has breezed through a no-confidence motion charging financial and administrative irregularities in her ministry.

MPs Al Hameedi Al Subai, Mubarak Al Hajraf and Khalid Al Otaibi had filed the motion to grill Al Sabeeh.


During a marathon questioning of the minister at the parliament on January 23, a no-confidence motion was endorsed by ten lawmakers.

Under the parliament bylaws, ten lawmakers are required to go ahead with the motion that would decide the fate of the minister.

However, the no-confidence motion must be approved by 25 lawmakers to become effective and remove the minister.

On Wednesday, out of the 45 lawmakers present at the session, only 13 MPs voted against the minister while 29 supported her and three abstained from voting in a resounding success for Al Sabeeh who was subsequently congratulated by the Emir Shaikh Sabah Al Ahmad, Speaker Marzooq Al Ghanim and supporters.

Al Sabeeh told reporters that she would continue treading on the path of reforms and would work to address all errors and imbalances in the agencies within her prerogatives.

“We are all humans and as such, we make mistakes, but we do recognize them and we try to ix them,” she said. “We are in a state of institutions and the future is brighter through the application of the law, the deterrence of corruption and the provision of better services.”

The minister said there was a bright aspect to the grilling.

“It was an opportunity to display the achievements accomplished by the employees in all the departments. It was also an eye-opener that helped identify deficiencies that had not been reported to me earlier. We will now work together to address them and ensure higher standards.”


• January 11: Three lawmakers file motion to grill Hind Al Sabeeh over alleged irregularities.

• January 23: Marathon grilling of Al Sabee at the parliament. Ten lawmakers vote for no-confidence motion.

• January 31: No-confidence motion is defeated 29 to 13. Al Sabeeh keeps her post.



A security source has learned about the departure of about 450 residents of the violators of residence, taking advantage of the humanitarian deadline granted by Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid Jarrah for this category to leave the country without any penalty. 

The source said, according to the published "Politics" - that the airport in Kuwait on the first day of the deadline last Monday to leave 200 violators, while left on Tuesday the first day (Tuesday) 250 violators, out of 154 thousand is the total violators of the law of residency in the country. 
And expected the increase in the number of departures in the coming days to invest the deadline, which ends on 22 February, indicating that thousands of them resorted to the embassies of their country, after learning the decision to extract travel documents to allow them to travel or modify their situation, because most passports are reserved with their sponsors, Time.

The source added that the airport outlet and other outlets facilitated the procedures for the violators so that the violator comes with his passport and ends the departure procedures without paying any fines, except those who have criminal cases, so they can not leave until the cases are settled. Are legal again and are not prosecuted. 

In the same context, the Assistant Director General for Residence, Major General Abdullah Al-Hajri, said that the decision to grant time for the violators to leave the country without being held accountable for the delay penalties incurred if they left within the deadline.
Al-Hajeri said in a press statement that the decision includes offenders who have completed their regular or temporary residence before January 24, as well as those who entered the country under an entry visa, whether for visit, residence, tourism, frequency or passage. To persons whose passports have expired prior to the previous date and who have valid residence and wish to leave the country.

China urged to hire Pinoys amid Kuwait work ban

MANILA, Philippines — President Duterte has called on Beijing to accept displaced Filipinos from other parts of the world as he moves to stop what he described as “cultural insanity” against Filipino workers in the Middle East.

Duterte said his administration is ready to face the consequences of a possible deployment ban to Kuwait and other Middle Eastern countries.

“If it means reduced income, (if) it will redound to a lesser GDP, then so be it,” he added, noting that he would ask China to open its doors to Philippine workers.

China earlier revealed that it plans to hire Filipino household service workers and offer high salaries.

“They need teachers and domestic helpers. And I said to them that if you can consider the Philippines, we would be glad to allow our workers to work here,” the President said.

While he lamented the possible impact of a ban in the Middle East, he stressed that he cannot allow Filipinos to suffer more than they can bear while working abroad just so their families back home would have better lives.

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“I think of the loss of employment opportunities for the people. But at the same time, I grieve for Filipinos, for what they have to go through and the suffering,” Duterte said as he appealed for better working environment for all overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

He wanted the workers treated with dignity and respect.

“Don’t abuse them. They are not, you know, Filipino women are not merchandise (that) you buy and just do what you want. It sucks,” he said upon his arrival at the Davao International Airport before dawn yesterday.

The President also reiterated his serious concern over reports of abuses of some Filipino workers, a number of which led to suicides.

“I would like to address myself to all nations taking in Filipinos as workers. All I ask is that you treat them decently. Do not destroy their dignity as a human being,” he said.

Before he left for New Delhi last week, Duterte said he would not hesitate to call for a deployment ban and ask Filipino workers to come home. 

“I will not make a sweeping statement. There are countries that, if you are a slave bought from the slave markets or you are paid to work for them, rape is included (in) the term of agreements. It’s a cultural insanity. Don’t do it,” he said.

While he wanted to maintain good bilateral relations with all concerned countries who accommodate skilled Filipino workers, he stressed that he also wanted to take care of their welfare.

“And as a worker of government, as one who also decides whether we go there or not, I will not hesitate to lose your friendship, not at the expense of the Filipino. Do not do it…you are all moneyed, well to do. Look for some entertainment, Europe is just an hour away, do not do it to the Filipino,” the President suggested.

He pointed out that while other Philippine presidents have remained silent or never really bothered to take up the cudgels for the workers, the abuses that the workers go through at the hands of their employers are not acceptable to him.

Duterte noted that majority of those working abroad needed to leave the country due to the lack of opportunities locally.

“We accept that as a truism in today’s life of the Filipino. But it (abuse) was just never acceptable to me and to everybody else...they are driven into insanity, jump out of the windows up high. What does that indicate? It has become unbearable for a human being to live,” he lamented.

“What do you think if I’ll do that also to your citizens? Your only advantage is you have the money, actually, but whatever your God is, it’s never right to do that to a fellow human being,” he added.

Kuwaiti deputy foreign minister Khaled Al-Jarallah expressed regret over the remarks as he denied that Filipinos were being treated inhumanely. 

He added that their foreign ministry has already asked Philippine authorities to provide evidence on the supposed inhumane treatment of Filipinos.

“The huge expatriate community in Kuwait, including nearly 276,000 from the Philippines, testifies to the care and stability enjoyed by the expats,” he was quoted as saying in a report by state-run Kuwait News Agency

“The Filipino workers enjoy comfortable conditions that guarantee their rights regardless of recent unjustifiable fuss,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano last week said that there have been substantive discussions between Philippine and Kuwaiti officials regarding the matter.  

CHR supports ban

The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is supporting the government decision to suspend the deployment of workers to Kuwait pending the investigation on the death of seven migrant workers. 

CHR commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, the agency’s focal person for migrant workers’ rights, said this will provide stakeholders time to reflect and adopt the necessary reforms to strengthen and uphold the rights of migrant workers, especially domestic workers.

“The CHR supports the government’s efforts to promote stronger protection and enhanced welfare mechanisms for our overseas Filipino workers, especially those most prone to abuse and exploitation. Migrant workers’ rights are human rights and we all share an obligation to make sure that our OFWs are treated well and fairly around the world,” she said.

Gana said her office is willing to work with the departments of Foreign Affairs and of Labor and Employment as well as other agencies, civil organizations and OFW groups in pushing for reforms that would result in decent work and safe migration.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III has issued an administrative order directing the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration to suspend the processing of Overseas Employment Certificates for deployment in Kuwait pending investigation on the deaths of seven OFWs. – With Janvic Mateo

Etihad revises baggage rules

Airline says it is switching to a weight-based baggage policy; some passengers will get up to 50 kilos of allowance

Dubai: Etihad Airways is introducing a new policy for checked bags, allowing most passengers to travel with as many bags as they like, provided they adhere to the weight allowance.

The Abu Dhabi-based airline said on Wednesday that it is switching to a  new policy that is based on total weight rather than the number of bags checked in.

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“The changes allow for a simpler baggage structure as the allowance for all markets, excluding the US and Canada, is now based on total weight rather than the number of bags checked in,” the airline said in a statement.

For flyers on  "economy deal fares”, the checked baggage allowance will be up to 23 kilos, while those who are on “economy saver” and “classic fares” will get 35 kilos.  

Customers on “economy flex fares” and business class will get to check in up to 35 kilos and 40 kilos of baggage, respectively. First class flyers get 50 kilos.

“In line with global best practice and market trends, Etihad Airways has developed a baggage policy that best caters to the differing needs of our guests around the world. The switch to a policy based on weight rather than the number of bags simplifies our allowance system and provides greater convenience and customer benefit while enhancing the travel experience,” added Etihad airways executive vice-president commercial, Mohammad Al Bulooki.

However, passengers who book the The Residence on Etihad's flagship Airbus A380 can bring up to four bags of 32 kilos each.

There are also exceptions that will apply to certain markets.

The airline said that those who have signed up for the rewards programme, the Etihad Guest Silver, Gold and Platinum members, will continue to enjoy complimentary excess baggage allowances, of 32 kilos on US and Canada routes, and 20 kilos for Platinum, 15 kilos for Gold and 10 kilos for Silver on all other sectors.

ANNOUNCEMENT KUWAIT : Employers Told Not To Keep Expat Passports For Granting Amnesty Period


Kuwait The MOI has called the residents who are in violation of the residency law to take advantage of the humanitarian gesture made by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Lieutenant General Sheikh Khalid Al-Jarrah Al-Sabah who issued Ministerial Decision No. 64/2018 for granting this amnesty period

Dying woman names her 'killer' after she was shot three times 'for rejecting his marriage proposal'

WARNING DISTRESSING FOOTAGE: Medical student Aasma Rani gasped the name of her alleged attacker after she was blasted on Saturday while with her sister-in-law


Harrowing footage has captured the moment a dying woman named her alleged killer after she was shot for reportedly rejecting his marriage proposal.

Medical student Aasma Rani was shot three times after she stepped out of a rickshaw with her sister-in-law on Saturday in Kohat, Pakistan, it was reported.


She is said to have died on Sunday night in hospital as a result of her injuries.

Harrowing footage which appears to have been captured moments before Aasma's death showed her reveal her alleged killer.

Aasma Rani was filmed after she was shot three times 
She revealed the name of her alleged killer in the footage 

The student is heard gasping "Mujahid Afridi, Mujahid Afridi", a man who reportedly asked Aasma to marry him but was rejected.

The video shows the injured girl barely able to keep her eyes open with her head supported as a man asks her to repeat the name.

The accused attacker is said to have made past threats and lay in wait for Aasma outside her home with his brother on the day of the shooting, Geo TV reported.

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Police are now hunting for Mujahid Afridi 

In an appeal for justice, Aasma's heartbroken dad told local media: "They have not caught the criminals.

 "I am a poor man but will come out onto the streets and protest. He [the accused] has also committed other crimes."The International News reported police have carried out raids in the search for Afridi.Authorities from Pakistan's Federal Investigation Agency are said to be involved in the manhunt following reports Afridi attempted to flee the country.

Philippine doctor in New York plot charged in kidnap-murder case

Russel Salic has been in custody after US charged him over a failed plot to attack key New York landmarks

MANILA: A Philippine doctor accused of wiring money for a foiled New York terror plot has been charged in a separate Daesh-inspired kidnapping and murder case at home, documents released on Tuesday said.

Russel Salic, an orthopaedic surgeon, has been held in custody in the Philippines after US prosecutors charged him over a failed plot to attack New York's subway, Times Square and concert venues in the name of IS during the Ramadan in 2016.

US prosecutors are seeking his extradition.

Now Salic and 53 other suspected Filipino extremists have been charged with kidnapping six lumber yard workers in the southern island of Mindanao - killing two of them - to demonstrate their loyalty to the Daesh movement in the Middle East.

The hostages said that in 2016, armed men in the southern island of Mindanao, abducted and tortured them, accusing them of being spies for the military, the Justice Department documents said.

The hostages were made to wear orange clothes and photographed. They were told that the pictures would be loaded onto the Internet to show the armed band's loyalty to IS.

Two of the hostages were later beheaded but the rest were freed after their employer negotiated with the kidnappers.

The workers said that among their captors was a man who they were told was a doctor but who was only seen guarding and cleaning guns. This man was later identified as Salic, the department said.

Salic has insisted he was innocent and said he could prove he was attending a medical convention elsewhere during the incident, the department records showed.

However he was still included in the list of 54 accused in the kidnapping and murder case which has been blamed on the Maute group, a local extremist band that has previously pledged allegiance to the Daesh movement.

Only Salic and three other individuals named in the charge sheet are in custody.

The Maute group spearheaded the bloody siege of the southern city of Marawi last year that lasted five months and left over a thousand dead, including many of the groups fighters.

The Justice Department could not immediately say whether the new charges would affect efforts to extradite Salic to the United States.

People who have cases filed against them are not permitted to leave Kuwait

Kuwait: Individuals who entered the country on visit, tourist or transit visas but the period of their stay in the country expired before Jan 24, 2018 are allowed to leave during the amnesty period without paying fines

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