Good and bad times of expat life

  • 1 year ago
  • 4040

A DISTRAUGHT Pakistani family is desperately looking for help as its sole breadwinner is confined to hospital bed for several months now.

The family’s ordeal began when the mechanical engineer from Karachi, who was working for a leading industrial production plant in Jeddah for more than two decades, suddenly collapsed at his workplace on Nov. 8, 2016. He was rushed to a hospital where he was diagnosed with brain hemorrhage and subsequent neurological system collapse. He was also diagnosed with a host of other health complications and shifted to a leading hospital in the city.


Due to the complications, his respiratory and hemodynamic, neurology functions were affected, and he was kept attached to a mechanical ventilator ever since.

Syed Javed Zakir, at 56, used to be very energetic. He was a workaholic who moved around the plant checking operations and the production units. Climbing up and down and moving heavy machinery was part of his job as a mechanical engineer.

In hospital for almost six months, Zakir cannot even turn his eyes around. He is lying in his hospital bed motionless, without recognizing anyone around. Sitting on ether side of his bed, his two young children cry silently at the fate of their father, their mother consoling them in between emotional outbursts.

In addition to Zakir’s complicated medical issues, a financial crisis has started hitting the family. “Our situation has worsened since Zakir’s employer stopped paying him his monthly salary three months ago,” the family said.

“Our only source of income was Zakir’s salary and it has stopped. We are struggling to cope with day-to-day expenses including the taxi fare.”

Running out of food provisions, defaulting school fee and non-payment of house rent all added into the family’s woes.

According to sources, Zakir and his wife are living like the dead since that fateful day in November. “Even if the family decides to take Zakir back home to Pakistan, they do not have a place to live in or any next of kin to lean upon in this bad times. But how long can they remain in the Kingdom in the present situation?” asked an acquaintance of the family.

The family does not have any idea where they will end up when Zakir’s insurance coverage and the validity their residency permits will expire in a couple of months.

Numerous expatriates work and live in the Kingdom with their families for decades without returning to their home countries even for a vacation. Such people lose all their contacts back home and the children suffer the most especially after their parents die because they must not have seen or talked to their extended family members, even if they had any, in their entire lifetime.

Such expatriate children only know the Kingdom where they were born and brought up as their home. But when tragedies strike unexpectedly, as in the case of the Pakistani family, they do not know where to turn for help.