Letter from Kuwait

We Pakistanis are over 100,000, mostly petty workers. We are not enjoying the same level of freedom as in Britain or any European Country. You may know what is the system of government in Arabian countries. So we are here earning our livelihood; the ruling elite has never allowed expatriates to indulge in political activities. We have different social organizations, which actually represent various political parties of Pakistan. These social organizations are involved in social activities among Pakistani community. It is the same case with other Communities.

After the Gulf War, of the American forces against Iraq, the scenario has been completely changed. The American military machine and Imperialist forces control all the policies in the region toward their own ends. The economic situation is bad and new social problems have emerged as aresult of American influence in Kuwaiti society. But still the rulingelite has a hold and in order save their rule they suppress all forms ofindependent thinking.

The conditions of the migrant workers in Kuwait are worse than anywhere; salaries are low, there are no facilities. And every day new rules are being .Salary of common manual labour and house maid jobs are KD.30 (US$100) and under the new rule of medical insurance on migrant works equivalent to US$ 200/-each person per year which is unbearable for poor workers and their families in Kuwait and this may result exodus of working people leaving the country.

Some employers provide inhuman accommodation for the workers, cramming around 10 workers in small 2 square metre rooms lacking basic hygienic conditions such as ventilation, and air-conditioning or proper lighting. Immigrant workers are forced to live in such conditions during the extreme summer of Kuwait where the temperature reaches 50 degrees and relative humidity levels top 90 percent. The rules of the imperialist led International Labour Organization are not followed. Although Kuwait has signed the treaties and convenants the minimum wage standards are not given as required by the ILO.

Walayat Shah 
a Pakistani migrant worker in Kuwait