Good and bad times of expat life

Good and bad times of expat life

The ordeal of a bedridden Pakistani engineer and his family

Once a highly productive mechanical engineer, Syed Javed Zakir now lies motionless in his hospital bed in Jeddah. — SG photo by Irfan Mohammed
Once a highly productive mechanical engineer, Syed Javed Zakir now lies motionless in his hospital bed in Jeddah. — SG photo by Irfan Mohammed

By Irfan Mohammed
Saudi Gazette

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.


  1. Nobody can help us – we are expatriate – when we were born we use to call each other Saudis then slowly when we grow up our parents told us that we are ajnabis ! .

    Its sad to know – back in Pakistan I don’t know anybody .
    Its sad those who are born in ksa should stay in KSA and serve this country – this country was our mother – we should a respect our country Saudi Arabia –

    • Ameera as the author pointed in at the end of the article, it is not right for any expatriate to cut off totally from Pakistan. Please be realistic. Even if another country gives you nationality, you have to maintain your social and financial linkages with your home country.

  2. Depressing situation for born and brought up expats in Saudi.

    Too foriegn for home.
    Too foriegn for here.
    Never enough for both.

  3. The patient is on ventilator for six months and cannot even move his eyes. I think in cases like this we seriously need to rethink our attitude towards life and death and learn to let go. What is the use of artificially elongating someone’s life like this?

  4. May Allah bless ease problems of this family.
    is there anyway we can help them?
    any account nmbr? contact detail?

  5. Its a very sad situation, they should contact with their close relatives, friends as much as they can for help, here and back in Pakistan. They should claim for health insurance compensation, and they should move to back home in Pakistan as soon aa possible….. May Allah help them in these tough circumstances….

  6. Expat community should come forward to support this Family .
    Basic things like a flat and a private job to the family need to be arranged in Pakistan.

    At least she will have a place to stay and can take care the kids and husband…till the children grow up..

  7. Please share any contact number or way to help them. Expats are big community here and I am sure everybody will come forward to their best for support by any means.

  8. Humble Request for Help

    Patient Name:
    Mohammad Javid Rizvi
    Hospital: IMC/IEC  /Building #4 /Flr. 2nd/ Room #19

  9. Number of friends are already helping but since it is a noble cause, anyone who feels like should come and help …

  10. It is a massive mistake committed by oir
    Brother who worked for 20 and odd years
    At a key position and did not construct
    A house or generate a second income.
    Everyone working in Saudi knows the
    minute you lose a job you a trash and not
    wanted. So long as you are working buy a house or two and generate some second income. I suggest for this brother, the use of ventilator for too long should be reconsidered. Contact
    your embassy to make arrangement for the rest.

  11. Part of the problem could be solved by the government setting up a system of catastrophic health insurance for non-citizens. A modest premium collected from expatriates’ wages would pay for it. There is no reason that anyone should lack insurance coverage.

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