WASHINGTON/ISLAMABAD: The Embassy of Pakistan in Washington had run out of funds to pay salaries for at least four months to some of its employees.
According to The News, sources told that at least five of the Pakistani embassy’s locally recruited contractual employees faced delays and non-payment of their monthly wages from August 2021.
One staffer out of the five affected, who had been working for the past ten years with the embassy, resigned in September owing to delays and non-payment.
These unpaid local staffers were hired by the embassy on an annual contract basis and worked for the mission on bare-minimum salaries, which ranges from 2,000 to 2,500 dollars per person per month.
The local hires, whether permanent or contractual, do not get perks and privileges that Foreign Office employees enjoy, including healthcare benefits.
The domestic staffers are usually hired to help with the ‘Consular section’ that provides visa, passport, notarization and other consular services to the diaspora.
Sources said that such staffers are paid out of the Pakistan Community Welfare (PCW) fund, which is generated locally through services fees and then dispensed locally as well.
Sources familiar with the situation say that the PCW fund collapsed last year because the money was diverted to purchase ventilators and other medical equipment after the COVID-19 pandemic.
The News has also learnt that the desperate unpaid staffers wrote to the ambassador in October urging him to help sort the issue and the ambassador repeatedly raised the issue with the Foreign Office in Islamabad and managed to secure all salaries just last week.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani mission in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, also wrote a letter to the Foreign Ministry regarding its problems.
The Pakistan Dhaka Mission in a letter to the Foreign Ministry said that due to lack of funds, school fees were not paid and the problems of the employees have increased.
In a letter to the Foreign Ministry, Jahanzeb Khan, Head of Chancery of the Pakistan Dhaka Mission, also mentioned the problems created by the devaluation of the rupee.
The letter said that the sharp fall in the value of the rupee had led to a sharp drop in funding for Pakistan’s mission in Dhaka.
The letter revealed that due to lack of funds, the school fees of the mission could not be paid.
Jahanzeb Khan, Head of Chancery of Pakistan Dhaka Mission, clearly stated in the letter that Rs. 16 million should be provided as soon as possible.
The letter further said that non-payment of school fees would create problems for the officers and employees of the mission.