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Expatriates also deserve privileges

January 09, 2014 - 4:34:55 am

Citizens take precedence over others in the utilisation of the wealth of their country, and this is what all constitutions and systems stipulate.

We thank Allah and our rulers for their wisdom and dedication that we, as Qatari citizens, enjoy privileges that are rare to see in other countries.

I always called for the distinction and preference of citizens especially in legitimate demands and rights but it does not mean that we harbour any bad intentions against expatriates or we demand the confiscation of their rights or ignore their demands. 

What I said was misunderstood and I do not want to be seen as racist. That is why I apologise for any misunderstanding in this regard. 

Honestly and objectively, I demand a fair approach with regard to our fellow expats who live in our beloved Qatar, particularly our Muslim and Arab brothers who have done and are still doing a lot for this country and its people, contributing to development in various fields.

I and other Qataris have received our education at the hands of virtuous Arab teachers and professors. We received medical treatment at the hands of skilled Arab doctors who were worthy of our confidence. Some of them contributed to many projects, some of them were born, raised and buried in this blessed country. 

Some expats returned to their countries and some stayed here until they became an integral part of our society. Most of these people know and have acknowledged that the people of Qatar are the kindest and generous.

Their children love and remember this beloved country, even when they travel to their home countries and feel more affinity with us — a result of mutual love and appreciation.

Honesty makes it necessary for us to say that these expats share with us the burden of living and that the law provides equal rights and duties for both of us. 

I am sure that all honest citizens want their fellow expats to have a decent life, safety and stability in their homes with their families and children. 

Qatari citizens hope, from the bottom of their hearts, that everyone, especially those who live with them and respect their society, laws and national identity, can share the welfare they enjoy.

So, as a rights activist and journalist, I call for a study of the  condition of expats in Qatar, especially those with low or average income. 

Some are suffering and facing difficult living conditions. Some of us help them and stand beside them, while others let them down, say bad things about them in their back, and encourage others to abandon them, and such people are very few in the Qatari society.

Qatar’s leadership and citizens are known throughout the history by their generosity and kindness, and this has made the country more like a refuge for oppressed and tyrannised people.

Yet, we feel dismayed by the abuse and injustice facing by some of our fellow expats while they deal with some citizens or officials or their representatives. 

Some sponsors treat their labourers in a bad way and make things hard for them, especially when it comes to renewing their residence permits or issuing exit permits. 

Some Qatari exploit their helplessness and weakness and stop paying them their salaries, or cancel their resident permits when they ask for sponsorship transfer.

Some citizens discredit the rest of Qataris when they deal with our fellow expats arrogantly and ignore our values and traditions.

Therefore, we call upon our wise government and generous and honourable leadership to raise the salaries of our fellow Arab and other expats. 

Like us citizens, our fellow expats, especially those living  here with families, are also suffering due to increasing prices which adversely affect all without exception. 

When increasing salaries of citizens, authorities should also include expats who should not be excluded just because they are not citizens. I hope the salaries of these residents will be doubled. I hope they are also given bonuses. If similar amounts cannot be given to them, then at least they should get half of it.