Jordan condoles death of 13 Pakistanis lost in barn fire

A picture taken on December 2, 2019 shows the remains of a home where several Pakistani farmers were killed in a fire in the town of Shuna in Jordan, some 50 kilometres southwest of the capital Amman. (Photo by AFP)
Updated 03 December 2019

Jordan condoles death of 13 Pakistanis lost in barn fire

  • The deaths have led to calls for Jordanian government to review workers’ conditions and rights
  • PM Khan thanked Jordanian authorities for their help and cooperation

AMMAN: Jordan’s Prime Minister Omar Razzaz expressed his condolences over the death of 13 Pakistanis lost in a barn fire Monday.
The fire broke out at 2.08 a.m. (local time) claiming the lives of eight children, four women and a man, Al-Mamlaka TV quoted Iyad Amro, spokesman for the Civil Defense Directorate, as saying.
The deceased had been living in the agricultural structures in Jordan Valley, and early reports indicate that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.
PM Razzaz has established a committee comprising members of civil defense and interior ministry to look into the cause of the fire, Jordanian government spokesman Amjad Adaileh told Arab News.
“Sincere condolences and sympathies to our Pakistani brothers who died as a result of this painful incident … and our prayers for a speedy recovery to the injured,” Adaileh tweeted.
Hadeel Abdel Aziz, executive director of the Justice Center for Legal Aid in Jordan, told Arab News: “The government continues to disregard clear evidence about the environment of workers and the need to regulate the labor market, especially in the agricultural sector, and to enhance regulation and protection for laborers in this sector.”
“Ignoring the conditions of work for foreign workers, and treating it as unimportant because they’re non-Jordanian, is counterproductive and does more harm to the country,” she said.
Labor Ministry official Bilal Al-Majali said that special set of bylaws will be introduced soon to deal with the working conditions of agriculture workers. He added that major amendments to the Labor Law were currently under works.
“The changes will include the work environment and issues of the health and wellbeing of all workers, including foreign workers,” he told Arab News.
A spokeswoman for the Pakistani Embassy in Amman confirmed that 15,000 Pakistanis live in Jordan. She said the embassy has full faith in the investigative committee that Jordan’s government has established, and awaits its results.
Earlier Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry in Islamabad said in a statement that the victims belonged to the Joya family from Dadu district in Sindh province. The head of the family, Ali Sher Joya, survived the incident. “The family reportedly migrated from Pakistan to Jordan in the 1970s and was associated with the farming profession.”
Prime Minister Imran Khan has also expressed his condolences to the family of the victims. He also thanked the Jordanian authorities for their help and cooperation, the premier’s office said in a statement Monday evening.
The Pakistani Embassy in Amman is in touch with the victims’ relatives in Jordan.
“The ambassador and other senior officials are with the family to provide any urgent assistance. The Jordanian authorities are also extending full cooperation,” the statement said.

Donald Trump to unveil Middle East peace plan today

Updated 28 January 2020

Donald Trump to unveil Middle East peace plan today

  • Trump says plan unlikely to be welcomed by the Palestinians, but he believed they would come round
  • Palestinians say Trump’s plan will favor Israel, and undermine their right to statehood

WASHINGTON/AMMAN: Donald Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan “makes a lot of sense for everybody,” the US president said on the eve of its historic unveiling today in Washington.

Trump conceded that his plan was unlikely to be welcomed by the Palestinians, but he believed they would come round.

“They probably won’t want it initially,” he said. “But I think in the end they will ... it’s very good for them. In fact it’s overly good to them. So we'll see what happens. Without them, we don’t do the deal and that’s OK.”
“But we think there’s a very good chance that they’re going to want this."

An agreement between Israel and the Palestinians was crucial to achieve overall peace in the Middle East, Trump said.

“They say it’s probably the most difficult deal anywhere and of any kind to make,” he said. “When I was back in the business world, when a deal was tough, people would jokingly refer to it as ‘tougher than Israel and the Palestinians getting together.’ This is what I heard all my life. We have something that makes a lot of sense for everybody.”

Trump spoke after talks in the White House with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and before a meeting with Israeli opposition leader Benny Gantz. The two men face off in a parliamentary election in March, and Netanyahu is also seeking immunity from prosecution for bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

The Palestinians say Trump’s plan will favor Israel, and undermine their right to statehood.

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the Palestine Liberation Organization reserved the right to withdraw from the Oslo Accords if Trump went ahead with his plan, which would “turn Israel’s temporary occupation into a permanent occupation.”

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said the plan “doesn't constitute a basis for resolving the conflict,” violates international law and “comes from a party that has lost its credibility to be an honest broker.”

Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, a member of the PLO executive committee, told Arab News that Trump’s optimism was “delusional,” and “shows a warped understanding of reality.”

He said the plan was “clearly as good for the Palestinians as the theft of Jerusalem, the assault on refugee rights and the defunding of Palestinian infrastructure.”