Living & Working in Pakistan as a British citizen
It’s the early days of May and I have landed in the Capital airport, the aircraft stops on the tarmac and the air plane doors swing up.
Whoosh a great intense blast of heat enters the aircraft from all sides. Wrapping everyone in a warm hot cuddle to say welcome to hot Pakistan.
I have landed in the peak of summer, something I have been looking forward to coming from a mild cold country.
It has been 6 months and I have settled in to Pakistan way of life, now time to find a job where I can utilise my skills that I have gained in UK. I search on indeed.com and come across a company called Cabcall Outsource based in Islamabad and serving UK based customers.
I arrange an interview and pass with flying colours. I am given my start date to commence training. I worked the odd shift to help a friend out in UK at his taxi based old school type CBR radio transmission. Nothing prepared me for the big jump from CBR operating to online software operations.
A week of training and I am all set to venture out on my own and take calls.
I work 5 days a week, 8 hours a day with weekends off not bad just like being at home in the UK, roughly same hours, weekends off and I get to work in the English language…
So I thought! I realised when not on call the main language spoken on the call centre floor is Urdu. Bugger! I can only speak English and very basic Punjabi.
I muddle through the day keeping to myself like a new boy at School with no friends. Slowly the lads start chatting to me and things get much comfortable on the floor.
As each day, week, month and eventually years passed by I have made some great friends and excelled at my work.
I could spend all day comparing and contrasting working life between UK and Pakistan but much is the same e.g. working labour hour laws, holidays, public holidays, wages…
This is due to Pakistan already following some laws from the British Empire days.
The one thing I shall pick up on is Implementation of employee working rights and laws in Pakistan and UK.
We both believe the rights of the employees but one of two only implements them to the full extent. The working rights for an employee in the UK are strong and balanced whilst in Pakistan the law is written in text but never implemented, discussed or actually given to employees.
Whose fault is this the Employer or the Employee…?
Is the employer not wishing to reveal the employee’s rights under the Pakistan law or the Employee’s not using their own initiative to research the working laws and to ask for their rights.
Asking for their rights….!!
Many employees would never dare speak up about their rights for the threat of being told to pack up their belongings and leave. Leaving them without a secure income.. Sometimes it is too much of a risk to speak up. I have seen this on first-hand experience whilst working out here in Pakistan.
I and my colleagues have had issues regarding working hours, salary and other several minor issues. Initially my Pakistani colleagues did not wish to make a fuss or raise their voices against certain actions and delays.
Me being strong willed and always thriving to work hard and receive what I am entitled to I started a campaign of mediating between the call centre staff and the Directors and Managers.
We argued, debated and at one time conducted industrial strikes In order to bring the Directors to the table. Do we regret our actions whole heartedly know I would do the same again, cause the short period of time when we were at logger heads we managed to both come out stronger and learn we both have to make compromises.
Working in Pakistan has its advantages and disadvantages just like being in any other country weather it’s a developed country or a third world country.
Sometimes we just have to have the back bone to speak up for what is right but we also have to work hard and fulfil our job description.
We both need to work together to achieve anything….
So life as a British citizen working in Pakistan is not all that bad… at least there is sunshine all year around.