The family of a Pakistani driver living in a slum in the outskirts of Jeddah is trying to help him avoid an indefinite prison term for failing to pay blood money for the death of a two-year-old Egyptian boy whom he had run over with his truck.
Aziz Mohammed Jaan works as a family driver for SR 1,200 per month and lives with his wife and five children, aged between one and 14. All are legal residents and hold valid residency permits.
With a menial salary, Jaan is barely able to maintain the family of seven which is living in a remote area surrounded by valleys and mountains known as Wadi Mareq.
Speaking to Arab News at his home, Jaan said he had parked his pick-up truck in front of a Saudi restaurant in Sharafiya.
“When the vehicle in front of my truck made way, I drove forward only to hear a woman scream. Later I learnt that I had hit a 2-year-old child whom I had not seen due to a blind spot,” he said.
The Egyptian boy, Ali Ahmed Adil, was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.
A court in Jeddah, chaired by Judge Abdulaziz Ali Sharai, found that both parties were at fault and ordered Jaan to pay SR 150,000 in blood money to the parents of the toddlers he had accidentally killed.
Jaan appealed to the court and the to parents of the deceased that if he was kept behind bars, he would not be able to raise the blood money he had been ordered to pay, nor would his children be left with any means of survival.
The court granted him 20 days to raise the money with the help of Hizbullah Mohammed Amin, president of Shah Faisal Welfare Group, a Pakistani charity association. “If Jaan fails to pay by the end of the grace period, he will be held in custody until he succeeds in raising the amount,” a report said.
Jaan’s family cannot afford education and has no access to health care. His children, who are illiterate, appealed for help when reporters from Arab News visited their family home.
Jaan said it was nearly impossible for him to raise the money as he was being stopped by security guards whenever he tried to enter business organisations with philanthropic wings. Jaan said he had also approached the Pakistani Consulate with his request.