Over 7,000 Pakistanis in jails abroad
By Iftikhar A. Khan
ISLAMABAD: A sub-committee of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior was informed on Tuesday that over 7,000 Pakistanis were languishing in foreign jails.
Senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the sub-committee that a special cell had been set up in the Foreign Office to oversee the cases of Pakistanis detained in different countries.
The committee’s chairman, Talha Mahmood, presided over the meeting attended by its members Colonel (retd) Tahir Husain Mashhadi, Haji Adeel and Begum Najma Hameed and Foreign Affairs Special Secretary Haroon Shaukat and other officials of the foreign ministry.
The committee directed the foreign ministry to take immediate steps to bring back Pakistanis currently in foreign jails and enter into agreements on exchange of prisoners where necessary so that the Pakistanis in prisons abroad could complete their remaining terms in their own country.
Members of the committee observed that many Pakistanis were in Saudi Arabian prisons even after completion of their sentences.
The committee was told that one Ismael Abdul Sattar was arrested in Saudi Arabia on the charges of money laundering some 12 years ago and his bank accounts were also frozen.
He has completed his term in jail, but could not be freed because he failed to the fine and a request seeking waiver of the penalty has been sent to the Saudi crown prince.
The meeting directed the foreign office to update the committee about the progress of the case of a Pakistani, who is facing murder charge in Saudi Arabia. The man has not been freed even after the payment of diyat by his relatives. The committee sought complete record of the case.
It was informed that 211 Pakistanis were languishing in Chinese jails. Cases of 159 had been decided while 52 were pending in courts. Various Pakistanis had been arrested in China on the charges of drug smuggling.
The committee was told that Pakistan had sought an agreement for the exchange of proclaimed offenders with China, but Beijing said it had not signed such an agreement with any other country.
China has agreed to return an ailing Pakistani who was convicted for smuggling drugs.