In a goodwill gesture towards a fellow Islamic nation, the Saudi government has released 63 Pakistanis who had been languishing in their jails for petty crimes on the occasion of the festival of Eid-ul Azha
In a goodwill gesture towards a fellow Islamic nation, the Saudi government has released 63 Pakistanis who had been languishing in their jails for petty crimes on the occasion of the festival of Eid-ul Azha. They have all returned to Pakistan.
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz reportedly ordered authorities to release the prisoners on a special request from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.
After their release from various jails of the kingdom, Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Pakistani consulates arranged for their return home.
The Pakistanis arrived at the Islamabad International Airport on Tuesday afternoon on a special Pakistan International Airlines flight.
Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OFP) Managing Director Dr. Amer Sheikh received the freed prisoners along with senior officials of the foundation, Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development (OPHRD) and families of these people, Tribune reported.
The Pakistanis expressed jubilation at their release and return to their homeland ahead of Eid and chanted “Pakistan Zindabad” and “Imran Khan Zindabad” slogans. They also expressed gratitude to the incumbent government for “its remarkable efforts” in that regard
According to the OPF spokesman, the prisoners jailed in minor drug-related cases were released following persistent efforts of the Pakistan Mission in Riyadh and ministries of foreign affairs and the OPHRD.
He said the OPF and other relevant departments made arrangements for facilitating their return to their hometowns so that they could celebrate Eidul Azha with their families.
Minister for Interior Sheikh Rashid on May 10 said 1,100 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi Arabia were being repatriated to Pakistan.
According to the minister, the prisoners were being released as part of the agreements signed during Prime Minister Imran Khan's visit to the kingdom.
"We are ready to repatriate Pakistani prisoners jailed in Saudi Arabia who are not convicted of crimes of serious nature," Rashid said. "We can get hundreds more freed if we can get an aid of one billion rupees [to pay off their fine]," he added.
Rashid said 30 Pakistani prisoners sentenced to death for murder and drug trafficking could not be repatriated. He said the cases of those involved in heinous crimes were to be dealt with separately.