There are nearly 2,400 Pakistanis being held in different jails of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s lower house of parliament was informed on Friday.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz put the exact number of Pakistan prisoners in different Saudi jails at 2,393. It is not clear though how long these Pakistanis have been in detention there.
Legal help requested for Pakistanis jailed in KSA
The prime minister’s top aide gave out the figures in response to a query by JUI-F lawmaker Naeema Kishwar Khan about the Pakistanis detained in the kingdom, as well as the steps taken by the government for their repatriation.
According to Aziz, 868 Pakistanis are facing drug charges, 358 are facing theft cases, 71 are involved in adultery, 64 are facing murder charges, 271 are detained for forgery, 37 for brawling, 47 for accepting bribes and another 677 have been detained for miscellaneous crimes.
Incarcerated in African jails
The adviser told the house that 69 Pakistanis – involved in sexual offences, stealing, drug trafficking and homicidal attacks – were detained in different jails of African countries.
Forty-four Pakistanis are detained in South Africa for rape, robbery, fraud, forgery, murder and kidnapping. Nine are detained in Tanzania and seven in Kenya in drug related cases; three are incarcerated in Uganda on double-murder charges and one each is jailed in Libya, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Senegal for various crimes.
“The government is taking steps to facilitate the detainees and Pakistani consuls regularly visit jails to give these Pakistanis legal assistance and help them defend themselves in the courts,” the adviser claimed.
Seven Pakistanis arrested for 'stealing credit card information' in UAE
He said emergency travel documents were also issued to those who completed their sentences to facilitate their return. “Remission in sentences has also been sought [for these people] on special occasion like in Ramazan, Eid and national days,” he said.
Expenditures in foreign missions
Responding to another question by the PPP lawmaker Belum Hasnain, the adviser said Rs56 billion have been spent on all Pakistani missions in the last five years.
According to the adviser, Rs6.04b was spent on missions in 2015-16, Rs10.95b in 2014-15, Rs11.2b in 2013-2014, Rs10.45 in 2012-13, Rs9.5b in 2011-12 and Rs8.4b was spent in 2010-11.
“The government’s austerity measures are being followed by all Pakistan missions in purchase, repair and maintenance. As a result actual expenditure in term of dollars in 2014-15 is lower than the preceding years,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2016.
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