The Saudi government has released sixty-three Pakistanis who had been languishing in the jails of Saudi Arabia for petty crimes on the occasion of Eidul Azha.
According to a source, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered authorities to releases the Pakistani prisoners on a special request of 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 to Pakistan.
These Pakistanis arrived at the Islamabad International Airport on Tuesday afternoon on a special flight of the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) – PK-9728.
On my instructions, funds were arranged & a special flight brought back 62 prisoners from KSA today, so they could be back with their families for Eid. Helping Pakistanis in prisons abroad & assisting in their return to Pakistan is my govt's commitment to our people.— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) July 20, 2021
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.
These 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, these prisoners jailed in minor drug-related cases were released due to 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 that 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.
According to the minister, the prisoners had completed most of their sentences.
"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.
When asked about the schedule of repatriation, Rashid had said, "Consider the whole process completed. It will be implemented as soon as possible."
"The families of those being transferred to Pakistani jails will be able to look after them, while there is no one to look after them here [in KSA]. We are already coordinating [with Saudi Arabia] on eliminating crimes and we will continue to do so," the minister had said.
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