Families seek diplomatic help

The families have appealed to the government to provide them with legal and consular access to their kin.

Obaid Ur Rehman August 31, 2010

ISLAMABAD: Families of Pakistani nationals who are languishing in foreign jails have appealed to the government to provide them with legal and consular access to their kin.

Talking to The Express Tribune, the relatives of convicted Pakistanis complained that the Pakistani embassy in Spain was unhelpful in terms of providing legal and diplomatic services to its citizens.

Gul Rehman, whose 28-year-old son Aqeelur Rehman was convicted in Spain on December 14, 2009, said that his son went abroad for higher education. The Spanish authorities arrested him on terror charges and he was sentenced to eight years in prison.

During this period, the Pakistani mission never contacted him and the family had to bear all the expenses for legal assistance, Gul Rehman said.

“I paid 6000 Euros to a lawyer, but in vain,” he added.

In another incident, Samia Khan whose husband Shahid Khan, along with 10 other Pakistanis, was convicted under the same charges.

“My husband flew to Spain three years back to earn a livelihood. But the Spanish authorities arrested him and Anti-terrorism Court sentenced him to fourteen years,” she said.

Samia was also unsatisfied with the help offered by the embassy. “My husband was innocent and had no links with the terrorists. But the irresponsible attitude of Pakistani mission in Spain made it even harder to prove this.”

Samia said that it was the responsibility of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to protect its citizens who face discrimination in western countries.

Abdul Wahab, director general Overseas Pakistanis Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that ministry had established a special cell in this regard.

According to him, data of convicted persons was being collected following the order of Supreme Court.

He assured that the government would render full cooperation to its citizens who were either detained or under trail in foreign countries.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 31st, 2010.


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