The government informed the upper house of parliament on Tuesday that it has made indirect diplomatic contacts with Israel to find out the whereabouts of 16 Pakistanis who are reportedly languishing in Israeli prisons.
Responding to a calling attention notice of Awami National Party Senator Shahi Syed, Prime Minister’s Adviser on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said the Pakistanis had gone missing in 2009 when a merchant vessel, MV Danny FII carrying 83 passengers and crew, capsized in the Red Sea.
Aziz said the government was utilising indirect ways through the embassies of the United States and Jordan to verify the reported presence of these Pakistani nationals in Israeli jails and was trying to ensure their release.
“It is a serious human rights issue,” he said, adding that Islamabad was making efforts through indirect sources as it has no diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv.
However, he said it has not yet been confirmed that these missing Pakistanis were in Israel. “Israeli authorities have not yet responded [to Pakistan’s queries] over the issue,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 20th, 2015.
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