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over 9,000 overseas pakistanis languishing in jails in 73 countries: Senate report

ISLAMABAD: The Standing Committee Senate on Foreign Affairs is meeting on Jan 19 (Wednesday) to take up the issue of more than 9,000 Pakistanis who are languishing in jails in about 73 countries in the world.

According to a report provided to Senate, 2,555 prisoners (the highest number of inmates in any country), are in jails of Saudi Arabia, closely followed by 1,918 in UAE, and 884 in Greece.

Meanwhile, following are the details of country and number of prisoners in parenthesis: Afghanistan (395), India (345), Oman (309), Italy (291), the UK (273), Turkey (265), China and Malaysia (242 each), Qatar (189), Spain (163), Hong Kong (130), Iraq (109), Germany (105), Iran (100), France (98), Kuwait (65), Bahrain (56), the US (52) and Australia (48) are the other countries where overseas Pakistanis are facing jails in different cases.

Saudi Arabia has recently released many Pakistani prisoners on the intervention of Pakistan government.

The Senate committee on foreign affairs was also handed over two issues by Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani on Jan 4 after a verbal clash between opposition members and a government minister as the latter targeted former rulers Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari while responding to a question asked by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) Senator Mushtaq Ahmed about foreign visits of Prime Minister Imran Khan over the last three years, along with details of those who had accompanied him in these tours.

The Senate was informed that the prime minister had undertaken 31 visits of 14 countries over the last three years which cost the national exchequer over Rs200 million. Overall, the prime minister remained out of the country for 47 days for these foreign trips.

The JI senator Mushtaq Ahmed said that the prime minister had undertaken eight visits of Saudi Arabia, three visits each of China and the UAE and two visits each of Malaysia, Qatar, the US and Switzerland. Besides this, the prime minister also visited Turkey, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.

The JI senator said on an average 22 people accompanied the prime minister in these visits. He, however, said that in one of the visits to Saudi Arabia, the prime minister was accompanied by 44 people. He asked the government to tell as to what diplomatic and economic benefits the country had achieved from these visits.

Interestingly, the written reply of the question showed that a 19-member delegation had visited Saudi Arabia with the prime minister in September 2019 which included Mr Umer Farooq and Arif Mehmood Soni as “friends of the prime minister”.

Javed Mahmood
Written By

I am an experienced writer, analyst, and author. My exposure in English journalism spans more than 28 years. In the past, I have been working with daily The Muslim (Lahore Bureau), daily Business Recorder (Lahore/Islamabad Bureaus), Daily Times, Islamabad, daily The Nation (Lahore and Karachi). With daily The Nation, I have served as Resident Editor, Karachi. Since 2009, I have been working as a Freelance Writer/Editor for American organizations.

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