‘KSA has released 579 Pakistani prisoners since MBS visit’

ISLAMABAD: As many as 579 Pakistani prisoners have been released from the jails of Saudi Arabia since Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to Islamabad earlier this year, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed a committee of the National Assembly on Wednesday.

These prisoners were released from Saudi jails under the royal pardon, foreign ministry’s Director General (Middle East) Syed Zahid Raza told the sub-committee of National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistani and Human Resource Development.

The sub-committee was recently formed with the mandate to ensure the provision of legal assistance to under-trial Pakistani prisoners abroad.

The sub-committee, chaired by Dr Mahreen Razzaq Bhutto, was apprised that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs along with other departments concerned was in contact with authorities in Saudi Arabia for the early repatriation of the remaining prisoners whose release was ordered by the Saudi crown prince on the request of Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Bhutto asked officials of Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development and Foreign Office to arrange a meeting of Saudi ambassador with the committee members so that they could request him for the early release of the remaining prisoners.

Raza assured that the ministry would help arrange the meeting with the committee members.

The committee also sought details of the Pakistanis detained in Oman to evolve a strategy to provide them with legal assistance.

Raza informed the panel that there were about 3,000 persons under custody in Oman’s detention centre for having invalid travel documents and migrating illegally, adding that many of them only pretended to be Pakistani nationals.

Their details, he added, had been shared by Oman and their addresses were being verified by the interior ministry, which may take some time.

The DG, however, assured the committee that complete details of all those detained would be shared in the next meeting.

The committee also took exception to the reported involvement of some Pakistanis in trans-border drug dealing, and summoned officials of the Anti-Narcotics Force and Federal Investigation Agency in the next meeting to discuss the issue at length. APP

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Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/2065253/1-ksa-released-579-pakistani-prisoners-since-mbs-visit/