ISLAMABAD: The Senate was informed on Thursday that 2,393 Pakistanis were languishing in jails of Saudi Arabia.

During the question hour, the ministry of foreign affairs told the house that there were 1,621 Pakistani prisoners in Jeddah and 772 in Riyadh.

The ministry said that Pakistan’s mission in Saudi Arabia had taken various steps, including consular visits to meet the prisoners, and extend them every possible assistance.

It said that emergency travel documents were issued to those who had completed their sentences to return to Pakistan. The cases of those who were nearing completion of their sentences had been raised with the Saudi authorities to ensure that they were set free without any delay, it added.

The house was informed that translation services were being provided on request in the labour court. The problems coming to the notice of the missions related to detainees were raised with relevant authorities.

Spurious drugs: The ministry of national health services and regulations informed the Senate that more than 4,000 prosecutions were launched in drug courts last year as part of the efforts to eradicate spurious and substandard drugs from the country.

More than 1,600 cases were decided by courts imposing a fine of more than Rs40 million.

The drug regulatory authority of Pakistan suspended production activities of 20 firms and issued show-cause notices to 18 others for non-compliance of standards. Recently, the authority cancelled registration of 41 drugs.

The house was briefed about the raids conducted at various pharmaceutical sale points, recovery of smuggled and unregistered drugs from them and the status of action taken against those responsible.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2016

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