The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday ordered the federal government to present in court the soon-to-be signed agreement for the repatriation of convicts between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.
LHC Chief Justice Yawar Malik was hearing a petition filed by the families of Pakistani citizens languishing in Saudi jails.
The petition pointed out that the federal cabinet recently approved the signing of an agreement regarding the transfer of convicts between Pakistan and the kingdom, and recommended that a copy of the said agreement should also be sent to the court as it pertains to a matter being heard by the LHC.
The petitioners' counsel, Barrister Sarah Belal of the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP), also presented in court a report — prepared by the JPP and Human Rights Watch (HRW) — detailing the plight of Pakistanis in Saudi jails.
The report states that at least 67 Pakistanis have been executed in Saudi Arabia since October 2014, with eight executions taking place just this year. "Their families are yet to receive their bodies," it adds.
It also states that the 2,795 Pakistanis currently in Saudi jails are among at least 9,360 Pakistanis locked up all over the world.
"Prisoner transfer agreements have historically been instrumental for the return of Pakistanis prisoners — many of whom are particularly vulnerable to harsher sentences in foreign countries due to their indigent status," a press release accompanying the report reads.
The report titled 'Caught in a Web' uses interviews with a dozen prisoners and their families to highlight the plight of prisoners as well as a lack of legal aid in Saudi courts.