LAHORE: A report submitted by the Interior Ministry in the Lahore High Court has revealed that there are 11,803 overseas Pakistanis, of 8.8 million, in foreign jails.

The report states that the statistics of the overseas Pakistanis jailed abroad were obtained from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in light of a direction issued by the court. It says the Interior Ministry has also moved a summary to the finance division for a supplementary grant of $35,000 to make arrangements for repatriation of Pakistani citizens imprisoned abroad. However, it states, the process required sufficient time for completion as departments of different countries involve in it.

The Interior Ministry sought considerable time from the court to process the matter with relevant countries through the ministry of the foreign affairs. The ministry further revealed that in light of Supreme Court’s direction processing of “Transfer of Offenders” agreement with 20 countries has been initiated. The countries include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, China, Russia, Qatar, Bahrain, Malaysia, Ireland, Yemen, Afghanistan, Maldives, Korea, Jordan, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Cyprus, Seychelles, Kirghizstan and Nigeria.

As per the report, 2,937 Pakistanis are jailed in Saudi Arabia, 1,842 Greece, 582 India, 177 Afghanistan, 242 China, 188 Iran, and 226 in Malaysia. The court would resume its hearing next week.

Civil society member Rida Qazi filed a petition for jail reforms in the country and government’s assistance to Pakistani citizens jailed abroad. The petitioner also sought treatment of prisoners according to the Pakistan Prisoners Code (Jail Manual) and construction of new jails in Punjab.

Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2018