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LAHORE: A Pakistani woman was executed by the Saudi authorities on Thurs­day, according to the Justice Project Pakistan (JPP).

In a press statement, the non-governmental organisation working for prisoners’ rights expressed outrage over the execution of Fatima Ijaz, the first Pakistani woman to be executed in the Kingdom since 2014.

She was incarcerated in Dhaban prison of Jeddah on drug-related charges.

The JPP pointed out that two other Pakistanis — Fatima’s husband Muham­mad Mustafa and Abdul Maalik — were also executed by the Saudi authorities the same day, despite the fact that the two nations were currently nego­ti­ating a prisoner transfer agreement. “These executions are particularly worrying in the face of the announcement by the Saudi crown prince made in February this year to release 2,107 Pakistanis imprisoned in the Kingdom. The promise, however, has yet to be fulfilled,” the JPP regretted.

It added that reportedly, only 250 Pakistani prisoners had returned so far, whose cases were already under consideration for repatriation. On the contrary, there has been a sharp rise in execution of Pakistani nationals following the announcement.

“Once again, the Govern­ment of Pakistan has failed to safeguard the rights and the lives of its most vulnerable citizens abroad, particularly in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” it said.

“Despite assurances from ... government officials, there has been little systematic effort to engage diplomatically with the Saudi government to halt the execution of these prisoners, to seek pardon for them or to bring them back,” it stated.

Published in Dawn, April 12th, 2019