KARACHI: A close aide to the prime minister announced on Monday that Islamabad and Riyadh had signed a prisoner transfer agreement to repatriate over 2,000 Pakistani prisoners languishing in Saudi Arabia’s jails.
Zulfi Bukhari, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis, made this announcement on Twitter saying “Pak & KSA have signed prisoner transfer agreement for return of 2,107 Pakistani prisoners languishing in KSA jails”.
Zulfi says over 2,000 inmates to benefit from agreement
It appears that the agreement the PM aide was talking about was signed during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia in which Mr Bukhari also accompanied him.
Without elaborating, Mr Bukhari further tweeted that the signing of the agreement would expedite the work on a promise made by the Saudi leadership in 2019.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman visited Islamabad in February 2019 and, according to a tweet by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, he had “graciously agreed to free 2107 Pakistani prisoners in jails of Saudi Arabia with immediate effect” after PM Khan drew his attention towards the plight of some 3,000 Pakistani prisoners in Saudi prisons.
In October 2019, an official of the Overseas Pakistanis Foundation had informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development that 579 Pakistani prisoners had been released by Saudi Arabia under the royal clemency.
Published in Dawn, May 11th, 2021