Karachi (HRNW): The Interior Ministry in a report revealed that at least 11,803 Pakistanis are serving jail terms in foreign countries. According to the report, 8.8 million Pakistanis are living abroad and 11,803 of them are in different jails. Most of the jailed Pakistanis are in Saudi Arabia — 2,937. The report said 10,000 Pakistanis are residing in India and 582 of them are in prisons. It said 177 Pakistanis are in Afghan jails, while 186 are in Irani jails. Sources in the interior ministry said 35,000 US dollars were sought from the ministry of finance for release of the Pakistani prisoners. “It will take time to release those Pakistanis as different countries and departments are involved in it,” they said. Earlier, Minister for Human Rights Shireen Mazari informed the Senate that a holistic approach will be adopted to provide full legal and humanitarian assistance to the Pakistani prisoners languishing in foreign jails.
Mazari told the House that consular services of Pakistani missions abroad will be upgraded for this purpose. She said a policy decision will also be taken to get in touch with different countries for repatriation of Pakistani prisoners. She said the present government will bolster efforts to produce skilled workforce keeping in view the demand of jobs in the gulf and other countries. Earlier, Pakistan provided the High Commission of India, a list of 471 Indian prisoners, including 53 civil and 418 fishermen in Pakistan’s jail. This is consistent with the provisions of the Consular Access Agreement between Pakistan and India, signed on May 21, 2008, under which both countries are required to exchange lists of prisoners in each other’s custody twice a year, on January 1 and July 1, respectively. Pakistan and India normally arrest fishermen, since they cross water boundaries for illegal fishing, but these two neighboring countries have not yet reached an agreement on maritime boundaries, which is very important as many suffers arrest for a water border cross by mistake.